BRYCE ON RADIO
- How tiny WZIG-FM in Palm Harbor is conquering the airwaves, and presenting our area to the world.
Tiny WZIG-FM (104.1) is a new commercial-free radio station in northern Pinellas County, Florida. How tiny is it? It operates at a meager 100 watts. To appreciate its size consider this, the legendary WLW radio tower from my old hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio was created by the inventor and entrepreneur Powell Crosley, Jr. who didn’t just want to build just another radio station, but a big one, a VERY big station. In 1934 the WLW tower began broadcasting with 500,000 watts of power, an incredible number. It was so powerful, you could easily hear the AM station in Los Angeles. Midwest farmers could hear the programming on their barbed wire. Lights would turn on and flicker. You could hear it in the springs of your mattress or from the fillings in your teeth. It was extremely powerful.
In 1939, just prior to World War II, the FCC thought this was too much and put a maximum limit of 50,000 watts on commercial radio transmissions. Today, 50,000 watt stations are referred to as “Clear Channel,” and there are a limited number of them in the United States. Even at 50,000 watts, such stations command a substantial geographical presence. As an aside, the mammoth WLW tower is located north of town in Mason, Ohio and, I believe, is still open for tours (click for a video TOUR).
Enter Paul Kempter of Palm Harbor, Florida (yes, my neck of the woods) with his station, WZIG-FM (104.1). Started in July of this year, it is a nonprofit radio station with some interesting programming. Even though it is miniscule in size compared to giant WLW, WZIG-FM has found a way to get around. For starters, the station ably serves the towns of Palm Harbor, Dunedin, East Lake, Tarpon Springs, Oldsmar, and quite a bit of Clearwater. However, because it is also streamed over the Internet, listeners from around the world can tune into it. For example, I often listen to the station in the background of my computer. (Click to TUNE IN).
As a nonprofit organization, WZIG-FM is commercial free which is particularly welcomed in this day and age. They do accept sponsorships, but they are simple acknowledgements of supporters of the station. Such support would be gratefully appreciated if you are so inclined. See their web page at WZIG.org to sponsor or make a donation.
In addition to being commercial free, I particularly like the eclectic mix of music they offer. You might hear something modern one moment, then perhaps some classic Rock, the 50’s, Blues, Pop, country, the Beatles or Stones, or even Big Band. I was very much impressed by the station’s “music shuffle.” What really sold me was when I heard Sam and Dave singing, “Hold on, I’m coming,” something you rarely hear anymore. Again, this is all commercial free.
In addition to this, the station features a jazz show on Mondays (from 8:00-9:00pm) and on Thursdays at noon. It is hosted by “Raindawg,” a local teacher who really knows his stuff.
Ray Kramer is the Sports Director who airs on Saturdays at 10:00am, and covers the main Tampa Bay teams plus North Pinellas High School Football and more.
More programming is in the offing to support the local area. For example, they are looking for North Pinellas churches who wish to broadcast their services.
Local musicians are also welcome to submit quality, upbeat material for consideration (a release is needed).
The Snappers restaurant in Palm Harbor has been kind enough to afford space for WZIG-FM. As a small operation though, they do not require much.
Even though WZIG-FM transmits at only 100 watts, they are getting the message out. I admire them for their support for the community, along with assembling some professional programming. Even better, Kempter’s group is having fun putting this all together.
Whether you live in my neck of the woods or not, I encourage you to tune into WZIG-FM (104.1) and listen to the shuffle. I do not believe you will be disappointed, even at just 100 watts.
By the way, the station’s call letters, WZIG, is named after Kempter’s dog, Ziggy. Yes, there really is a Ziggy, I’ve met him. He is also known as “Woofmaster Z.”
You can also find WZIG-FM on Facebook at:
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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