Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco's tiny WZPH radio to play millionth song in a row

As a boy, Doc Thayer would practice his radio DJ voice. Over and over, he'd cup his hands over his ears and speak in a smooth baritone, trying to mimic the voices of the radio jocks of his day. Radio became his first love.

These days Thayer, 61 — known to many as Dr. Dr. — runs The Zephyr 96.7 FM, a golden oldies station in Zephyrhills. The signals from the 100-watt station only reach a 15-mile radius, but the tiny broadcast operation is poised to make radio history.

On Saturday, the station will play its 1-millionth song in a row without commercial interruption.

In the six years Thayer has had the station, it has never aired a commercial. Ever.

Most radio stations thrive on paid advertisements and sponsorships, but WZPH simply blasts Elvis, the Beatles, Comets and Stones nonstop without earning a penny.

In fact, Thayer said he frequently turns down advertisement offers. Nonstop music helped build up WZPH's listenership.

"I love it because you don't have all those commercials," said Tom Petrucci, a doo-wop fan who lives in Zephyrhills. "(Thayer) has done something that no one has ever done."

Thayer has reached out to the folks at Guinness Book of World Records, but hasn't gotten a response. But that doesn't matter. He'll keep cranking out the tunes.

Thayer said he legally changed his name to Dr. Dr. years ago. He has a doctorate in education and teaches math at Land O'Lakes High School and moonlights as an online college statistics professor for DeVry University. He doesn't consider himself wealthy, but he amassed the $300,000 in savings he used to buy the station, and he uses his own money to keep it running.

A mobile home on Chauncey Road houses transmitters for WZPH-FM 96.7 Ed Cobb, a station volunteer and one of Thayer's close friends, listens online from his Seffner home. Thayer said he can run the station remotely by computer from his Land O'Lakes home, where he programs his smooth-voiced intros and rotates 10,000 "shuck-and-drive" songs all day and night. Each song that's been played so far is logged by computer. All 999,900 or so. Even when he's in the classroom teaching, the beat goes on.

Thayer is also a bodybuilder, and at local festivals he shows up in green body paint as his alter-ego "The Impressive Hulk" ("not 'Incredible,' just 'Impressive,' " he explains). He does weather forecast bits for other radio stations, too. His friends say radio is more than a hobby for him. It's his life.

"Radio builds ego," Thayer said. "I was a jock back in high school. I just wanted to be a star."

He has rounded up a few music stars for the station's big party Saturday at the Halloween Howl in Zephyrhills, including Bill Pascali (an original member of Steam who has played with Vanilla Fudge, The Young Rascals and 1910 Fruitgum Co.), AJ Correa (who has toured with Prince, Air Supply and KC and Sunshine Band) and Al Messina (who has played with Kool & the Gang and Sly and Family Stone).

About 9 p.m. they'll hit the 1-millionth song: Hidden Confusion, written and performed by Thayer's son, Richard Van Hart. Daughter Katie Thayer will provide the backup vocals, and if you listen closely, you'll hear Dr. Dr. Thayer on the congas.

You won't hear the song anywhere else.

>>Fast facts

If you go

WZPH-FM 96.7 will air its millionth song in a row without commercials about 9 p.m. Saturday. The station will celebrate at the Halloween Howl festival, which runs from 4 to 9 p.m. on Fifth Avenue in downtown Zephyrhills. The festival will also include safe trick-or-treating, games, a haunted house and live entertainment. For more about the event, contact Main Street Zephyrhills at (813) 780-1414, e-mail mszi@verizon.net or visit mainstreetzephyrhills.org. For information on WZPH, call Thayer at (813) 948-3629 or e-mail drdrdocthayer@gmail.com.

Pasco's tiny WZPH radio to play millionth song in a row 10/21/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 21, 2010 9:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ex-intelligence chief Clapper questions Trump's fitness to hold office (w/video)

    National

    James R. Clapper Jr., former national intelligence director, questioned President Donald Trump's fitness for office following his freewheeling speech in Phoenix Tuesday night, which Clapper labeled "downright scary and disturbing."

    James R. Clapper Jr., former national intelligence director, questioned President Donald Trump's fitness for office following his freewheeling speech in Phoenix Tuesday night, which Clapper labeled "downright scary and disturbing." [Associated Press]
  2. E Fletcher Avenue may be closed weeks for cavern repairs

    Roads

    Commuters near the University of South Florida will want to find alternate routes with work continuing to repair a "cavern" under E Fletcher Avenue near the Hillsborough River.

     Commuters near the University of South Florida will want to find alternate routes with work continuing to repair a "cavern" under E Fletcher Avenue near the Hillsborough River. [10News WTSP]
  3. Pasco eyes favoring local vendors for county business

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Pasco commissioners want to give a leg up to local businesses bidding on county government contracts.

    "It's an economic driver. We owe it to the folks to keep money here, keep jobs here,'' said Pasco Commissioner Mike Wells Jr. about a proposed local preference purchasing ordinance.
  4. Insurance regulators fret over a spike in auto glass claims

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — Three months ago, state regulators weren't tracking a surge in broken auto glass claims, particularly in Tampa Bay.

    The issue has their attention now.

    The Office of Insurance Regulation is taking on assignment of benefits abuse in the 2018 legislative session. Pictured is Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. | [Times file photo]
  5. Rick Baker lowers expectations before St. Pete mayoral primary

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker officially lowered expectations in the mayoral race on Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Baker has consistently led in local polls and fundraising totals this summer. But at a fundraiders …

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday