How WBUZ Came to Be
My parents opened their Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge dealership in April, and I was born exactly one month later. While I may have been raised in a car lot, music was always a big part of who I am. At thirteen, I would routinely gather up my little record player, and collection of 45's, to DJ birthday parties for my friends. During one such celebration, an adult relative of the honored guest, told me I did a really good job with my music providing duties. That may have been the beginning.
Fast forward to 1995, and I happened upon a magazine advertisement for a build-your-own-radio-station kit. Fifty dollars later, and a solid week of assembly work, had me climbing our television tower. At approximately 150 feet up, I mounted the antenna. The system cranked out ONE, whole, rockin' watt of power, and boasted a meager half mile in range. That was on a good day.
While modest, that little system gave me a taste of broadcasting fever. The one watt system paved the way for a seven watt, then eventually a ten watt. If the weather cooperated, WBUZ had a solid, 20 mile range. Not horrible. On clear nights, folks were listening all over our little town.
I was rocking and rolling on the weekends, completely unaware that my 88.5 on the FM dial, was a local, gospel music channel, thirty miles east. Christmas came early in December of 1998. The FCC played Santa Claus, personally delivering me a cease and desist order.
Just like that, WBUZ went quiet . . .
Several silent years passed. Then, the pirate flag found the wind, again, in the shape of a new tower. WBUZ was alive, and rocking Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekend. Ahoy, Matey!
The new software turned out to be a game changer. It was streamable. WBUZ was no longer dependent on a tower, or the weather, or at the mercy of the FCC. I soon found a company to build an app for iPhone, and Android. Just like that, WBUZ became nationwide. In a few weeks, I was streaming to states, all across the US, and shortly thereafter, in several other countries.
With ten watts of power, we're bigger, clearer, our reach is farther, but there's a fly in the ointment. Along with those larger transmitters, came a huge issue. Operating them without a very expensive, and elusive license from the FCC, is not legal in the United States. So, Ahoy Me Hearties! Pirates, we were!
After a year and a half of broadcasting exclusively on Friday, and Saturday nights, a listener asked me, "When did you start playing gospel music on Sundays? I passed out to Hells Bells, and woke up to, The Old Rugged Cross."
In the Autumn of 2020, the DJ software, which was the metaphorical, heart, of the broadcasting process, began to fail. The solution, a much needed upgrade, seemed reasonable enough. Sadly, the gentleman who designed the program was killed in an automobile accident. When he died, so did his program.
With all considered, I thought maybe this is the end of WBUZ. We'd had a great run, so it might be time to just, clock out, and call it finished. My wife knew how much I enjoyed being on the air, and she encouraged me to find a new program. It was kind of a “when one door closes, a window opens” deal. So, I did. I found a replacement.
While I will probably always be that little kid with the record player and the stack of 45's, it's mind boggling to know I now have listeners, all over the world.
Long live the WBUZ!