WEOW Radio Today's Hit Music 2015-03-30T06:50:27Z http://weow927.com/feed/atom/ WordPress weow927 <![CDATA[Bill Becker]]> http://weow927.com/?p=358 2014-04-08T14:06:15Z 2014-04-08T14:06:15Z 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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fkadmin <![CDATA[Latest News]]> http://weow927.com/?p=331 2014-04-07T19:08:37Z 2014-04-07T19:02:07Z
  • Sat, 28 Mar 2015 12:35:00 +0000: Indiana man charged with burglary - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A Little Torch Key woman woke up Friday to find a man in her house without her permission. He was arrested a short time later for burglary.

    The victim, who lives on State Road 4A, told Deputy Linda Kohout she woke up to her dogs barking just after 10 a.m. and saw a white van in her driveway that she did not recognize. She began to walk around her house and found a man she did not know – later identified as 52 year old Michael Cozad – inside her house. He said “is that boat out front for sale?” She told him to get out of her house and she called the Sheriff’s Office for help.


    She was able to give a description of the van, which was stopped a short distance away. She was able to identify Cozad as the man who had been in her house without her permission.



    Cozad, who told detectives he was living in his van in the city of Key West, was arrested, charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling, and he was booked into jail.

  • Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:58:00 +0000: Arrest made in stabbing; woman airlifted - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Just before 1 a.m. Deputy Aaron Coller and Sgt. Evan Calhoun responded to Banyan Grove apartments on Stock Island to reports of a stabbing. When they arrived they found the victim of the stabbing, 53 year old Aurora Hernandez, inside the apartment bleeding heavily from a stab wound in her left chest cavity. Also on the scene was her 34 year old daughter, Tabatha Young and a 10 year old boy, Hernandez’ grandson.

    Detectives say subsequent investigations and interviews revealed Young had stabbed her mother. She was arrested, charged with aggravated battery, and was booked into jail.



    Hernandez was airlifted to Miami’s Ryder Trauma Center. Major Crimes Detectives Patricia Garcia and Manuel Cuervo responded and are the investigators assigned to the case.

  • Tue, 24 Mar 2015 04:14:00 +0000: Motorcyclist with suspended license arrested for fleeing - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Miami man who fled from them on his motorcycle.

    Sgt. Eva n Calhoun heard a notice to be on the lookout over police radios. Key West police were pursuing a motorcycle out of the city, driving 120 miles per hour. Sgt. Calhoun spotted the vehicle as it traveled on MacDonald Avenue still at a high rate of speed. The motorcycle driver, later identified as Alex Mcentee of Miami, refused to stop. He turned onto 3rd Street and then onto U.S. One northbound.


    Deputies followed the motorcycle, attempting to pull it over numerous times. Finally, it was spotted turning off the highway onto Blue Water Drive, which is a dead end. Sgt. Calhoun pulled in behind Mcentee who then tried to exit past Sgt. Evan Calhoun’s patrol vehicle. He was unable to. Mcentee laid the motorcycle down on its side and surrendered to the officers.



    Mcentee was charged with 2 counts fleeing and eluding police, driving with license suspended (five times), not having a motorcycle endorsement on his license and possession of a suspended license, He was also charged with no motor vehicle registration, attaching a tag not assigned to the vehicle and reckless driving. His motorcycle was seized for possible forfeiture.

  • Tue, 24 Mar 2015 04:12:00 +0000: Snorkeling deaths in the Keys - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Sheriff’s detectives responded to and are investigating the deaths of three people who died while snorkeling today.

    Deputies and detectives responded to Lower Keys Medical Center where a man was brought in by ambulance, not breathing with CPR in progress.


    72 year old Richard Gueringer of San Antonio, Texas was transported to the hospital after a snorkel trip on board the boat “Key West Fury”. Gueringer was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.


    According to witnesses, he left the boat with his domestic partner, both reportedly experienced scuba divers. His partner said they left the boat together, but he entered the water more quickly.  He reportedly became unconscious and had to be pulled onto the boat where CPR was performed until he could be brought to shore for medical attention.  He was pronounced dead and an autopsy will be performed.


    A 72 year old man from Schauwburg, Illinois was snorkeling in the Dry Tortugas when he reportedly became unconscious and later died.


    An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.


    An Illinois woman was snorkeling offshore of Key Largo on Molasses Reef.



    64 year old Julia Thien was visiting with her husband and other family members. They were on board the vessel Keys Diver II. When she went into the water she reportedly began having trouble. She became unresponsive. They got her back on board the boat and began CPR. She was brought to shore where paramedics took over care. She was pronounced dead at Mariner’s Hospital. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

  • Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:06:00 +0000: Big PIne cleanup - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
     Deputy Linda Kohout, AKA “the Cleanup Machine” was at it again on the state right of way at the north end of North Pine Channel. With help from ICA and the Big Pine Road Prison, she got it all picked up and posted with No Trespassing signs. Way to go Linda!


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    fkadmin <![CDATA[Music News]]> http://weow927.com/?p=311 2014-04-04T19:16:34Z 2014-04-04T19:13:34Z

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