WEOW Radio Today's Hit Music 2015-07-06T12:48:20Z 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
  • Sun, 05 Jul 2015 13:43:00 +0000: Tavernier man dies after apparent fall from bike - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    An Tavernier man died Saturday at Mariner’s Hospital, apparently after falling from his bike and hitting his head.

    Deputies responded to Mariner’s Hospital after 63 year old Richard Lhommedieu, who lived on West Indies Road in Tavernier = was transported there with a head injury. He was found by a woman on her way to work. He was on Burton Drive in Tavernier, lying next to his bike and bleeding from his head.

    There were reportedly no other injuries to indicate he was hit by a car and, although there were no witnesses to what happened, the injury he sustained indicated a fall from the bike.

    No foul play is suspected.

  • Sat, 04 Jul 2015 20:23:00 +0000: Man in jail for 2013 charges - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A Fort Lauderdale man who has been in custody in other jurisdictions since December of 2013 has been returned to Monroe County to face charges here.

    21 year old Darrell Bush and four accomplices smashed the windows on eight vehicles and took items from them on July 29th2013. The cars were parked at the Dolphin Research Center, the Long Key Bridge and Robbie’s Marina. They took property including cell phones, computers, cameras, cash, credit cards and jewelry.

    Deputies stopped the car the suspects were traveling in at the 90 mile marker because they had information the car may have been involved in the crimes. The car – with four people inside – fled from the traffic stop.

    They turned onto Coconut Row and all four people fled from the car on foot. Two women in the car were found hiding a short distance away. Bush was located at a bus stop nearby and was arrested after he gave deputies a false name.

    Further investigation revealed stolen items from the burglaries discarded in the area of Coconut Row, where the suspects fled from the car.

    The three other suspects in the case have already been taken into custody for the eight vehicle burglaries and for resisting arrest. Bush was in custody in other jurisdictions on other charges and was finally returned to Monroe County to face his charges here.

    The three others arrested in connection with this case:

    31 year old Darrion Donaldson of Planation, Florida

    23 year old Lawanda Finley of Fort Lauderdale

    23 year old Dominique Hill of Fort Lauderdale

    Sheriff Rick Ramsay announced today, a team of assessors from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) will arrive August 18th to examine all aspects of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services, Even though MCSO is CALEA Accredited, the agency still must comply with an additional 84 standards in order to receive CFA accredited status. Many of the standards are critical to life, health and safety issues.

    As part of the on-site assessment, agency members and the general public are invited to offer comments to the assessment team. A copy of the standards is available through the MCSO Public Information Officer at (305) 292-7116.

    For more information regarding CFA or for persons wishing to offer written comments about the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office’s ability to meet the standards of accreditation, please write: CFA, P.O. Box 1489, Tallahassee, Florida  32302, or email toinfo@flaccreditation.org.

    The Accreditation Program Manager for MCSO is Lt. Dennis Coleman. The assessment team is composed of law enforcement practitioners from similar agencies. The assessors will review written materials; interview individuals; and visit offices and other places where compliance can be witnessed. The CFA Assessment Team Leader is Master Officer Tammy Farnham from the Stuart Police Department. Other team members are Accreditation Manager Maureen Buice from the Fort Myers Police Department and Lieutenant John Schardine from Maitland Police Department.

    Once the Commission’s assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full Commission, which will then decide if the agency is to receive accredited status. Accreditation status is for 3 years. Verification by the team that MCSO meets the Commission’s standards is part of a voluntary process to gain or maintain accreditation--a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.
  • Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:53:00 +0000: Juveniles involved in Islamorada crime spree - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A group of juveniles ranging in age from 13 to 17 burglarized cars, stole a car and bicycles and caused havoc on Plantation Key between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

    One of the juveniles – 15 year old Richard Williams – has been charged with two counts of felony vehicle burglary and theft. A second juvenile – 16 year old Daniel Placide – has been charged with grand theft of a vehicle. Charges may be pending against others as the investigation continues.

    Members of the group told Detective Ian Barnett they left the Children’s Shelter on Plantation Key at 9 p.m. Monday. After leaving, members of the group say they entered numerous unlocked cars and took money from inside. They went to Founder’s Park in Islamorada where they swam in the pool after closing hours. They took bicycles from bike racks at the park and scattered them throughout the park.

    They entered one unlocked car – a 1998 Toyota - which had the keys in the ignition. They stole the car and drove it to Coral Shores High School, where they left it parked. They returned to the shelter at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

    Deputy Caridad Bellon responded to a vehicle burglary report Tuesday morning. The victim told her he’d been walking his dog in the early morning hours and heard juveniles swimming in the pool at the park. He said he went out to his car later and found bikes strewn around the park and his vehicle burglarized.

    Deputies knew a group of juveniles had been reported missing from the shelter at the same time these crimes were taking place. When they began interviewing the juveniles, who had since returned to the shelter, they discovered the extent of their activities.

    After interviews were conducted, Williams was charged with two counts of vehicle burglary and theft. Placide was charged with grand theft of an automobile. More charges may be pending against them and other members of the group.

  • Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:18:00 +0000: Pirate charged with disorderly conduct - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Deputies responding to a “shots fired” call on the old Seven Mile Bridge Monday night arrested a man in a full pirate costume, complete with operational black powder pistols in holsters on each hip, a sword and two knives.

    Dispatchers received a call at 8:20 p.m. The caller wanted to report a pirate firing a gun on the bridge. When Deputy Garrett Bragg arrived, he found 58 year old Jamie Spering, who said he is an entertainer. He said he was on the bridge with friends for sunset. He admitted shooting both of his black powder pistols. He said there was no projectile loaded in the pistols, just the powder. He said he shot the guns safely,  toward the water. Witnesses contradicted his story, saying he fired one shot toward the water and one toward cars traveling on the bridge.

    Spering was taken into custody, charged with disorderly conduct and booked into jail.
  • ]]>
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