WEOW Radio Today's Hit Music 2015-02-01T21:48:47Z 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, 01 Feb 2015 16:50:00 +0000: Drug arrest in Marathon - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    A search warrant was served Saturday morning at a Marathon residence.  Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit, served the warrant at 6900 Overseas Highway, Lot-53W, in Marathon.  It was the home of 39 year old Abel Jesse O’Dwyer. O’Dwyer had been arrested just before midnight Friday during a traffic stop in Marathon.


    O’Dwyer had been driving his Ford truck on Grassy Key when he was stopped because neither he nor his passenger were wearing a seat belt. After smelling marijuana in the truck, deputies located marijuana and a digital scale in the truck. They also found 211 Xanax pills and over $3,000 in cash. O’Dwyer went to jail, charged with possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.


    The search of O’Dwyer’s residence turned up approximately four pounds of Marijuana, over three hundred and forty more Xanax pills, drug paraphernalia and over thirty one hundred dollars in cash.



    O’Dwyer was further charged with possession of Marijuana with the intent to sell, possession of controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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    The dive vessel, called “Visibility” came in to John Pennekamp State Park shortly after 3 p.m. with CPR in progress on the 58 year old victim, James Leek. Paramedics took over at the dock, transporting Leek to Mariner’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.


    The captain of the vessel told Deputy Jean Gonzalez they were diving at French Reef. The dive was about half an hour at 38 feet in depth. Leek was with a dive instructor in the water. The two men surfaced and Leek appeared to be fine. When they reached the boat’s ladder, Leek became unresponsive. He was loaded onto the boat and they began performing CPR immediately, bringing him in to shore.



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

  • Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:17:00 +0000: FSA honorary member honored - Monroe County Sheriff's Office
    Sheriff Rick Ramsay with Stanley Hayden of Islamorada. Mr. Hayden was recognized by the Florida Sheriff’s Association for supporting the group for the past 25 years.
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     Deputy Donald Stulken located this and some other graffiti in several spots near the south end of Bahia Honda. Sgt. Linda Mixon’s squad worked together to get supplies and paint over the unsightly mess. Here are before and after pictures. In the photos, Deputies Stulken, Jon Riggs and Nancy Roberts.

  • Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:08:00 +0000: District Seven formal inspection - Monroe County Sheriff's Office

     District Seven in the Upper Keys had its formal inspection this week. Here are some photos of those awesome troops!



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