DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

JohnFM Streamin’ Beach, Boogie, Blues & Jazz

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on January 29, 2009

I couldn’t be happier that JohnFM is now streaming on the Web at http://www.johnfm.net. According to station owner John Broomfield, WWJN, better known as 104.9 John FM began streaming its beach, boogie, blues and jazz tunes to the world in November 2008. The format is what attracted me to John FM, but until now I could only catch a signal on a road trip down to the Hilton Head/Savannah area.There’s a real depth to the station’s programming. Every time I tune in to this station, there’s some great old soul song playing or a blues shuffle I’ve never heard.

It’s early beach music, from the obscure to the classic – pieces like “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had” by Muddy Waters or “Hamhocks” by Big Joe Maher; oh, and “Baby What You Want Me To Do” from Jimmy Reid (I love Jimmy Reid); the early Dominoes; Big Joe and the Dyna-Flows and so many more.

If you’re familiar with the Carolinas, you know what I’m talking about. It’s early beach music, from the obscure to the classic – pieces like “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had” by Muddy Waters or “Hamhocks” by Big Joe Maher; oh, and “Baby What You Want Me To Do” from Jimmy Reid (I love Jimmy Reid); the early Dominoes; Big Joe and the Dyna-Flows and so many more.

The distinctive format is a reflection of efforts by both John and Pat Patterson, who actually provides the programming for John FM. Both men are longtime lovers of early soul and beach artists. In a telephone interview, John Broomfield said, “It isn’t syndicated format. The music is all selected. I had music from my previous beach music station in Columbia, South Carolina, Magic 93.1. We played beach, boogie, and blues. My very good friend, the late Eddie “EZ” Zomberfield, was the DJ; he helped me get it up and running. In fact, we used to do a live broadcast from Ducks during SOS.

“This format is a spin-off of that one with the exception … I wanted to appeal to a broader base, so we added blues but still within the beach category.” Pat says, “My musical influence comes from the early soul artists. When I was in high school my favorite music was from the late 50s and 60s. Artists like William Bell, Rufus Thomas, Otis Redding, The Mar-Keys, Eddie Floyd and Sam and Dave.

“My favorite music is the old soul and rhythm and blues. I try to collect music from that era but it is hard to find. That is why two of my favorite collections are the complete Stax Volt singles collection from 1959 to 1968. I also have a Chess Records Decade Of Soul collection. I don’t care if they are 45s, albums, or 33s, if I can get them I will take them all. “I have trying to collect music since I was in high school and it never seems to be enough. I always run into that request that I don’t have. Since being a mobile DJ, I have had to broaden my music. Now I can cover from the 50s to today’s top 40. I have even been able to throw a polka in when I needed to.”
In addition to handling programmer chores, Pat also hosts the afternoon drivetime, Pat Patterson’s Beach Party, Monday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. AND the Low Country Boil (wife Robin came up with this apt show title) on Saturdays, noon until 4 p.m. For sister station Sunny 103.5 in Greenwood, S.C., Pat DJs The Beat of the Beach on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and The Sunny Beach Party on Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m.

“I purchased the station two years ago,” John told me,“ but didn’t put the format on until about six months later. I started off playing just Christmas music [November 2006]; then I played straight jazz. Then I figured out the format.”

Listener comments, emails and the numbers all indicate that the format is a success. Pat told me,”I had an email last week from the president of the Hardeeville Chamber of Commerce saying this was the best format he’s heard.”

Listener reaction to streaming has been very positive. Listener comments in the website’s guestbook rave about both the station and DJs. The numbers for December 2008 report 2,542 with an average listening time of 149 minutes. John FM has also received a 2 share for the first Arbitron book and an overall rating of 1.8.

Pat went on to tell me, “We’re really happy with the response to the streaming. In fact, it was a low-key thing. We didn’t promote it beyond telling listeners during the shows and announcing
the website address.”

