WEOW Radio http://weow927.com Today's Hit Music Sat, 27 Sep 2014 16:31:11 +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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  • Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:07:00 +0000: Four charged with aggravated stalking - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys
    Four Marathon – three men and a teen - were arrested early today, charged with harassing and stalking a Marathon couple.

    The two victims told Deputy Deanna Torres they were at Walgreen’s in Marathon at 1:40 a.m.  She said four males in a car began yelling at her and her boyfriend, swearing at them about the New Jersey license tags on her car.


    She said when they left Walgreen’s, the males followed them. They were reportedly driving aggressively, pulling alongside of the victims and yelling out the window. She said she was afraid they would follow her home and didn’t know what they would do.


    She said she slammed on her brakes and did a U-turn in an effort to lose them. She and her boyfriend then went home to a boat they live on. She said she hid her car so they wouldn’t see it, and went into the boat and called 911 for help. She gave a description of the vehicle the males were traveling in – an older model silver Lexus with blue headlights.


    Deputy Torres spotted the vehicle and stopped it in the parking lot of the Publix grocery store. The vehicle and the males inside were identified by the victims as the ones who harassed her and her boyfriend.


    Deputy Torres, assisted by Deputies John Shinkunas, Danielle Malone and Anthony Anderson arrested all four males.



    20 year old Miguel Herrera, 20 year old Gabriel Herrada and 20 year old Shadow Franco were all charged with aggravated stalking and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The juvenile with them – a 17 year old Marathon resident – was charged with aggravated stalking.

  • Sun, 28 Sep 2014 12:27:00 +0000: Two men charged with beating, kicking another man - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys
    A Big Pine man was airlifted to a Miami hospital with severe injuries and two others were arrested for inflicting them during a fight Friday evening on Big Pine Key.


    The victim and one of the suspects – 48 year old Richard Steepy – are neighbors. Steepy and the other suspect, 28 year old Romis Rodriguez, were working on a boat in a canal behind Steepy’s home at 6:30 p.m.


    According to a witness who saw the whole incident, the 52 year old victim began to yell at the two men then picked up a handful of small rocks and threw them at Steepy and Rodriguez. As the victim turned and began walking away, STeepy and Rodriguez attacked him. They punched him numerous times, continuing to do so as the victim fell to the ground. The victim became unconscious and the two suspects began to walk away from him. Rodriguez turned around and walked back toward the victim, kicking him with the steel toed shoes he was wearing.


    The victim suffered fractures in his face and was airlifted to a Miami hospital due to bleeding on his brain. Rodriguez and Steepy were charged with aggravated assault and were taken to jail.
  • Sun, 28 Sep 2014 12:26:00 +0000: Man arrested for leaving children in a hot car alone - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys
    A Marathon man was arrested Friday after he left two small children in his car as he shopped for groceries.


    A woman noticed the small children – aged 2 and 4 – in the car alone in the parking lot of the Marathon Winn Dixie and she called the Sheriff’s Office. When Deputies John Shinkunas and Deanna Torres arrived at 7:20 p.m. they found 36 year old Claude Nix loading groceries in the trunk of the car. The two small children were in the car and appeared to be fine.


    Nix told the deputies he did not understand what the problem was. He said he only left them for a short time while he bought groceries. Deputy Torres viewed store video which showed Nix had been in the store for 20 minutes.


    The two children were turned over to their mother. Nix was arrested and charged with child neglect.
  • Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:26:00 +0000: Detectives investigate armed robbery - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys

    Sheriff’s detectives are investigating the armed robbery of a Key Largo convenience store Thursday night. They need the public’s help to identify the two suspects in this case.


    The clerk working at the Tom Thumb convenience store at the 102.6 mile marker of Highway U.S. One said the suspects, a young man and woman, entered the store just before 8 p.m. The male asked for two cartons of cigarettes.


    The clerk asked to see the male’s identification to make sure he was old enough to purchase the cigarettes. At that point, the male suspect showed him a gun – he said it looked like a black semi-automatic Glock pistol. He pushed the clerk backwards, threw a black colored backpack at the clerk’s feet and demanded he put all the money from the cash register into the backpack.


    At the same time, the young woman also revealed a gun – which looked like a small black colored revolver.


    The two suspects took the backpack with the money and the two cartons of cigarettes and fled the store on foot.


    The male suspect was approximately 18-20 years old, 5’7” to 5’9” tall with a thin build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a red “Punisher” symbol on the front and black pants and was carrying a black backpack. The female suspect was 17 – 18 years old, 5’3” to 5’5” tall, thin and was wearing a black shirt and red shorts.


    Anyone with information about this crime or who can help identify the suspects should contact the Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Detective Francisco Gaete is the lead detective and can be reached at 305-853-3211.  Callers to Crime Stoppers 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



  • Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:03:00 +0000: First Responder softball game - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys
    This fun event was postponed due to rain and has been rescheduled. Here is the new information:


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