A Mount Airy radio station that has occupied the local airwaves for 67 years is expanding to a worldwide audience today by going online.
An Internet streaming launch by WSYD-AM is scheduled at 1 p.m. during an all-request program of the station, “You Name It, I’ll Spin It,” which is hosted by Brack Llewellyn.
That show has been part of the lineup for the local station for at least 50 years and, along with other WSYD programming, is representing a merger with modern technology through an online presence rooted firmly in the past.
WSYD, located at 1300 on the AM dial, and as of this afternoon also can be accessed online at www.wsyd1300.com, specializes in music from the Fifties to the Eighties.
“With a good mix of beach music and pop oldies,” station owner Kelly Epperson added Tuesday regarding its offerings.
“Just good listening music, and what a lot of us grew up with,” he said.
Many stations have ventured online — including WSYD’s sister station in Mount Airy, WPAQ, which did so in 2007. This has resulted in an array of outlets with rock, country, talk and other standard formats — with few stations managing to stick out from the crowd.
However, this is not true with WPAQ, boasting a traditional mountain music format, and WSYD, which is joining its fellow station in providing something “not available anywhere else,” Epperson said.
“We just felt like it was the right time,” he said of taking WSYD online.
When the station first went on the air in 1951, it featured popular music of that period, including Big Band sounds and classic solo artists such as Frank Sinatra and Patti Page. One special event WSYD carried during its first year was the World Series.
In the decades afterward, the station shifted to country and gospel formats.
In 2011, after the Epperson family bought WSYD, the decision was made to go to an oldies makeup including much of the same music originally played on the station in the 1950s through the 1970s.
“We’re trying to stick to a format that no one else is still doing,” explained Epperson, who, for example, does not know of another commercial station playing music from the 1950s anymore.
In addition to its regular oldies content, WSYD offers special weekly programs dedicated to Motown, beach and 1970s music. Local religious programming and gospel music also is featured on Sundays until 2 p.m.
“The blend of music that we play is certainly a reflection of how it used to be on WSYD back in the earlier days,” Epperson said. “I think this is a reflection of how radio was meant to be — something with personality.”
The ability to stream the station on the Internet will allow listeners outside this area to access the oldies music from anywhere, along with Mount Airy High School sports, local news and many features that the station does throughout the year.
This includes coverage of downtown parades and other events.
Epperson believes WSYD’s collective presence will be embraced by outside audiences.
“We see this as an opportunity to further the message of Mount Airy to the world and what all we have to offer here.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.