It all started back when I was in middle school and I was first exposed to broadcasting through television programs like "WKRP in Cincinnati."
The light bulb lit, and I started to experiment with electronics and radio, getting my first CB (an old Telstat 23 tube rig) and shortwave (an old Hallicrafters) from a trash heap. After tuning around awhile on shortwave, AM, FM, and then on the CB, I was hooked on radio. I started hanging around engineers and broadcast stations, then I entered high school and started hanging around the high school’s FM station, 90.5 WCVH. It's a low-power radio non comm station and is still there to this day; they even let me be on the air now and then.
Toward the end of high school, close to graduation, I got a Ramsey FM10 transmitter kit, which I built and connected to an FM antenna. The whole works was not very good, and this was the pre-internet and mp3 age, so I used turntables and cassettes as my audio sources. I ran on the low end of the educational FM band. I didn't run full time, obviously; automation was unavailable at the time and the range only covered a few houses, not even a city block.
Fast forward to about 15 years later, when most commercial radio stations started the analog-to-digital conversion. Many of these radio stations discarded their analog equipment, and the market started to get flooded with cheap and free analog broadcast gear stuff, like consoles, mics, tape decks, turntables, reel to reels, and audio processing. There was a treasure trove of quality analog broadcast equipment. After acquiring a transmitter and antenna, a pirate radio station was born.
I ran oldies in my small town for about a year before I got the visit from an FCC field agent. I got off with a NOV (notice of violation) and a suggestion that if I enjoy broadcasting, I should check out Part 15 of the FCC rules. And that began my adventures into legal, unlicensed, low-power broadcasting. A few weeks later, I got a real good deal on a transmitter; a Hamilton Rangemaster, Part 15 AM transmitter, and installed it near the creek that ran right through the middle of town. I happened to live right in the middle of town.
The whole town was only a couple miles long by about a mile wide, and was well suited for a Part 15 AM signal. After a while, I moved to Alabama, then to Colorado, and now Nebraska where I remain to this day. I took a hiatus from broadcasting for a few years until I moved to Denver. After settling into my new home, I restarted the station once again, running an oldies format that over the course of a few years has morphed into a variety hits station.
I grew up in central New Jersey and was able to receive stations from both New York and Philadelphia. I grew up listening to the music of WRKS, WOGL, WKTU, Z100, etc. I was exposed to a wide range of music, but I loved the big bands, oldies, and disco music that was played on many of the big city stations. About the mid-2000s, those formats began to die off, so I picked oldies as my format, which eventually morphed into my Variety 1560 AM. I now run what’s called a part 15.219 FCC Certified Hamilton AM 1000 Rangemaster free radiate transmitter, which is allowed under FCC rule 15.219 on 1560 in the apartment complex where I live. i also run 92.1 FM covering the same apartment complex which is covered under FCC rule part 15.239 using an FCC Certified Decade FM Transmitter in addition to our remote site operating on 1600 AM under FCC 15.219 being fed by a 900 MHz ISM Band Ethernet radio operating under 15.247.
To this day, I still run AM 1560 / AM 1600 / 92.1 FM under Part 15 of the FCC rules, cranking out variety hits to the apartment community I live in, and hopefully, I will do so for years to come. I hope someday a low-power AM service or GURL similar to New Zealand License Free LPFM is created by the FCC and I can have a radio station on one of those frequencies.