Category Archives: WWOZ 90.7 FM

The founders of WWOZ were brothers Walter and Jerry Brock, from Texas, who thought New Orleans needed a community radio station and began organizing it in the mid- 1970s. Jerry is also the co-founder of the Louisiana Music Factory, and a record producer engaged in the works of various local artists. The Nora Blatch Educational Foundation (named after radio pioneer Nora Blatch, wife of Lee De Forest) was established as a non-profit organization to hold the station license. The call letters WWOZ were chosen as a reference to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, specifically the line, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” meaning that attention should be given to the program content rather than the personalities of the disc jockeys.

The station began broadcasting 4 December 1980 from the tiny transmitter building in Bridge City, Louisiana beneath their shared rented broadcast tower. A few months later the broadcasts moved to the space the station had been using in a dilapidated two-room apartment upstairs from the music club Tipitina’s at Napoleon Avenue and Tchoupitoulas Street in Uptown New Orleans.

Conditions at WWOZ in the early 1980s were spartan. The studio/office had no air-conditioning, and for a time just before moving out of the Tipitina’s site the only running water to the tiny bathroom was from a neighbor’s garden hose run in through a window. Everyone who did a show volunteered hours of time on other tasks to keep the station going, from addressing envelopes to sweeping the floor. When artists performing live downstairs at Tipitina’s gave their permission, their performances were broadcast via a microphone lowered through a hole in the floor. When permission to broadcast live performances downstairs could not be obtained, programming went to pre-recorded reel-to-reel tapes, as the music downstairs made it too loud in the studio to talk over the microphones and the vibrations made it impossible to use the station’s turntables.

In 1985 WWOZ moved the studio to a building in Louis Armstrong Park in the Tremé neighborhood. With the station facing financial difficulties, the license was transferred to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation (parent organization of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival) which helped subsidize the operation. The station later added an office in a small house across the St. Philip Street from the studio.

In 1996, Better Than Ezra, an Alternative rock band from New Orleans, wrote a song titled “WWOZ”, where they mention this radio station.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Livewire Music Event Calendar | WWOZ 90.7 FM

Livewire Music Event Calendar | WWOZ 90.7 FM WWOZ is a non-profit community-supported radio station in New Orleans, Louisiana broadcasting at 90.7 FM. The station specializes in music from or relating to the cultural heritage of New Orleans and the … Continue reading

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