WNZF was Flagler County's first commercial broadcasting facility.
WNZF NewsRadio celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a party on Tuesday, May 1, at the station.
Ron Charles, the news and technical director for WNZF, was there when the station was just an idea.
WNZF was the first commercial broadcast station in Flagler County. In addition, Flagler was the last of the 67 counties in Florida to have a commercial broadcast facility. It all started with one station. Now, there are five stations, including Beach 105.5, Kool 100.9, Beach 92.7 and Kix Country 98.7. A sixth station, a country station in St. Augustine, is on the way.
“It was a great opportunity to start from the ground up,” Charles said. “And we’ve been growing ever since.”
There were challenges, however. The station was founded in the midst of an economic downturn: when the housing market crashed and jobs became scarce.
“Business-wise, we were kind of biting our nails trying to get the bills paid,” Charles said. “We did nothing but take root and grow at a furious pace, and that’s thanks to the listenership and the community embracing having their own broadcast facility.”
The key, according to General Manger David Ayres, was to be as good as the national stations but still serve the community. Ayres said the station says “yes” to everybody in order to give local voices a chance of being heard.
“That’s what we do,” Ayres said. “We plug into the local community and give them access to the airwaves. Anybody that has a cause in the community, we give them airtime. We like local voices on so people can hear their family, their friends, neighbors, teammates.
“People are connected to it.”
Tuesday’s event, located at 2405 E. Moody Blvd. in Bunnell, featured food catered by Matanzas High School culinary arts students, prizes, live music and a live broadcast.
“This is really a thank you to the community, the business people, the community leaders,” Ayres said. “The people have always supported us on everything.”