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WODI, Brookneal VA
Every once in a while, someone will ask me, "Scott, how
do I get featured on Tower Site of the Week?"
There's no easy answer to that question; often, what gets
shown here depends on where I happen to be traveling in any given
month or year, or on who's having an anniversary, or (as in last
week's feature) who happens to have lost a tower in a storm,
or who has unusual pictures to send in (like the wonderful Nome,
Alaska shots a few months ago.)
If you're reading this from, say, Hawaii or somewhere similarly
exotic, a pair of plane tickets and a nice hotel room later this
winter will certainly get you featured here, and quickly...
But aside from cheap bribery, there's another way to get featured
here: be the first good friend of mine to buy his own radio station.
That signal honor (yeah, I meant to make a bad pun) goes to one
Dave Marthouse, who's been a colleague of sorts ever since he
and I were both part of the inaugural crew of the shortwave show
Spectrum, which was born out of the ashes of the old Signals
show way back in the early nineties and was still running on
Saturday nights on WWCR when last I checked.
Dave happens to be one of the most interesting people I know
in radio. In addition to co-hosting Spectrum when I met
him, he also produced the morning show on WCTC (1450 New Brunswick
NJ) and hosted his own hour-long pre-show from 5-6 AM.
And, oh yeah, Dave's been completely blind since birth!
Now, Dave's always been a dreamer - and a few years ago, after
his parents passed on, Dave sold the family home in Metuchen,
N.J. and plowed the proceeds into a little radio station called
WODI, at 1230 on the dial in a small town called Brookneal, Virginia.
Dave partnered up with Tony DeNicola, who used to work for Bloomberg
and now does engineering for WMCA and several other New York
stations, formed "D&M Broadcasting," and in July
of 1996 became the proud proprietor of Brookneal's only radio
And no sooner was the ink dry on the closing documents than
the water began to rise in the Roanoke River, right along the
edge of the studio/tower site on Radio Road, just off US 501
at the southern edge of Brookneal (which is about 30 miles south
of Lynchburg, by the way.) By the time the flooding crested,
the water had risen waist-deep inside the WODI building.
So Dave and Tony
not only had a silent radio station on their hands - they had
a silent radio station with a flooded building and very little
in the way of working equipment. These guys don't give up, though;
they got their hands on an old trailer and fitted it out as a
studio/transmitter facility, complete with a Nautel transmitter
and a pretty respectable studio setup. For a year or so, this
trailer was WODI, while Dave and Tony - and Tony's
son Brian, who's become a respectable engineer in his own right
- cleaned out the studio building and returned it to functioning
(Even now, if another flood threatens, WODI can disconnect
the trailer from the studio, move to higher ground and stay on
that was done, things settled into a routine at WODI.
Dave calls his format "Cool Oldies and Hot Talk,"
and it's quite well executed - the "Marthouse in the Morning"
show each weekday from 7-9 AM, a wide playlist of oldies (with
Brian Dee as music director) running off automation, and a talk
lineup that includes Bruce Williams and Jim Bohannon every evening.On
the weekends, WODI carries a black gospel program as well as
several area church services - truly a small-town full service
operation at its best!
And it's all run day to day by Dave himself, who does just
about everything around the station when he's not busy doing
the morning show - including programming the automation and cutting
promos and spots. (Dave's skills with Cool Edit put my own to
shame...and I can see the screen!)
Tony handles the business operations from New Jersey, and
comes down to Brookneal every couple of weeks to visit with Dave
and do some work at the station itself. (We were flattered that
he made a special trip down just to see us when we stopped by
in late March, making good on the promise we'd been making Dave
for years that we'd pay a call on Brookneal.)
So there it is: Dave living his dream and providing a quality
radio service for the people of Brookneal at the same time. A
lucky guy indeed!
Want to see more neat sticks all year
round? Nashville's WSM (at right) is one of the more than
a dozen Tower Site images featured in the 2003 Tower Site Calendar,
still available from Tower Site of the Week and fybush.com.
If you liked last year's edition, you'll love this one: higher-quality
images (in addition to WSM, this year's edition includes Providence's
WHJJ; Mount Mansfield, Vermont; Buffalo's WBEN; KOMA in Oklahoma
City; WTIC, Hartford; Brookmans Park, England; WPAT, Paterson;
Four Times Square, New York; WIBC in Indianapolis; WWVA in Wheeling,
W.V.; WGN Chicago and more), more dates in radio history, a convenient
hole for hanging - and we'll even make sure all the dates fall
on the right days!
This year's edition is almost sold out! But you can
still order with your Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American
Express by using the handy link below, while supplies last!
Better yet, here's an incentive to make your 2003 NERW/Site
of the Week subscription pledge right now: support NERW/fybush.com
at the $60 level or higher, and you'll get this lovely calendar
for free! How can you go wrong? (Click here
to visit our Support page, where you can make your NERW contribution
with a major credit card...)
You can also order by mail; just send a check for $16
per calendar (NYS residents add 8% sales tax), shipping included,
to Scott Fybush, 92 Bonnie Brae Ave., Rochester
Thanks for your support!