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Small Town Radio is Still the Best

Written by on October 5, 2020

Small Town Radio is Still the Best


I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and radio has always been a big part of my life.  Even when I was in 1st or 2nd grade, I remember my mom listening to the radio in the kitchen and that’s how I started my life’s playlist.  To this day, I include a lot of 40’s and 50’s music on my radio station.  One of my fondest memories is staying overnight at Grandma’s house and listening to a Milwaukee Braves baseball game on the radio.  The sense of smell is reported to be the biggest influence on one’s memories, but I gotta put music right up there.  I’m sure there are many important times in your life that you can remember some music associated with and that probably came from the radio.

The 60’s, in my humble opinion, produced the best music, as a decade, in history and I haven’t heard anything since then to change my opinion. Back then, my favorite radio station, along with millions of others, was WLS out of Chicago.  The best music and the best DJ’s in the world.  From my little clock radio in my bedroom to the transistor AM-only radio that I carried with me on my paper route or cutting grass it was my constant and great companion.

Also, in the early 60’s, my dad became the manager of our local FM radio station, WVLR, “Wisconsin’s Very Live Radio”.  It was an Adult Easy listening station but did allow one hour of Rock and Roll every day.  The show was hosted by teenage students from the local high school.   FM stations at that time weren’t popular and very few people even had FM radios.  WVLR bought several one frequency FM radios and distributed them to a lot of local residents.  A lot of them went to farms and used in the barn.   I was too young to get too involved in the station at the time.  My main job was emptying the garbage each day filled with old coffee cups and cigarette butts.  However, I was fascinated by the announcer sitting in a little room talking and spinning records for so many people.

This was truly small town radio.  At Christmas, they would take the station vehicle around town and describe the decorations on the houses.  They broadcast the local high school football, basketball and baseball games.  I probably didn’t think that much about it at the time but looking back it was truly amazing.

There is still a radio station that I am aware of in western Wisconsin that is family owned and is run as a smalltown radio station.  High school sports are broadcast, in studio interviews with influential and not so influential people are a staple of the station.   We need more of that and less big corporate stations.  Eventually, WVLR was sold.  The FCC license was moved  to our state capitol city and, you guessed it, is currently be used by a corporate station.

That brings us to today.  Eleven, or so, years ago, I started Sauk Prairie Radio and was doing well and having fun.  Then the royalty laws changed.   I don’t have an issue with artists getting paid for their product.  But it put me and thousands of other internet radio stations out of business.  About 3 yrs ago the laws changed again.  Now internet broadcasting is again affordable.  I want to make Sauk Prairie Radio a small town station with broad appeal.  I want to bring back that “small town” atmosphere to our radio station.  That was my goal about 2 months ago when I re-started SPR and I am striving to do just that.  Enjoy and let me know what you think.




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  1. Randy Plunkett   On   July 6, 2023 at 11:19 am

    I think your small town station is excellent! I too am a bit younger but grew up in rural farm country in Pennslyvania…at night we too could listen to WLS! Those were fantastic times…now I live in Arena and love country living in WI – if you get down to Mazomanie this Saturday, come by and say hi. I am singing at Go Loco with the Locals!

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