Until now, I haven’t heard Pat much on the radio. Instead, I’ve enjoyed him at events like the Charleston Beach Music Festival and during the Southern Soul entertainment series last year at the O.D. Beach Club. But I didn’t know a whole lot about him wanted to find out more about his background:

“I grew up in McCormickk , S.C.,” Pat tells me, “where I lived for 44 years until I met and married my beautiful wife, Robin. I served on City Council in McCormick for 18 years and also served as mayor pro tem.

“Also during my years in McCormick I served as Fire Chief. And, as Robin always reminds me, when we met I was working as a Nationally Registered Critical Care Paramedic for Greenwood County and now I am a DJ!

“I am the youngest of three. I have a older brother who lives in Lexington, S.C. and a older sister who lives in Greenwood. I lost both of my parents to cancer.

“One of my first DJ jobs was at my high school Long Cane Academy in McCormick. I started to volunteer to be the DJ at our school dances and that is when I got the bug. I never will forget that first job. I had two turntables and a box of 45s and albums, my how times have changed. I also played the drums at that time with a band called Southern Comfort. I have played for The Backwater Beach Band; Fresh Air, out of Columbia, S.C. and for four years I played for Hack Bartley in Hack Bartley and Visions.

“One of my most memorable experiences as a DJ has been to be nominated for Club and Mobile DJ and FM Radio DJ for four years in a row. Although I have not won the award itself, I feel that I am a winner just by being nominated; it is an honor to me.

“There was also the memorable wedding reception I did. Over an hour had gone by and the bride and groom had not yet shown up. Finally the bride comes rushing to my to me hands me a CD and says, ‘Play our first dance.’ I give them a grand introduction and they start to dance and I notice tension between the two. After about a minute into their first song the bride catches the groom with a mean right hook that buckled his knees!!! The rest is history, and after a mini brawl the reception was over. That was one for the scrap book.

“Most of my mobile DJ jobs come from word of mouth and from my website: http://www.djpatpatterson.net. I hope that in the future my territory will expand.”

In telling me about himself, Pat changed the subject often to his boss, John Broomfield. “Hats off to John,” he says. “I admire how he pays so much attention to the people who listen to the music. He’s a dancer … a very good dancer, active in the shag club events. He’s part of the community, not just the owner of a station. His contact with people is on a personal level, not just business. In fact, he brings a personal touch to the business that you just don’t see very often.”

If you’d like to check out the streaming beach, boogie, blues and jazz from John FM, log onto http://www.johnfm.net and click on the Warp Radio link.

Here’s the weekly lineup:
Monday – Friday
7 a.m.-Noon The Fez
Noon-1 p.m. Lunch At John’s
4 p.m.-9 p.m. Pat Patterson’s Beach Party
Saturday
12 noon – 4 p.m. Pat Patterson’s Low Country Boil
6 p.m.-9 p.m. On The Beach with Charlie Brown
Sunday
8 a.m.-12 noon The Sunday Morning Jazz Brunch
with Dave Fezler
John Broomfield, owner of John FM. DJ Pat Patterson
Station History
A little history is in order here. With stations changing format and call letters on a moment’s notice, it’s hard to keep track. According to a piece in online reference, Wikipedia, “104.9 signed on as WXRY-FM in 1985. The station changed call signs to WZBZ in 1988, then in 1990 as WSHG, “Shag FM.” In 1997, Shag FM moved its format to what was then WHBZ (now WXST) and became the original home of The Gator, while modern rock WWVV was on 106.9.
“WWVV was owned and operated by Triad Broadcasting, known locally as Adventure Radio (the name of the company that owned WWVV before Triad), as Triad did not want to scare off potential advertisers and/or listeners by announcing new station owners. WWVV and six other stations were bought by Triad in May 2000.” to a beach music station in 1990 as WSHG, “Shag FM.” In 1997, Shag FM moved its format to what was then WHBZ (now WXST) and became the original home of The Gator, while modern rock WWVV was on 106.9.
“WWVV was owned and operated by Triad Broadcasting, known locally as Adventure Radio (the name of the company that owned WWVV before Triad), as Triad did not want to scare off potential advertisers and/or listeners by announcing new station owners. WWVV and six other stations were bought by Triad in May 2000.”

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