WEOW Radio Today's Hit Music 2014-06-26T01:13:28Z 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
  • Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:13:00 +0000: Woman says she was attacked - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys
    A Marathon woman, out walking her dog Friday just before 7 p.m. says she was attacked.

    The victim said she was walking from her home on Stirrup Key Road toward Aviation Boulevard when she saw someone standing near a stop sign, near woods on Aviation and Stirrup Key Road. She said the person looked at her, then stepped back into the woods as if hiding.


    She became nervous and started walking back home, but was confronted by the person who grabbed her arm and pulled her into the bushes. She began screaming for help and the person took off running toward Aviation Boulevard.


    The subject, whom she believes was a black male, was wearing a red colored short sleeved shirt with dark pants or possibly long shorts. He was wearing some type of mask or bandana – possibly white – wrapped around his face.



    Deputies responded to the area and searched for anyone matching the description. No one was found.

  • Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:20:00 +0000: Sheriff’s detectives arrest man who tortured, beat dog - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys


     Sheriff’s detectives arrest man who tortured, beat dog

    Sheriff’s detectives arrested a Key Largo man. They say between July 19th and the 21st he tortured and beat his eight year old pit bull, named Diamond, eventually dumping the dog, still alive, alongside the road in a black garbage bag.

    36 year old Todd Alexander is told a witness he was going to “get rid” of the dog because he was tired of the dog’s snoring. The witness said Alexander used grey duct tape to tape the dog’s mouth and nose. Alexander then allegedly left the dog that way for two days, without being able to drink water or eat food.

    After two days of no food or water, according to the witness, Alexander used a metal pipe and began hitting the dog with it. He repeatedly struck the dog on the head and body as the dog yelped and cried.

    Alexander then put the dog in a black garbage bag, while  still alive, and dumped her alongside Gun Club Road in Key Largo.

    A passerby spotted the black bag with something moving inside. When he cut the bag open, he found the suffering dog, still alive.

    Animal Control officers responded and took the dog in to the shelter; they treated the suffering animal, but the injuries were too severe. The dog reportedly suffered from internal injuries and head wounds consistent with being beaten with a metal pipe. The dog also suffered from having no food or water for over two days. Due to the severity of the injuries and the suffering being experienced by the dog, the dog had to be euthanized.

    Detectives obtained a warrant for the arrest of Alexander today and he was booked into jail, charged with cruelty to animals and use of a weapon during the commission of a felony.

  • Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:31:00 +0000: Cleanup on Gun Club Road, Key Largo - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys

    Last Friday, the Sheriff's Office and Community partners joined together to clean up Gun Club Road in Key Largo. Here are a few pictures of the hard work they did. Thanks to Sgt. Tom Kiffney for taking the photos.







  • Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:26:00 +0000: Islamorada Community project - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys
    Deputy Ben Elmore has organized a project to spruce up the caboose belonging to the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at the 82 mile marker bayside. He is looking for anyone who wants to help on Thursday, September 25th at 8:30 a.m. Contact him with any questions.
  • Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:25:00 +0000: Zontian of the month - Monroe County Sheriff's Office - Florida Keys
    Sgt. Linda Mixon is the Marathon Zontian of the Month. Here she is with President Erica Rodriguez. Great job, 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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