Coming into the radio business under the mentoring of his uncle, Odes Robinson, a broadcast engineer for a large station in Charleston, WV, Gene became PD and chief engineer for Clearwater’s WTAN. In 1959, he and co-worker Chuck Adams left the station and founded another Clearwater station, 500-watt WAZE with its four-tower transmitter site on U.S. 19. The new operation’s offices and studios were set up in the Gray Moss Inn on Fort Harrison Boulevard and programming featured a music format of easy listening and jazz.
Robinson’s daughter, Clearwater attorney Lorrie Robinson, says that Chuck Adams told her that they were very open about their aspirations with Denny Parker, WTAN’s owner, who believed they world never pull it off. She added that they were just a couple of regular guys, clearly very capable ones, but still just regular guys who combined their talents to achieve their dream of building a radio station.
In the early 70’s, WAZE began promoting live concerts in the Fort Harrison Hotel ballroom, bringing in big name jazz artists like Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, The Four Freshmen, Duke Ellington, and Harry James. These concerts were extremely successful and eventually led to the establishment of the Clearwater Jazz Festival. When the two radio partners sold the station to former Pittsburgh deejay Carl Marcocci in 1974, Robinson left the broadcast industry, but was always a broadcaster at heart.
Gene Allen Robinson passed away in St. Petersburg in 1987.
1957 - 1959 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Engineering)
1959 - 1974 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)