WTBQ celebrates 10th anniversary of return to radio airwaves

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:14

    WARWICK-Advertisers and fans of Warwick/Florida Radio WTBQ (1110 AM) may not be aware that for almost two years, the local station was completely off the air. But on July 1, 1994, current owner Frank Truatt, who had purchased the station from recording artist Jimmy Sturr, put WTBQ back on the air. On Thursday, July 1, the entire staff of WTBQ, associates, advertisers and fans gathered at the Owen Murphy Inn, Route 17M, Goshen, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the revival of the station under his able stewardship. "The past 10 years," said Truatt, "have been exciting, challenging and very rewarding. Our success is primarily due to lots of hard work and a staff of radio addicts that love what they do. It has given us a unique, local sound in a world of corporate radio takeovers." Warwick resident and media entrepreneur Ed Klein founded WTBQ. The station began broadcasting on July 29, 1969. At that time, Klein was also publisher of The Warwick Advertiser. In the late 1970s he sold the station to "Polka King" Jimmy Sturr who, in turn, sold it to Goodtime Broadcasting. Sturr regained ownership in 1992. Frank Truatt grew up in Bergen County, N.J., listening to New York radio and he remembers that he always enjoyed the music of the radio DJ's. While attending Clarkson College of Technology in Potsdam, N.Y., Truatt discovered that the school had it's own radio station and that it was located in the basement of his dorm. "Within a few weeks," he recalled, "I was on the air with my own show on Saturday mornings from 6 - 9 am." During his years at Clarkson, he also worked on the college's other radio station, eventually becoming Music Director and then Station Manager. Truatt earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in Industrial Management but he admits that as he began his business career he was heartbroken about giving up his radio shows to join the "real world." In 1981, a co-worker introduced him to the program director at a local station in Sussex County, N.J. Truatt was hired part-time but he longed for a regular scheduled time slot. He began working at other stations in New Jersey and New York while also managing his own mobile DJ service. When he learned that his last station employer would be changing over to an all satellite format, and that live, local DJ's would no longer be needed, he decided to see if any nearby stations were for sale. WTBQ's name came up. Truatt was familiar with the station as he had once worked there. Because WTBQ had been off the air when Truatt purchased it from Jimmy Sturr, there was lots of work to be done. After 10 years, familiar broadcasters like Natalie "Nat the Cat" Gubala and Dick Wells, who pioneered the station's rebirth, are still at "TBQ" and many other experienced broadcasters, like John Moultrie, have joined the family. At the recent anniversary celebration, Moultrie asked any of the guests if they knew the meaning of the letters TB in WTBQ. Ed Klein knew the answer but he was asked to keep silent. In his autobiography, "At Least Nobody's Shooting at Me," Klein explained that most people thought the call letters signified Ted Baker Radio after the name of its first professional announcer. The inspiration, however, came from his daughter Pip's small car, which she had named TB for her Teddy Bear. Klein's wife, Phyllis, later came up with the station's slogan, "Top Broadcast Quality."