Columbus mom and pop radio station bounces back following the pandemic

Pandemic Postcards

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Flipping through the radio dial.

“You’re listening to CD 92.9,” the disc jockey declares.

“I’m a mom and pop radio station,” owner Randy Malloy shares. “We’re one of the rarest of the rare in the country.”

In radio for more than 30 years, Randy Malloy thought he’d seen it all. Then came the state shutdown in March of 2020.

“We pretty much sent everybody home and pretty much figured out how to broadcast remotely,” Malloy remembers. “We had to. We had no choice.”

It got really spooky on Halloween when 102.5 went off the air when the station’s license agreement was up. Again, no choice but to go off the air and onto the internet.

Malloy was able to keep all of his employees on the payroll – no layoffs and no one quit.

After three weeks online, an offer came to get back on air and move down the dial. From 102.5 to 92.9.

What do you do?

“I need a new logo, new social media because we’re going to be on the air in two weeks.” Malloy remembers.

“You kind of thrive in chaos,” NBC 4’s Brad Johansen said.

Malloy’s bellowing laugh filled the room. “Yes!”

“When we went back on the air again to see this overwhelming support from people, how excited they were and say, ‘Look, we matter.’ It really yanked at the heartstrings,” he added.

And his heart was hurting after losing his program director and afternoon drive jockey, Mase Brazell, to sepsis last June. Malloy himself caught COVID-19 in March, three days for his first vaccination appointment.

“CD 101, CD 102, CD 92.9, the frequency changes but the number that matters never does, #1! We’re still the best radio station 30 years later,” Malloy said, raising his index finger emphatically in the air.

He admits 92.9 is not thriving, but it is surviving. In his mind, there’s no choice: The show must go on.

And, If the bones are good, the rest doesn’t matter.

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