New Orleans community radio station WWOZ was powered on by two Texans: Jerry and Walter Brock on this day way back in 1980. Moon Landrieu was sitting as mayor of the Crescent City, Flash Gordon was the #1 movie at the box office, and Lady by Kenny Rogers was the top song in the land.
We’ve been listening ever since.
WWOZ stands for Wonderful World of OZ.
“Keep Cool Babylon,” by Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus was the first music sent out across the airwaves.
In those primordial days, OZ could barely manage 25,000 watts of power, and would fade out right past Irish Bayou. On a recent trip up through the Deep South we enjoyed blasting the station until we were almost in Hattiesburg.
Ernie-K-Doe was an early DJ, and as recent as spring 2017 we enjoyed whoever it was that would drive around the Bywater neighborhood blaring old K-Doe shows at top volume.
The station’s license was originally held by the Brock Brothers through their Nora Blatch Educational Foundation but by 1987 OZ was flat broke and transferred the broadcast license to the Friends of WWOZ Inc., a nonprofit established by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation.
The Foundation is in no danger of running out of cash anytime soon as their most recent audit conducted by accounting firm Postlethwaite and Netterville shows their assets as over $10 million in “cash and cash equivalents”
Good for them. We spend dozens of hours a week listening to OZ either at the house or riding around town taking care of our affairs. There are only a few DJs who are awful enough to make us switch the station and the great ones like Boudin Man, Murf Reeves, and Wild Child more than make up for it.
Happy Birthday OZ.
If you’re not fortunate enough to live in New Orleans you may stream the station here.