Bill Hower's Music Box
For almost 23 years on Friday nights, Bill Hower has been hosting his Music Box program on WRDV-FM (89.3) from their studio in Hatboro, Pa. His program is a specialty program on the station. The weekday programs are Big Band and music from the 30's, 40's and 50's. The weekend lineup includes Rock and Doo Wop. As a specialty program, he supplies his own music material.
Bill Hower's Music Box plays what is known as Beautiful Music which was heard on around 1,000 stations in the U.S. (Remember EZ101, WWSH, and others?). Well, there are only a dozen of these stations still operating in the U.S.
Most of his collection began life as 33-1/3 albums that he later transferred to CD. Considering the number of albums, this is something he wouldn't want to do over again, although he still does other additions from time to time.
He has nearly 100 albums that haven't made the switch to CD. There are over 16,000 selections on his Excel spreadsheet, which is not his complete collection and came from various sources including: items he had as a youth, items purchased after starting his show, items donated and rummage and yard sales. Among the items purchased are albums from a former Beautiful Music in Cleveland which ended up at Zern's Market in Gilbertsville.
The process of transferring to CD is time consuming. There is a computer program that separates the tracks, but was found not always accurate, so done manually. Unlike the CD's that can be purchased, the tracks don't have the tracks embedded in the vinyl, so there is manual computer work to be done. (You must play the record to make a CD.)
After 23 years, much of the initial preparation is done, but a weekly program still needs to be prepared; this includes selection, typing up the program, and other routines before and after each program. And then there is doing the show. The first 17 years, Hower's show ran until 2 a.m., after triple bypass reduced his time to 3 hours, he starts the overnight computer at 1 a.m.
WRDV-FM is a volunteer-based radio station that is described as “20 century nostalgia” because of its music selections. In early September, the station added WTHA 88.1, in Berlin, NJ and a translator, 105.7 in Lansdale. WRDV-FM can also be heard on WLBS-FM 91.7 in Bristol/Levittown and translators in Philadelphia at 107.3 and Bensalem at 97.1. Listeners are also able to tune in on the WRDV-FM website.