Company Profile

Friends of WWOZ Inc.

Company Overview

Friends of WWOZ, Inc. operates WWOZ 90.7 FM and WWOZ.org and is a listener-supported, volunteer-powered, not-for-profit community radio station based in New Orleans.

WWOZ’s mission is to promote and preserve the musical heritage and the indigenous culture of Louisiana and to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage. WWOZ aspires to ensure that the music of Louisiana can be accessed and embraced worldwide as the raw expression of the vibrant, creative people who live in the region.

Our programs and services not only benefit our listeners and website visitors, but also benefit Louisiana musicians, culture bearers, youth, businesses, and a host of community organizations.

Company History

WWOZ went on the air in 1980 as the result of years of hard work from dedicated volunteers and music lovers, led by Jerry and Walter Brock. Originally, WWOZ was headquartered above Tipitina’s music club, and started broadcasting live performances simply by lowering a microphone into the club through a hole in the floor. The Brock brothers founded WWOZ on the values of community engagement and cultural advocacy, and established the Nora Blatch Education Foundation to administrate WWOZ’s FCC license as well as its financial and legal affairs.

In 1984, WWOZ moved its operations to Louis Armstrong Park in the historic Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. In 1986, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation agreed to help create Friends of WWOZ, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation, to serve as the owner and administrator of the station’s license. Since that time, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation has been the guarantor of WWOZ’s operational and financial stability.

WWOZ was an early adopter of new media, and in 1995, WWOZ became one of the very first community radio stations in the U.S. to live-stream its programming on the internet. WWOZ’s ability to adopt emerging technology has allowed the station to expand its listenership to a worldwide audience. Currently, 55% of our listenership resides outside the State of Louisiana.

In August 2005, WWOZ was forced out of Louis Armstrong Park and off the airwaves by the flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina. WWOZ resumed broadcasting in late October 2005, thanks to generous contributions from our loyal listeners, other community radio stations in the U.S., and especially thanks to Louisiana Public Broadcasting, who lent WWOZ the use of their New Orleans-based transmitter.

In July 2008, WWOZ relocated permanently to the French Quarter, in a building on the levee, where we still reside. Between 2008 and 2015, WWOZ has grown from a staff of six to 18 full-time employees, thanks to our listenership and the generous support we receive from entities such as the Louisiana Division of the Arts.

In 2014, WWOZ installed a 100,000-kilowatt transmitter, extending our broadcast area along the Gulf Coast. WWOZ is now the most powerful non-profit community radio station in Louisiana.

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