WEOW Radio Today's Hit Music 2015-08-03T01:53:06Z 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, 02 Aug 2015 14:45:00 +0000: Man charged with driving recklessly, failing to stop for deputies and DUI - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A Hialeah man was arrested Saturday afternoon after a deputy saw him speeding, passing other cars in a reckless manner and then continuing to drive south when the deputy tried to stop him.

    Deputy Juan Martin-Reyes was southbound at the 29 mile marker just before 6 p.m. when he saw a gray Toyota Tundra truck coming up behind him. The truck was traveling very fast and was passing numerous cars in no passing zones. On a couple of occasions, he saw the truck force other cars off the roadway with his reckless driving behavior.

    The truck’s driver  finally noticed the deputy’s marked patrol car when it was directly in front of him. At that point he slowed. The deputy pulled over and let the truck get in front of him, then turned on his lights and siren to pull the truck over.

    Instead of pulling over, the driver – later identified as 36 year old Barry Pieger, continued on, failing to stop. He finally turned off the road into the Looe Key Tiki Bar parking lot. He drove through the lot and stopped just short of the Shell gas station on Ramrod Key.

    Pieger was ordered out of the truck and was arrested. He smelled strongly of alcohol. He was charged with reckless driving, failing to stop / fleeing and eluding police, driving under the influence of alcohol, improper passing, and refusing to sign the citations given to him. He was booked into jail.
  • Sun, 02 Aug 2015 14:44:00 +0000: Restaurant fire - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A Stock Island restaurant was damaged by fire overnight.

    Deputy David Lariz responded to an alarm on MacDonald Avenue at Paradise Transmission at 3:40 a.m. today. When he exited his patrol car, he smelled smoke. He looked up and saw smoke billowing into the sky from somewhere nearby. He called for firefighters and then investigated further.

    He found the origin of the fire at El Caney Restaurant on 1st Avenue. He could see flames inside as firefighters arrived. The fire was extinguished. The Fire Marshal will be investigating the cause.
  • Sat, 01 Aug 2015 18:01:00 +0000: Missing diver’s body recovered - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    The body of a free diver who went missing yesterday has been recovered by members of the Sheriff’s Office dive team


    The team went out on the water this morning to look for 37 year old Pedro Fernandez of Miami, who disappeared while free diving with friends  Friday on the Adolphus Busch wreck offshore of Little Torch Key on the ocean side.


    He was reported missing Friday evening and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Coast Guard searched for him overnight.



    His body was found in about 71 feet of water at 10:30 this morning not far from the wreck. It will be turned over to the Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

  • Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:35:00 +0000: Have some fun and help raise funds for the Sheriff's Animal Farm! - Monroe County Sheriff's Office

  • Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:32:00 +0000: - Monroe County Sheriff's Office

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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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