WEOW Radio Today's Hit Music 2014-10-27T22:25:58Z 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

fkadmin <![CDATA[Latest News]]> http://weow927.com/?p=331 2014-04-07T19:08:37Z 2014-04-07T19:02:07Z
  • Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:27:00 +0000: Vehicle burglar arrested - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A Palm City man was arrested Thursday, charged with two vehicle burglaries in Key Colony Beach.

    The owner of a sport utility vehicle parked on Coral Lane called to report it had been burglarized between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. He said a bag was taken from inside his unlocked vehicle. Nearby surveillance video captured 23 year old Joseph Gunn in the area at the time of the vehicle burglary. The video shows Gunn taking two plastic bottles of water out of the back of a truck on Coral Lane. He is then shown walking away from the area where the SUV is parked. He is carrying a bag similar to the one reported stolen.

    Deputy Nick Whiteman was able to identify Gunn from the video and when Gunn was confronted, he admitted taking the bag and the two bottles of water. He was booked into jail Thursday on two counts each of burglary and theft.

  • Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:25:00 +0000: Marathon man charged with pawning stolen jewelry - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A Marathon man was arrested Thursday, charged with pawning stolen jewelry.

    The victim lives on Big Pine Key. She called the Sheriff’s Office after she found jewelry that belonged to her at a Marathon pawn shop. She told Deputy Nick Whiteman she let 28 year old Adam Blanco and his family stay at her house because they did not have a place to live. She said while they were staying with her, a large amount of her jewelry went missing.

    She checked the pawnshop and found five of the items in the shop. The items had been pawned by Blanco. A warrant was issued for Blanco’s arrest and on Thursday he was booked into jail on charges of dealing in stolen property and fraud for providing false information to the pawn shop.

  • Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:07:00 +0000: Two arrested for drugs - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Two men were arrested in Marathon Thursday afternoon after they were found to have marijuana and cocaine.

    Deputy Kendall Bailey was on patrol at 4:20 p.m. As he was patrolling, he was keeping an eye out for suspects that might be involved in committing an earlier crime. A notice to be on the lookout for a male and a female had been issued, with a description and the possibility they might be heading for a local hotel.

    Deputy Bailey spotted a truck with a male and female sitting in the bed of the truck. They fit the BOLO description so he stopped behind the truck when it pulled in to a gas station. The deputy began asking questions of the couple in the back. The male told him they were headed for the Holiday Inn. When Deputy Bailey looked into the back of the truck, he saw a zip lock bag. Inside the bag were smaller bags with a white powder inside.

    Other officers arrived as back up. Further investigation turned up marijuana, more cocaine and a large amount of cash in several different areas – in the truck, in the bed of the truck and in the pocket of the male suspect, who was identified as 26 year old Christopher Cepero of Marathon.

    The driver of the vehicle said he did not know who the couple was. He said his passenger, 27 year old Jonathan Guzman of Marathon, asked him to give the couple a ride. He said Guzman also asked him to hold a large amount of cash for him. The drive handed the cash over to Deputy Bailey. A duffel bag belonging to Guzman was found to contain more marijuana and cocaine.

    Cepero was charged with possession with intent to sell 18 bags of cocaine weighing 11.3 grams. He was also charged with possessing 54.8 grams of marijuana. Guzman was charged with possession with intent to sell 18.9 grams of cocaine and possession of 89.2 grams of marijuana. Two rolls of cash – a total of $5,220 – were seized as the possible proceeds of drug sales.

  • Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:28:00 +0000: Bees swarm patrol car - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
     Deputy Dave Campbell got quite a surprise this morning. He responded to a call at the 101.5 mile marker and was out of his car for about three minutes. When he returned, he found these bees swarming his car and on the rescue vehicle that also responded. In order to get back in the vehicles, they had to call for Key Largo Fire Department to wash them down. Maybe Dave is just too sweet for his own good, but it was probably a new colony of bees looking for a new home. We would prefer they not choose to live in one of our patrol cars!

  • Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:39:00 +0000: Enjoy the day - Happy Halloween! - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    The Sheriff's Office Administrative Offices and the Central Records office got into the spirit of Halloween today! We hope you are enjoying Halloween as much as we are!

  • ]]>
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