Approximately one year ago today, WIZS quietly celebrated a big event in its now 64-year history – its first broadcast on an FM radio station.
Since first flipping the switch to enter the airwaves on May 1, 1955, WIZS has broadcast on 1450AM. At exactly noon on August 17, 2018, after years of planning and dreaming, WIZS flipped the switch again to add 100.1 FM as a live simulcast.
John Charles Rose, owner and operator of WIZS, and Trey Snide were on Wednesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program (08/14/19) to discuss the FM simulcast and what it has meant for the station in its first year of existence.
With its ability to reach a younger audience more familiar with the FM format, the simulcast helps ensure a viable future for WIZS as a provider of local news, sports, music, talk and entertainment.
As is often the case in life, the addition of the FM channel was not without its fair share of blood, sweat, tears and a few “hold your breath” moments.
“When we first flipped the switch a year ago, there was an unbelievably long, almost nauseating period of dead air on the AM station,” Rose remembered.
Feeling reassured once the two channels synched moments later, Rose said, “The FM translator is required to be a simulcast of its AM parent. The AM station that has been here since 1955 is the foundation of everything we do.”
The first moments on 100.1 FM were even more poignant for Rose because his mother, Susan Rose, who serves as president of WIZS’ parent company Rose Farm and Rentals, Inc., was the very first person to speak the very first words WIZS ever broadcast on an FM station.
FM Anniversary Celebration
To recognize both the one-year anniversary of FM simulcasting and 30 years of Rose family ownership of the station, WIZS will hold a community celebration on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at Ribeyes Steakhouse of Henderson. Ribeyes is located at 2002 Graham Avenue, and the event will be held in the parking lot from 3 until 7 p.m.
The Rick Strickland Band, featuring the award-winning music of entertainers Rick Strickland and Lesa Hudson, will be performing live.
Drinks and food specials will be available for purchase; entertainment and good fellowship are free of charge. Rose invited the community to “bring your family, bring your good mood, bring a chair or bring a tent and plan on having a good time.”
Brief History of WHVH/WIZS
On May 1, 1955, Howard V. Harrell, a tv and radio repairman from Oxford, started the station under the call letters WHVH – his initials. The station has been on the air continuously ever since.
The call letters were changed to WIZS around 1959, shortly after the station was sold to Stan Fox and his business partners Irv Fox and Seymour Dworsky.
Rose Farm & Rentals purchased WIZS and assumed operation on June 1, 1989, under president John D. Rose, III, father of John Charles Rose.
For the last 30 years, local news has been broadcast on-air on 1450AM, as well as on the more recently licensed translator 100.1 FM, at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily; mid-day news has been reported at various times throughout the years.
Along with the addition of FM, WIZS’ online presence grew exponentially in 2018 with 100,000 people visiting the website and new viewers “liking” and/or following the station on social media daily.
The popularity of WIZS’ Facebook and Twitter pages has grown throughout 2019, prompting the station to begin the process of adding an Instagram presence.
WIZS offers the following weekday broadcast schedule:
“Weekday Wakeup with Brandi Leigh” from 6 – 9 a.m.
Mix of County, Beach and Pop/Rock Oldies music from 9 – 11 a.m.
“Town Talk” at 11 a.m.
“Tradio” at 11:30 a.m.
“Beach Music Blast” with Trey Snide at 12 p.m.
“Sports Mayhem” with Kemp Collins at 1 p.m.
Mix of County, Beach and Pop/Rock Oldies music from 2 – 5 p.m., including the “Afternoon Drive” with John Stevenson starting at 3 p.m.
Weekend programs include “Country Grass” with Ms. Velvet from 7 – 9 a.m. and “Choice Country Classics” from 9 a.m. – 12 noon on Saturday, and Saturday afternoon brings a mix of County, Beach and Pop/Rock Oldies music for your listening pleasure.
Robert Wright provides live news, local church happenings and gospel music on Sunday mornings from 7 – 11 a.m. in a segment titled “Sounds of Jordan.” This is followed by Ms. Velvet’s “Sunday Afternoon Gospel Jamboree,” a popular variety of Country, Bluegrass and Gospel music, from 12 – 2 p.m.
Ending the Town Talk segment of August 14, 2019 with a final discussion on the magnitude of being a part of the FM airwaves, Rose said it was a long-time dream of both his and his father.
“Can you imagine being able to flip a switch and make something happen,” Rose asked. “Can you imagine the preparation that goes into that moment? Can you imagine years and decades about dreaming of doing something and then being able to flip a switch and make that happen? I cannot describe what that moment felt like. I cannot describe in words what it felt like to witness my mother flip that switch.”
To hear the interview in its entirety, please click the play button below. Listen live to WIZS’ Town Talk Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on 1450AM, 100.1 FM or online at www.wizs.com.