WEOW Radio http://weow927.com Today's Hit Music Mon, 27 Oct 2014 22:25:58 +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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  • Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:02:00 +0000: Halloween: be careful - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    With Halloween coming up tomorrow, the Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to be extra careful while driving in the evening and nighttime hours. Also, if you plan to attend any parties or other activities, make sure you plan ahead to have a sober driver available if you plan to drink alcohol.

    Deputies will be out county-wide to make sure kids who are trick-or-treating are safe. Parents should ensure that small children are accompanied by either older children or responsible adults, that they carry a flashlight if possible and that their costumes have some sort of reflective material to make them visible to drivers.

    In the Lower Keys, Halloween coincides with the homecoming Key West High School football game. Because of this, there may be even more teens out and about than is usual for this holiday.


    The Sheriff’s Office would like to caution parents and teens alike: serving alcohol to those under the age of 21 is illegal and you will be arrested if caught doing so. Possessing alcohol when you are under 21 is also illegal and is also an offense you can and will be arrested for.


    Many teens think it is fun to throw eggs, shaving cream, toilet paper and other items at cars, homes and other people. Some also like to use spray paint to “tag” property. Our officers will be out on Halloween night performing extra patrols for such activity. This type of activity is criminal mischief and, as such, is against the law. If we catch you, you will be arrested. The only time any of this type of behavior is legal would be as part of an organized, adult supervised activity with everyone involved a willing participant.


    Merchants in the Florida Keys are asked to refrain from selling large amounts of shaving cream, spray paint and/or eggs to young people to help us to curtail this destructive behavior.


    In Marathon, there will be a few road closures on Halloween night to increase the safety of pedestrians and children. Between sunset and 10 p.m., the intersections of Aviation Boulevard and Dolphin, Marlin and Harbor Drives will be closed. Residents with identification showing them live on these streets will be allowed to pass.
  • Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:06:00 +0000: Halloween Safety tips - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Halloween is a special time for children, but children don’t always know what is and is not safe. If your children are going  trick or treating on Halloween, there are several tips to follow for their safety.


    ·         Make sure they wear light colored costumes with plenty of reflective tape so they are visible to cars and trucks. Take a flashlight along for added visibility.

    ·         Look left, right and left again when crossing the street.

    ·         Put electronic devices away so there are no distractions.

    ·         If possible, have them go while it is still light outside.

    ·         They should be accompanied by an adult, or an older brother or sister.

    ·         Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

    ·         They should not sample candy given to them until it has been checked by an adult for possible tampering.

    ·         Notify a deputy if suspicious or harmful items are found in your child’s collection of treats.

    ·         They should stay away from homes with dogs loose in the yard.

    ·         Having a Halloween party is a good alternative to the tradition of trick or treating. It gives kids an opportunity to have a good time in a supervised and safe atmosphere.


    Tips for people driving on Halloween:


    ·         Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may dart in front of cars when crossing the street.

    ·         Take extra time and look carefully for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.

    ·         Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.

    ·         Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

    ·         Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.

    ·         Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours


    And a few tips for pet owners:

    • Don't leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween: There are plenty of pranksters who will go out of their way to tease pets and you don’t want your dog to bite a trick-or-treater who might venture too close.

    • Trick-or-treat candy is not for pets: Chocolate is poisonous to many animals, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed by your pet.

    • Be careful your cat or dog doesn't dart out through the open door when you open it for trick or treaters.


    Visit our web site at www.keysso.netfor more fun information about Halloween Safety.

  • Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:46:00 +0000: Drug arrest at Key Largo hotel - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    An alert hotel maid was instrumental in the arrest of a man on drug charges Saturday.

    The maid entered the hotel room to clean it Saturday afternoon and found a bag of what she believed to be marijuana in the television cabinet. She notified the hotel office and they called the Sheriff’s Office.


    Deputies Ben Elmore, James Jenkins and Jacques Rozek responded. They found the occupant of the room, who at first said the marijuana was in the room when he checked in, then changed his story and admitted it was his. The marijuana was vacuum sealed in 20 separate bags of 9 grams each. 35 year old Gilbert Velilla of Miami was arrested, he was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and with possessing drug paraphernalia after an electronic scale was found in Velilla’s bag.



    Velilla was booked into jail on the charges.

  • Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:04:00 +0000: Children's Day, Key West - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A crew from our Corrections Bureau set up a booth at Children's Day in Key West Sunday. They had a great time handing out goodies and talking to kids and their families about crime prevention.
  • Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:03:00 +0000: Trunk or Treat! - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Marathon Lt. Derek Paul attended the Stanley Switlik School Halloween Carnival this week participating in Trunk or Treat.
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