In a tiny UP town, AM radio is still king

December 7, 2015 - accent chair

NEWBERRY — He had an aged CD building to sell. And it was labelled to move.

“It’s about 4 feet tall. I’m seeking 5 bucks for it,” a male named Justin pronounced to everybody in town.

He was a tourist on a “Trading Post” uncover on WNBY 1450 AM, in Newberry, race 1,489 or so. Locals call any weekday morning during 9:30 to this on-air barter accommodate to sell or trade something, or news their breakfast, or share their feelings about a late Nov rain. It’s been on a atmosphere for 50 years, and it’s immensely popular.

The horde remembered Justin from a prior phone call to a show. “How about that couch? You still got that cot we wish to trade for a chair?” he asked Justin.

“Yes we do!” Justin replied. “Yeah, it’s about 5 feet long, sits genuine low to a ground, and Paula and we can’t use it. Wanted to trade it for a recliner chair.” He gave listeners his phone number.

Everything about WNBY is summed adult in that exchange. The 1,000-watt radio hire is all Newberry, from a hosts to a callers, and chances are they know any other. No object is too tiny to sell, no chronicle too teenager to share. The tourist mentions his partner as if everybody knows a integrate personally, a robe of parochial life’s familiarity.

But mostly, it shows that in this partial of a Upper Peninsula, out-of-date AM radio is still a critical partial of daily life.

“I consider it’s a focal point, during slightest of a internal community,” pronounced Travis Freeman, a horde of a show. “There’s no daily journal here, there’s no internal TV hire here, and so we kind of offer as a media.”

WNBY has been broadcasting to Newberry and a wooded vicinity given a mid-1960s from a tiny building on a state highway, and hasn’t altered many since. People call about mislaid dogs and found tools, or phone in a ask to hear a song, or to news that a facile school’s lizard got out.

It’s what radio used to be before a Internet — a approach for people apart from any other to connect, and to be partial of a common experience.

“I consider it’s essential to have a internal village radio hire that serves a community,” Freeman said. “It might sound scripted, though it’s true. It’s being means to assistance people out and bond people. It’s a strange amicable media.”

The subsequent tourist was Mary, who indispensable a palm with some present baskets for a needy.

“If anyone out there has got a half-hour to kill, around 11 o’clock, maybe we can come assistance me unpack a truck?” she asked.

Jack of all trades

In many ways, Freeman actually is WNBY.  He’s a station’s ubiquitous manager, and a marketplace manager, and inhabitant sales director, and a daily on-air personality.

He’s been spooky with radio given he was a child flourishing adult in circuitously Engadine, when he’d listen with his grandma to a radio competition on a hire in lost Petoskey. He used to fasten renouned internal DJs and learn from their banter. He’s still got a aged cassettes boxed divided somewhere during his house.

“I’m a radio geek,” he said. “I usually knew we wanted to be in radio.”

He done his initial radio coming on a Houghton hire when he was 15, and a few years after was operative frequently for WNBY in Newberry doing a Sunday high propagandize sports show. When new owners took over a hire in 2003 they remembered him, and called him during college to see if he’d underling during a holidays. He’s been there since.

Since afterwards a owners stretched from this one little radio hire to possess 14 others via a Upper Peninsula, and Freeman now runs an Up North media sovereignty of sorts.

He’s a bustling man. On tip of “Trading Post,” he hosts “Deer Hunters Round-Up,” another massively popular, half-century-old uncover in that callers news how sport stay is going for them. He hosts a four-hour afternoon song uncover opposite a gymnasium during WNBY’s FM sister station, as good as a “Good Buy Shopping Hour,” a radio chronicle of QVC in that listeners buy equipment and expostulate to a hire to get them.

And between all those tasks he drives all over a U.P. as he tends to a business of a company’s other 14 stations. “It’s a lifestyle,” he pronounced of a prolonged hours. He stressed that he wasn’t angry during all.

“I haven’t worked a day in my life, though they keep promulgation me paychecks,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s a lot of fun.”

A family affair

WNBY always had a mom-and-pop feel to it — partly since a mom and pop run many all here.

