WWOZ is one of the city’s more outstanding cultural success stories, and is one of the better-financed non-profits, which has allowed it to continue to expand its operations.
Radio station WWOZ was located for years in tiny decrepit building in Armstrong Park and moved into a 3300-square-foot space on the second floor of 1008 North Peters in the French Market.
But the station itself and personnel have grown exponentially; WWOZ is reportedly set to sign a lease to expand its operations into not one, but two locations in the French Market District. The station will occupy space on the first floor of Building C (1000 North Peters, formerly occupied by the lobby to Gálvez Restaurant) to house a production facility along with a broadcast room for their secondary radio stations, membership services and a location for community and sponsor outreach. WWOZ will also take over another small 250 square feet in their current location, for an expansion of roughly 1,750 square feet.
I’m thrilled that the station is expanding, but I’m someone who misses the old-time WWOZ that was more community-based. Does anyone reading this remember when the volunteer programmers/deejays were folks like Ernie K-Doe, Big Mama, Billy Delle, the Duke ‘a Paducah, Brown Sugar, Davis Rogan, Don and Millie Vappie, Reddy Teddy, Bob French, Michael Dominici, and so many more? Some are no longer with us, but it seems to me that while the music is being played, a lot of the station’s quirkiness, personality and roots in the New Orleans community aren’t there anymore. Which is too bad, but inevitable, I suppose, since some of the old timers have passed away, and the newcomers aren’t necessarily local anymore. They’re music lovers for sure, but somehow they don’t move me the way their predecessors did.
I miss the old days. If you didn’t experience them, well, you won’t understand. Maybe with the addition of some station programming, we’ll get of dat New Awlins grit back.