On Tuesday, he and his three co-owners-children Kathy, Jim and Lori-marked the anniversary by announcing they are once again adding FM broadcasting.
According to Kunze, WTCA Am & FM as Community Service Broadcasters will be broadcasting the same program at am1050 and FM 106.1. They sold their former FM station in March, 2012 to Douglas Road Radio in Mishawaka.
Kunze said the FM broadcasting will reach the same area, but will not fade out at night and will provide better quality for sports events.
Kunze’s interest in radio started when he was just a kid. He said, “I was always building radios and playing around with them.” He received formal training in the technology of radio at the Valparaiso Radio School. He used that training in his three and a half years with the Merchant Marines as a radio operator on ships. Kunze said he went to 20 different countries during his service years.
He said, “I then worked as an engineer at stations Port Huron, MI, Van Wert, OH, and Snyder, OH before my wife, Jeanne, convinced me to start our own station. It took a year after getting a construction permit in 1963 when he was 41, to broadcasting on August 19, 1964.
Kunze credits Jeanne, who passed away in 1996, for much of the success of the station. He kiddingly said, “We were short of help and she worked cheap.” In addition to keeping the station’s books and other duties, Jeanne had a weekday live show called “This n’ That“. Kunze said, “She talked about anything and everything people wanted to hear or talk about.” Their daughter Kathy, who is now the station’s general manager, has kept the tradition hosting the “What’s Your Opinion” morning call-in show Monday through Friday.
Their son Jim formerly managed Oldies 94.3 and now serves as a co-host for the Opinion Show and announcer. He also provides technical support. Kunze said all three of their children started working at the station when they were young doing everything from sweeping floors to learning how it all works.
Kunze said he knew a great deal about the technology of running a station when he started on his own, but depended on program mangers to choose the music they played. “At first it was on LP records, then on 45’s, and now on CD’s and other sources.”
The station will play the Best Hits of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and should be on the air within the next week or two.
Carol Anders Correspondent