WEOW Radio http://weow927.com Today's Hit Music Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:54:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 Bill Becker http://weow927.com/uncategorized/bill-becker/ http://weow927.com/uncategorized/bill-becker/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 14:06:15 +0000 http://weow927.com/?p=358 Continue Reading]]>  

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By Josie Gulliksen, Florida Keys News Bureau

For 30-some years Bill Becker, news director at Lower Keys–based U.S. 1 Radio 104.1 FM, has provided a soothing, authoritative presence that appeals to Florida Keys listeners. Surprisingly, though his smooth voice and comfortable manner make him a broadcasting natural, working in radio was not his life’s goal.

A native of New York, Becker earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marine biology. Though he wrote for his high school newspaper, he had no radio experience until he came to the Florida Keys and his love of science led him into broadcasting. After graduating in 1971, he accepted a job offer from the Lower Keys’ Newfound Harbor Marine Institute at Sea Camp.

“It was my sole job offer in 1971,” Becker said, “so I drove down with all my belongings in a 1964 Chevy and I worked there for 10 years.”

He taught marine biology to kids and, through outreach programs, became involved in local organizations. He even served as president of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce.

That’s when he caught the attention of David Freeman, a local insurance agent with a broadcasting background who had started a small Key West station called WIIS. Freeman asked Becker to do a 15-minute on-air segment about his work at Sea Camp.

“I would record my segment on cassette with a hand-held tape recorder and mail it to David, who would play it every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m.,” said Becker. “It could barely be heard in Big Pine, but still it gave me the bug for radio — I felt I was creating something positive that people appreciated.”

When U.S. 1 Radio started up in 1980, Becker went to the station and offered to do local news. That was the beginning of his career there. He described radio in those days as a bare-bones affair. The evolution of U.S. 1 started in 1985 when Crain Communications bought the station and invested in new equipment and a new tower. In 2004, Vox Communications bought the station from Crain and continued to expand it.

So committed was U.S. 1 to local news and the community that when Hurricane Georges impacted the Lower Keys in 1998 Becker and his fellow staffers stayed on the air throughout, providing information and comfort to listeners during and after the storm.

Becker credits the station’s incredible team commitment, stellar facilities and sturdy generator (nicknamed Zippy) for making it possible to stay on the air. As well as the only information resource, U.S. 1 was the connecting source between the public, local emergency management personnel and the sheriff’s office.

“Our role in the recovery was problem solving, and the outpouring from the community was very heartwarming,” Becker said. “It was quite an experience to hear people’s voices and know that we were aiding in keeping them calm and giving them information.”

One of his oddest on-air experiences during Georges was receiving a call from his neighbor, who told Becker that half the roof of his home was gone.

“That really hit home for me,” the newsman said. In 1999, U.S. 1 received a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for outstanding coverage during Hurricane Georges.

“Attending the black-tie event to receive the award, and meeting the giants of broadcast news like Walter Cronkite, was a very humbling experience,” said Becker. “To this day, people in the Keys still come up and thank me for what we did and continue to do.”

Later, the station’s efforts were featured in an episode of The Weather Channel’s series “Storm Stories.”

Becker’s work also has led to involvement in other historic moments. He’s done broadcasts in Cuba as part of humanitarian efforts by a local group taking medical supplies and food to the island. And he simulcast live from Key West’s Mallory Square in 1982 when the Florida Keys seceded from the Union and formed the independent Conch Republic.

In addition, he’s co-founder of one of the Lower Keys’ signature events: the annual Underwater Music Festival that spotlights coral reef preservation. Each July, the quirky underwater broadcast draws hundreds of diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, as well as national and international media coverage.

Today, Becker broadcasts the news and hosts U.S. 1’s 90-minute “Morning Magazine” each weekday morning, showcasing local issues and events through commentary and on-air interviews. He’s quick to praise the station’s evening newsman, Ezra Marcus, calling him “a real television and radio pro.”

After nearly 40 years in the island chain, Becker appreciates his tranquil existence on Sugarloaf Key with his wife Bernadette and two daughters and a granddaughter close by.

“I live on a wonderful wooded acre with a pool, a pond and a great garden that I get to tend to year-round,” he said. “I have a great life.”

Posted On: April 13, 2010

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  • Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:09:00 +0000: Sobriety checkpoint leads to two DUI arrests - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A sobriety checkpoint on Stock Island Friday night into Saturday morning led to the arrest of two drunk drivers.  Officers working the stopped a total of 621 vehicles during the course of the checkpoint. Numerous traffic related citations were issued as well as warnings for minor safety violations.

    29 year old Hugh Wells of Spring Hill, Florida pulled into the checkpoint in his blue pickup truck at 9:20 p.m. The vehicle smelled of alcohol, and there were numerous open containers of alcoholic beverages inside. Wells’ father and mother were also in the vehicle. Wells admitted to drinking alcohol prior to driving. After field sobriety exercises were administered, eh was arrested and booked into jail for driving under the influence of alcohol. His truck was towed because the other two occupants had also been drinking and were not able to drive it.

