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Art Millman

Art was born in Poughkeepsie, New York and graduated from Boston University in 1953 with a degree in radio & television. Afterwards, he worked at WBMS in Boston and a station in Philadelphia.

In the 1950's, he wrote and produced a radio show in Boston called “Memories of the Big Time.” In each episode, he took listeners through a different slice of music and life from the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's. While one episode might focus on the Roaring 20's, others might cover the Zigfield Follies and the big bands. The format was music but also included stories about the entertainers and events of the era.

By the mid 1950's he had landed his dream job with CBS News in New York under his hero, Edward R. Murrow. However, a few years later his father became ill, and he moved back to Poughkeepsie to run the family furniture store.

Nostalgia radio was always Art’s passion, so he continued writing and hosting "Memories of the Big Time" as a weekly show on a station in Poughkeepsie. He recorded the show on reel-to-reel tape from a small studio in the back of the furniture store, using his own record collection and equipment. For most of the 1960's, he was billed as "Poughkeepsie's Youngest Old Timer" and produced and hosted the show himself.

In 1969, he (and Bob Beckwith) bought St. Pete Beach’s WILZ which, at that time, broadcasted from studios at Port O' Call on Tierra Verde, and aired a (no surprise!) nostalgia format featuring music of the 1920's, 30's and 40's. The station’s transmitter site was located near 38th Street and 38th Avenue South.

The plan was to attract listeners from the many retirees living in the Tampa Bay area. Occasional nostalgia artists who appeared as live guests on WILZ included George Jessel, Elmo Tanner, Hal Peary (of radio’s “The Great Gildersleeve”) and Gene Autry’s sidekick, Pat Buttram, as well as some big band leaders. Art also hosted his "Memories of the Big Time" radio show. One year at Halloween, the station aired Orson Welles’ original 1938 radio play "The War of the Worlds." A number of people called the station to find out if the Martian invasion was really happening, and a couple even called the police.

WILZ had reasonably good ratings, but many advertisers weren't very interested, claiming the older age bracket didn't spend money like teens and young adults. Another factor that worked against it was that it was a one-kilowatt daytimer way up the radio dial on 1590. To try and make the station a success, the music format switched to oldies in 1973 and the operation moved from Port O’ Call to the transmitter site to save money.

Finally, in 1976, Art sold WILZ to Rolyn Broadcasting, which changed the format and calls to urban contemporary WRXB, and spent the next few years syndicating radio shows and talk radio talent. He retired in the 1990's and passed away at the age of 77 in 2009.

Station History

1969 - 1976 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)

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