Back in 1955 when Tom was still in high school, he began his radio career at WIPC in Lake Wales doing the station’s fishing report for Crooked Lake. That led to going around school getting dedications from classmates and playing their requests on his show in the afternoons after school, and running the Sunday morning gospel show. Except for a four year stretch in the Air Force stationed in Japan where he worked with Armed Forces Radio and did news in English for a Japanese television network, Tom worked for WIPC for 28 years, eventually becoming the station’s General Manager.
After surviving three ownership changes during those 28 years, Tom saw a fourth on the horizon and, in 1984, decided that it was time to head out on his own. About that same time, WPUL in Bartow came on the market. Tom saw an ad for the station in a broadcast magazine and, that very night, he and his wife, Susan, went over and negotiated a deal with the owner to buy the station.
The first thing the couple did when they took over was to change the call letters to WWBF, set up a Lite Contemporary music format (later it turned to Oldies), and launch an aggressive community-involved commitment to Bartow and surrounding areas. For more information about the station itself, see WWBF - A History in the Who’s Who section of Other Polk County Stations.
Tom is also President of Thornburg Communications, Inc., which, in addition to WWBF, also owns On Hold, a company that produces and maintains music and on-hold message systems for business phones nationwide.
Today (2005) Tom co-hosts the morning show. His wife, Susan, whom he met while in Japan (her father was stationed there, too), serves as the company’s Business Manager, and their son, Jeff, is the station’s Chief Engineer and host of the popular WBF Shopper program each morning. A second son, David, chose his career outside of the radio business.
1955 - 2005 Other Polk County Stations (On Air Personality)
1955 - 2005 Other Polk County Stations (Sales)
1968 - 2005 Other Polk County Stations (Management)