    An FHP K-9 team was on scene at the checkpoint and alerted on the pickup truck indicating the possible presence of illegal drugs. Inside the truck a search turned up a small amount of marijuana on the front passenger side. Wells’ mother, Jill Wells claimed ownership of the marijuana and a smoking pipe also found. Jill Wells was issued a notice to appear in court for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

    A white Avalanche pulled into the checkpoint just after midnight and had window tint which appeared to be darker than allowed by law, so deputies asked the driver to pull over so they could check the tint. When the driver, 24 year old Bradley Wells of Summerland Key, lowered his driver’s side window, deputies could smell the odor of alcohol. He was asked to exit his vehicle and, while he was walking he showed clear signs of being impaired. After field sobriety exercises were administered, Wells was arrested. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. He was also cited for having window tint darker than the allowable limit by law.

    The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office organized the checkpoint, with assistance from the Key West Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  • Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:31:00 +0000: Two charged in connection with Stock Island burglary - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Two Stock Island residents were arrested Monday, charged with dealing in stolen property. The two are accused of pawning jewelry stolen in a burglary that took place on November 20th.

    Two women who live in an apartment on 12th Avenue, Stock Island called to report their residence was burglarized. They returned home from a trip to Miami and found jewelry and prescription medication missing from their apartment. Several days later, Detective David Cruz, who was assigned to investigate, was checking recent pawn records. He found a piece of jewelry from the burglary had been pawned at Southernmost Pawn Shop in Key West.


    Records showed the jewelry had been pawned by 26 year old Erin Russo of Stock Island. The owner of the pawn shop told Detective Cruz a man had come into the shop with her to pawn the property. He identified the man as 32 year old Ruben Hernandez of Stock Island.



    Detective Cruz obtained warrants for Russo and Hernandez and they were picked up Monday. Russo was charged with fraud and dealing in stolen property. Hernandez was charged with dealing in stolen property. Both were booked into jail.

  • Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:55:00 +0000: More marine related thefts in Marathon, Lower Keys - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Sheriff’s detectives in the middle and lower Keys are investigating marine related thefts over the weekend.


    On Sunday morning, deputies took two reports of items stolen from Knight’s Key Campground in Marathon. Two Mercury 250 HP engines on a boat had the lower units stolen and a second boat was missing a GPS. Both boats were parked in a boat storage lot on the property. Also, a man who parked his boat at a friend’s house on Copa de Ora in Marathon called Sunday to report lower units taken from his two Yamaha 250 HP engines.


    Sunday afternoon, a man who lives on Constitution Avenue on Big Pine Key called to report it looked like someone had stolen items from his neighbor’s boat. When deputies arrived, they discovered two GPS units and stereo equipment had been taken from the boat; the bottom floor of the residence had also been entered and a large amount of dive equipment had been taken.



    Anyone with information about these crimes should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

  • Fri, 12 Dec 2014 19:30:00 +0000: Drug investigation results in two arrests, one person still wanted - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Two people have been arrested on drug charges and one is still at large in connection with a search warrant served last week on Big Coppitt Key.


    The search warrant was the result of an ongoing investigation by Monroe County Sheriff's Office HIDTA detectives, Homeland Security investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.


    On December 3rd at 6 a.m. the search warrant was served at 728 Prado Circle on Big Coppitt Key. The search turned up a large amount of marijuana – 479 grams – in the bedroom of 47 year old Michael Graziano, who was not at home at the time the search warrant was served. A small amount of marijuana was found in the bedroom of 54 year old Joseph Clements, who was at home. His girlfriend, 24 year old Taylor Krumenacker, was also on the premises. Clements told investigators cocaine, a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia found in the adjoining bathroom belonged to her. One roommate who was home at the time was not charged in connection with this case.


    Clements, who is also known as “Joe Weed”, was found to have numerous ledgers. The ledgers implicate numerous local individuals who are allegedly involved in a large gambling operation.  He said he is the person who takes the bets, manages the accounts and collects the debts. He said he is paid a percentage for his work.


    The large amount of marijuana found in Graziano’s bedroom was packaged as if for sale. Clements told investigators Graziano travels to Miami on a weekly basis and picks up Marijuana, which he brings back to the Keys for resale.  Graziano was arrested on Monday and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.


    Clements was arrested today for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.  At the time of his arrest he was found holding additional ledgers with names and amounts of recent bets.


    Investigators currently hold an active warrant for Krumenaker regarding possession of cocaine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. She is still at large.



    The investigation is continuing into the narcotics and gambling operation and more charges are expected.

  • Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:16:00 +0000: Career presentation, Coral Shores High School - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Career presentation, Coral Shores High School: Lieutenants Al Ramirez, Lee Ann Holroyd, Patrick Major and Charlene Sprinkle-Huff along with Sergeant Lisa Lawson, Communications Officers Ben Fox and Liz Steele worked with SRO Deputies Larry O’Neill and Dave Stark to provide information on law enforcement careers to a group of Coral Shores High School students. The presentation, held at the high school, allowed presentations from patrol, special investigations, corrections and communications.  The students participated in a question and answer session following the presentations.
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