It all began in a 10×50 mobile home, with a 207 foot tower in 1958. WWIS Radio first went on the air on AM1260 on Saturday, August 23, 1958 from the Grandstand of the Jackson County Fair and was the first radio station in the county.

According to an article written by the late Betty Epstein for the Banner Journal, Harley Samuels of Marshfield and president of the Clarkwood Broadcasting Corp. stated it would be the first station in Wisconsin, and possible in the country, to be housed in a mobile home. The home of WWIS Radio at that time housed a studio 10×12 ft and stored 15,000 recordings according to Walter Boller, then general manager, chief engineer and announcer. Arlie Davison was program manager, and Robert Benedict was announcer-salesman. The reception area was 10×16 ft and operated by Mrs Clarence Williams.

From a small AM station in a trailer house in Brockway, to adding 99.7 FM and a translated version of AM1260 to the FM dial on 105.3, one thing has remained the same. The local, community station vibe. Whether you tune into the Buyline in the morning, or a high school game at night, you know the faces and names of the staff of WWIS Radio.

WWIS Radio Inc has been the area’s local community radio station for 65 years, and has created well known personalities inlcluding; Nelson Lent, Dick Deno, Josh Donavan, Tony Hart, Gabby Gabrielson and Mary Gerdes to name a few.

In 1968, Robert and Dorothy Smith fell in love with the Black River Falls area and purchased the station. When Robert and Dorothy passed, the business stayed in the Smith Family, and Dan Smith of Minnesota took ownership in 2019. The station was owned by the Smith Family for over 55 years.

Three locations, and three stations. That’s pretty incredible! Clarkwood Broadcasting, Marianne McDonald, the Smith Family and now “G&G Media Services LLC” will become the owners of this bit of the community and history of the Black River Country. G&G Media Services, LLC. Is made up of partners, Mary & Tom Gerdes and Robert “Gabby” & Cheryl Gabrielson.

Over the years, Robert Smith’s family stated that if they were to ever sell the station, they would want to offer it to the employees first. Dan Smith, in keeping with his father’s wishes, approached Mary and Gabby in early May, as he had made the decision to transition out the of the station’s ownership. With little hesitation, negotiations began, and in August, G&G Media Services LLC. was born. An offer for the purchase of the station, located on Town Creek Road, outside of Black River Falls was accepted in August.

Mary and Tom, along with Gabby and Cheryl are excited to bring the ownership of the station locally and look forward to continuing to work with clients and listeners, to bring a product we can all be proud of. Gerdes states “We don’t really plan on changing a lot. Bob Smith definitely had a good thing going, and we would like to continue to make him proud as he looks down on us, just as his son Dan has.”

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