I love the music of the 1940s-50s-60s ever since I raided by grandpa's record library as a kid. My mom's Magnovox record player was a fascination. This is what it looked like:
I also got a little radio on Christmas and I always searched out the radio stations that played that kind of music.
|Here I am with my grandma and sister one Christmas long ago -- Note that my gift was my first radio!|
Sharing that music has always been fun. The best job I ever had was at a radio station in Gainesville, Florida, WLUS. In the early 1990s the music was stored on huge reel to reel tapes. I put together their entire music library and for years my personal record collection was broadcast over the air.
Later, for several years I hosted a Saturday night big band radio show on WMFQ in Ocala, Florida. The audience response was very positive as people tuned in week after week to reminsce about the music they knew.
During that time Gene Martin played similar music on WRZN, a station in Hernando. He was the best. I admired Gene for his great music selection and I was very pleased when he came on my show and I visited his show.
Several other stations played "our" kind of music, but soon the broadcast "landscape" changed. WLUS played my music library for years but eventually the owners changed the format to country. At WMFQ where I did my Saturday night show, new owners promised no changes but when they took over most of the staff was let go. No place for a Saturday night show, either.
One by one the stations that played the hits of the 40s to the 60s fell by the wayside -- except for Gene Martin. He held on the longest. Finally the station he was on -- WRZN -- changed formats, too.
Gene didn't fade out like most of us did. I call him the Renaissance Man. First Gene took his show on line 24 hours a day via his own website. It was a labor of love and financial commitment to run. Now anyone anywhere in the world could listen to his music on the internet. He resurrected my radio career as well as the "Nostalgic Rambler Radio Show" was born. But Gene missed the immediacy of local over the air radio.
Gene never gave up. He was always looking for a way to get his music on local "over the air" radio. He worked the Gene Martin magic and now as of September 2013 once again he is on the air every Saturday -- all day -- on a pretty powerful FM station Daystar 89.5 in Ocala. The Nostalgic Rambler is part of the offerings on his "Gene Martin and Friends" presentation from 2-4pm.
How he did all of this is a mystery to me. The rest of the week this station airs what I would call a Christian Rock/Rap format-- culture shock for big band lovers and I'm sure the feeling is likewise for those folks listening to that and hearing Perry Como instead!
What's next for the Renaissance Man? I'm sure Gene will continue to amaze us all as he continues to help us all promote and share the greatest music ever recorded.