Y-100: Is truly one of America's great modern contemporary radio stations. The 100.7 frequency was first occupied by WMFP and was owned by Percy Crawford. Percy was one of the original televangelists. He had a national TV program called Youth on the March, every Saturday evening. The program featured his entire family; Dick, Dan, Don, Dean and Donna Lee. I worked for Percy when the station first came on the air in the WFTL transmitter building on SE 15th street in Fort Lauderdale. The tower was the WFTL AM tower and the station had 56,000 watts, full Class C. This was in the early 60's. The station did not do well and was eventually offered to me for $46,000. As a young guy that was not possible, thus it was sold to Anderson-Brandel, a Chicago real estate and hotel investment company. The original manager, Bob Brooks was named the manager for the new station to be named WMJR in 1963.
Several hundreds of thousands of dollars was spent outfitting this new station with the best equipment RCA had at the time. BC-7 Audio Consoles, RCA 77DX Microphones, BA-6 Limiters, QRK turntables, and we did have Fairchild Limiters and Fairchild Conax processors, Presto 800 and 625 Tape machines. The station was located on Sunrise Blvd across from the movie theater near the inter-coastal waterway. I was named the Chief Engineer to build this wonderful new facility. What a treat to have all this great new equipment and to design a stereo FM station from the ground up. Unfortunately, the expenses were extremely high at the Sunrise location. We then moved the entire operation to a new building at the corner of Federal Highway and Oakland Park Blvd. This space was very small 1,000 sq feet and in a round building to make the construction even more difficult. The company hired a new Sales Manager, Bob Roberts, who quickly became the station manager. Bob did great from the beginning and with the reduced expenses the station was off and running as a successful enterprise.
Eventually, Anderson-Brandel realized that the profits they were used to making were not as large as they were looking for in an investment this size, therefore, they decided to sell the station. They offered it to me for $150,000. The CPA, Vernon Kane, made the offer to me. I told him there was no way I could come up with that kind of money. He said, "Ron, it's not how much it costs, it's how much it costs a month". He structured an extremely attractive plan we could afford. He required that I make Bob Roberts our partner for 25%, which we did and Bob paid for his share. The deal: $25,000 down, interest only the first year, then a 10 year amortization with a balloon at the end of 5 years. One more feature, we could discount the note if we paid it off in 3 years by an additional $25,000, and we did. The great news was that we were buying $375,000 of hard assets and a business that had $10,000 a month in cash flow. I never knew who to thank; Vernon Kane for negotiating for both sides, or Harold Anderson and Paul Brandel for the generous gift. Yes, Nancy and I did mortgage our house to come up with the $25,000. Nancy's father told her I had lost my mind buying an FM station and got her to sign a stack of papers insulating her personally from any station liabilities. Oh, what fun it was to be a Pilgrim.
WMJR became our station: We further streamlined the operation by installing a Shafer 800 massive automation system. We operated (legally) 24/7 totally unattended using a telephone answering service who monitored the station and with their FCC licenses and took the readings every 30 minutes. That was Florida Radio Phone owned by Howard Hicks.
We operated with a small staff including; Jean Sceurman, our business manager, Jack Ivan, Ed Pancost, and Chip Green in sales. Over the years we had Bea Wayne and Andre Baruch live in the morning and Alan Grant doing Jazz in the evenings. The station was mostly automated. All the taped music was selected and recorded by me. We did well in the ratings and business was good. Bob Roberts did a great job of running the station and making it profitable. He liked to tell people WMJR stood for "We Make Jews Rich." It was OK for Bob to say this since he was Jewish, but not me the Christian. During our business life, Bob and I had a pact early on. Our families never socialized together. He said if your wife gets mad at my wife you and I will have a problem. That worked well for both of us. That was not a problem since the first year we owned the station I was the Sales Manager of Shafer Electronics in Chatsworth, California and traveled Monday-Friday. On weekends I made the music tapes for the station. In my spare time I built the first FM stereo station in the Republic of Panama with my business partner Betsy Cameron and our Panama partner Ray Guera. Betsy lived in Panama and ran that station and a background music business we built.
Bob Roberts came from an interesting musical family. His father was Allan Roberts, a music composer who wrote songs like, You Always Hurt the One You Love, In to Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall and Goodie Goodie. Bob grew up in New York and Beverly Hills. His father was always trying to get him to date Marilyn Monroe. Bob was extremely handsome, fit, and a scratch golfer. All our golfer sponsors would beg to play golf with him, hence many of our best clients were also golfers.
During the time we owned the station we increased the power to 100,000 watts and in 1969 we moved to a 1,049 Candelabra Tower located midway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. This tower was purchased by me and Joe Amaturo for $250,000 Bob Graff of Graff Aviation. Amaturo was a competitor of ours who owned 106.9; then WFTL FM. My 25% partner didn't like the idea of my becoming partners with Amaturo, but he, Bob Roberts, didn't want the liability of owning any part of the tower. That advice was given to him by our attorney Paul Koenig. The reason Amaturo and I became partners was because the tower deal was mine, but I couldn't afford to purchase it all myself and Amaturo needed the tower just as badly as we did. More on the tower on a separate page.
Bob Roberts approached me prior to going on his vacation and told me (not asked or discussed) but told me he wanted to own 50% of the station just as Nancy and I did. He further delivered an ultimatum, stating if that was not acceptable to me, when he returned from his vacation he was going to work for Don Owler who owned another station in town. I later discovered this was more or less advice given to him by his then attorney Paul Koenig.
During Bob's vacation I was approached by Cecil Heftel to purchase the station. I first told him it was not for sale. When he called the second time and offered me almost twice as much as the original offer $1,500,000, I said yes and signed the deal. When Bob returned I told him he could go to work for Don Owler. He was visibly shaken to the core. He didn't see the sale coming just as I didn't see his ultimatum coming. I was served with papers by his then best friend Paul Koenig demanding 50% of the tower and trying to block the sale. Heftel called me and said "no problem Ron you sell me your 75% for the same amount I offered you and Bob will find out what a bad partner really is". That never happened, Bob did sell along with me, not cheerfully. He briefly became the manager of the new Y100 for Cecil Heftel. Y-100 was born August 3, 1973.
That is not the end of the Ron Crider and Bob Roberts story only the end of chapter one. By the way it does have a happy ending. Read about Gulfstream Broadcasting on another page.
When Heftel purchased the station I had virtually nothing to do with it other than being the Y-100 landlord for the tower and transmitter site. Then a few years later Heftel sold Y-100 to Metorplex Communications, Norman Wayne and Bob Weiss.
Just prior to closing the deal Norman and Bob visited with me to discuss my relationship with Heftel. Their question was was how difficult was it to sell to Heftel since they were apparently having a tussle in the buying process from Heftel. The answer was, Heftel is one tough cookie to do a deal with, however, once done he was a man of his word and performed flawlessly.
Soon thereafter I became an engineering consultant with Norman and Bob and was once again back in the fold so to speak at Y-100 and the other Metroplex stations.
It was great to Watch Y-100 grow into an American Iconic legend station and knowing I was there from almost the beginning,