Johnny Maraca rocks West Virginia
My biggest radio market is a thousand miles away, based in a town I’ve never been to, and comprised of listeners I’ve never met.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about Middleboune, West Virginia: ‘…a town in Tyler County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 815 at the 2010 census. It serves as the county seat of Tyler County.”
Now, The Rock and Roll Riot does run on 97.7 the Beach, serving the 18,000 residents of Wasaga Beach and another 20,000 or so in the surrounding areas but the signal of WRSG is stronger than the beach’s by 200 watts. I’ve been told Knights Radio can be heard for 35 miles or more.
Not too shabby for a high school station.
HOW JOHNNY LANDED IN TYLER COUNTY
My show began as The Roots of Rock and Roll in 2008 and was added to the lineup of our sister station, Sunshine 89 in Orillia.
In 2012 I was told, via Skype, that both shows were being cancelled due to budget reasons. Thankfully, an internet station in Orillia, Swisssh Radio, offered me a spot on their service. The Roots of Rock and Roll were alive! I re-dubbed it The Rock and Riot, and another internet station, Radio that Doesn’t Suck (http://rtds.ca) added my show. Thanks to Rob Reid at Swisssh and Todd Miller at RTDS.
Rob dropped all specialty programs a few years ago but I will always be grateful for his interest in keeping my show on the air. Or, on the computer.
LIVING ON THE AIR IN…
The post on a U.S. radio message board read: “WRSG looking for syndicated programming.”
WRSG! No offense to my internet carriers but now I had the chance to be back on a terrestrial radio station with a transmitter that could send my show to hundreds or thousands of homes.
Except that it was a high school station. Meaning non-commercial. Meaning, Johnny provides the content for free.
So what? I wanted an audience and the adult volunteer who manages WRSG, Greg Goodfellow (and he more than lives up to that name) liked my show and threw it on the Knight’s Radio playlist.
WHO THE HECK IS JOHNNY MARACA?
I often wonder what people in Tyler County are thinking when my Riot blasts through their speakers. Who is this crazy Canadian? Who are (Canadian acts) The Royal Crowns, Ginger St. James, The Black Holes and The Hellhound Hepcats?
I suppose they tolerate my quirky nature and playlist for the chance to hear the greats like Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard.
Then again, Greg often praises the show and says that a local farmer would gladly sponsor it, if sponsorship was a possibility. Which it isn’t because WRSG doesn’t sell ads.
I should also thank Rockin’ Rod West, who became the program director at 97.7 a few years ago and returned Johnny to the local airwaves.
I am truly grateful to be rocking Simcoe County and Tyler County.
Middelbourne looks like a charming little town and if Greg is any indication, a friendly one. Maybe I’ll make it there someday but, if not, it’s wonderful to be part of their weekly entertainment in some small way.
Note: as of Dec. 31, 2015 RTDS suspended its operation, due to new US copyright rules. Many internet stations could shut down because of this dramatic rise in the cost of song royalty payments.