How about an East TN station in the early 2000's that was running about 200 watts, modulated mostly with hum. The totally blind manager played all music off cassettes which he notched so he could identify them. He told ASCAP and BMI that they only played public domain Gospel, which would have been a challenge for him since I don't think he notched the cassettes to mark which songs were actually copyrighted and he certainly couldn't read the labels. There was no heat or air in the building. When a preacher would come in, he would open a window in the preacher studio and stick a room air conditioner on top of some old Pepsi crates to cool that room off. In the winter the preachers just wore heavy overcoats on the air.
He didn't know he had pre-sunrise authority, so he signed on and off at the "standard" times on the license, not allowing for Daylight Savings Time. He ran full power all night with no legal ID's and when busted told the commission the FCC had called him and told him it was OK to do so. Had the inspector actually stopped by the station he could have written them up for another 30,000 or so worth of fines. The only reason they checked on him was because one of the station's harmonics was blowing up WWV several miles away where a ham was monitoring.
Fortunately some fool bought the station and it's doing much better now.
Sorry I'm a bit late chiming in. I haven't checked in on this forum in quite a while.
You're referring, I'm sure, to WRKQ Madisonville. The guy went by the nickname "Blind Man" and bugged the bejeebers out of me for a year before he got hold of that station! Yep, I ran 'RKQ for a while in 1999...and what a story it was.
The station was owned by a local realtor, Norman Lee, who I believe got the station in a real estate deal. He knew nothing about radio. At least two others before me tried to do an LMA on the station but Norman kept running them off. In February of '99 I decided to give WRKQ a try (obviously due to a bout with insanity as I had a pretty good gig doing mornings on WJSQ/WLAR in Athens.) I signed an "LMA" with Norman (which looked strangely like a standard real estate contract.) I also had an option to buy the station at some point in the future; more on that later.
When I first walked into the station only two things worked - the transmitter, and a 100 disc CD jukebox that someone had hard wired into the transmitter! Nothing else worked...nothing! So this 500 watt daytimer just sat there at full power 24 hours a day playing the same 100 CDs over and over again. Some were country, some rock, some oldies, and one disc featuring 10 different versions of "Rocky Top"! No IDs either. Sooooooo......I had my work cut out for me. Fortunately being a ham radio operator I have some technical experience. I fixed all the equipment I could and had an engineer friend do some necessary repairs to the transmitter (which sat right next to the control board - made cold days toasty!) Although it wasn't the format I had envisioned I was able to get running with satellite delivered programming and a live morning show (starring ME!) I also got a bunch of preachers who wanted radio shows and were willing to pay cash-up-front. They pretty well filled up the weekends and were my main source of income. I was also able to convince a few local businesses to run spots on the station. Many were a bit leery due to previous bad experiences with WRKQ but were kind enough to give me a try.
By August of 1999 I had taken the station from almost dark to being able to (mostly) pay its own bills. At this point Mr. Lee came to me and asked if I was going to exercise my option to buy the station. I told him it was just paying its own bills and not yet making any money. He basically told me if I wasn't going to buy the station then and there that I had 3 days to get out. Wow, was I shocked! But with no way to argue I called my advertisers to let them know what was happening, left the satellite on full time, gathered everything that was mine and went home. Later I found that a local businessman was snapping up small AMs around the Knoxville area to form a liberal talk radio network, and apparently had approached Norman about buying WRKQ. Hey, ca$h talks and you know what walks...
But there's a bit more to the story. About 3 weeks after I was shown the exit, Mr. Lee came to see me at my apartment. He said something to the effect of, "You did such a great job with the radio station that I thought you'd want to come back and run it again!" Uh-oh, looks like his big deal fell through! I said, "Look, Norman, I'm broke, the advertisers aren't coming back, and I think you need to find someone else to run your radio station." That was the last time I saw Norman Lee, may he rest in peace, and was the start of the "Blind Man" era of WRKQ.
By the way, the issues WRKQ had with WWV started even before I took it over. 'RKQ is on 1250 kHz, or 1.25 MHz. Therefore the first harmonic falls on 2.5 MHz. Guess who lives there? So if the filtering on that 1250 transmitter isn't dead on...Uncle Charlie's gonna want a word with you!