During Trading Post, for example, Freeman, 35, co-hosts with his mother Sarah, 32, who’s a station’s bureau manager, and who has no grave radio training. They’re assimilated by their crony Jerry Carnes, 61, a late corrections officer from a city prison, usually since it’s fun to have your friend in a studio. He has no training either.

Radio maestro Casey Cook, a morning DJ who plays old-fashioned nation classics, is one of a few there with grave radio training and experience. He hosts a “Casey and a Coffee Crew” uncover in a mornings, that facilities a organisation that consists of him and a characters he voices and tapes during his house.

There’s Bubba (“He’s a big, aged rugged guy,” Cook said), Buddy (“A little spiteful fellow, though Bubba always keeps a rein on him”) and continue forecaster Rain Forest (“That’s usually me creation a girl’s voice as best as we can.”)

The 60-year-old got into radio on a $10 gamble and worked for years during downstate stations before relocating to Newberry to caring for his bum father. Besides his morning show, he does play-by-play for a Lady Indians basketball group from a internal high school, as good as all 4 high propagandize boys sports teams. He also reads internal wake announcements any morning.

And of course, he too works Deer Hunter’s Round-Up, during that a whole Coffee Crew goes to stay in a area and offers on-air sport recipes for listeners.

It’s all a best of parochial life carried over a airwaves — friendly, corny, helpful and harmless. And it’s usually what a residents have always wanted from their internal radio station, he said.

“They wish to know what’s going on in a community,” Cook said. “They wish to know who died, they listen to a obituaries and what kind of events are function in a area, dishes and advantages and things like that. we usually consider there’s kind of an aged propagandize need for that adult in this area.”

Friends and neighbors

Next caller. “Yeah we got some used tin there,” a male job Trading Post pronounced in a thick Yooper accent. “It’s 12 feet long, about 3 feet wide. It’d be good for walls on a woodshed or something.” He wanted $75. He gave out his number.

The manners of Trading Post are simple. One call per person, per day.

Not 5 mins later, a male called again.

“I usually called,” he admitted. “I know we pronounced usually one phone call. But we got a 2002 Trailblazer for sale. There’s something wrong with a four-wheel drive, though we wish a thousand dollars for it.” Again, he gave out his number.

People call a uncover not usually to buy and sell, though also usually to widespread a word about something, like announcing that Ziggy, a facile school’s iguana, had transient (they located him in a tree not prolonged after); or news a energy cavalcade they found in a highway (the owners came brazen after conference this on a radio), or ask about a automobile that plowed into a internal mom-and-pop hotel a night before.

Sarah remarkable that her grandma was inside during a time, attending her General Federation of Women’s Clubs monthly meeting. “Grandma pronounced when she got home her legs were still shaking. It sounded like a explosve going off,” Sarah said, embodying the hint of hyper-local news.

They’ve modernized WNBY somewhat by adding a “Trading Post” Facebook page on that a hire can do online what it does over a air: announcements for a village group’s potluck dinner, and a town’s Christmas tree lighting and Santa visit, and a leader of a WNBY Pumpkin Prowl for best forged pumpkin.

“Say, let’s give divided a prize!” Freeman pronounced cheerfully. “Get your meditative caps on, get prepared to win. What year did a American Civil War finish in?” he asked. “First chairman with a scold answer is crowned a smartest chairman in a eastern U.P.”

The phone rang. It was Justin again, a male with a cot to swap. “April 2, 1865,” he answered, blank a scold answer by a week. But who cares? What’s a day or dual here or there among friends over a airwaves.

“You got it!” Travis exclaimed. “You are a smartest chairman in a eastern U.P.”

“And we Googled it!” Justin announced merrily. And that was excellent too. This show, after all, like a station, doesn’t follow a stricter manners of big-city broadcasting, nor does it try to be sharp and polished. It’s a genuine thoughtfulness of a area it serves, a longstanding virtual gathering place where people can get together and pronounce a approach neighbors do, however apart they might be.

“Everybody’s friends,” Cook said. “It’s a flattering neat tiny deal. we theory they adore that part, that we’re friends with them, we’re neighbors with them, we pronounce with them on a travel any day, we live subsequent to them. They know who we are. You’re not usually a voice on a radio.”

John Carlisle writes about people and places in Michigan. His stories can be found during Contact him: Follow him on Twitter @_johncarlisle.

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