By: Paul Poteet, On Air Personality (and Weather Guru) on WERK-FM
Of the many “brands” I work with daily, I have the longest history with WERK-FM.
Growing up in Huntington County and becoming a radio listener in the 70s I was in a sweet spot for classic top 40 radio. Day and night I could hear WLS out of Chicago and CKLW from Detroit (technically–Windsor Canada–that’s the reason it starts with “C”.) And during the day I could catch two other local AM top 40 legends: WMEE in Fort Wayne, and 9-90 WERK in Muncie, the place where I first heard a guy who sounded like Shaggy on Scooby Doo counting down the American Top 40.
I never was a big boss DJ on WLS, although I’ve heard myself on the Big 89. (It was a national Sherwin-Williams Paint commercial and I parked the car for a moment just so I didn’t miss anything.) I ended up working for WMEE in high school, a few months after they switched to FM. It took a little longer to get around to WERK, now also on FM.
My first stint as One Of The Men At WERK (advertising works: I first heard that line over 40 years ago) was at the turn of the century, but just for a year, because the out-of-state owners decided to do some trimming. It was still a great experience. I met several folks who remained friends. One of them was a kid named Marcus Bailey, now a WISH TV weatherman that I’m filling in for this summer. On-air guys like Jay Garrison and Steve Brown have been associated with WERK for years and years.
When I read that a new locally-based group had acquired WERK and its sister stations I immediately did some research. I liked what I read. I appreciated the nod to Indiana broadcast history with the company’s name “Woof Boom.” Woof Boom was a nickname used in the 1960s by the old WFBM stations: Channel 6 TV, 94.7FM, and 1260AM. (And yeah, I’ve worked for all three of those frequencies.)
Most importantly, I was impressed by the Woof Boom focus on all things local. In 2016 the world is at your fingertips. Web sites will figure out exactly what music you want to hear and play it forever. Modern music radio stations cannot thrive by *just* playing music. The mega media companies benefit from the economies of scale, but they cannot compete with a locally-focused radio station that reflects what the life its listeners lead. Pandora can’t talk to you about the pizza at RP’s, or the pancakes at Eva’s, or tell you via commercial content where the best sales are happening this weekend. They can’t “set the night to music” on the Fourth Of July.
So now I get to bring those kinds of things (and, oh yeah…LOCAL weather) to East Central Indiana on WERK. It’s obviously not the only thing I do every day, but it is a very important part of my day. Radio is my first love and I take my work on The New Sound very seriously. (Although if I’m doing it right it probably doesn’t sound like I’m taking it very seriously.) I try to make it fun and, as often as possible. I try to make it local.
I’m a lifelong Hoosier who has been blessed to do what I love for 37 years. The addition of WERK FM to my portfolio of partners makes so much sense, and I’m very proud that it has worked out so well. The next time you see “Brownie,” thank him for setting up that lunch with me and J Chapman!