WILLIAMS, Ariz. - From the outside, it looks like just an ordinary shed. But inside, the building on the First Baptist Church property is home to KZBX 92.1 FM - Williams' low power community radio station.
Williams resident Leslie Stevens started the station about two months ago after a 40-year career in the radio business in Southern California, Phoenix and Tucson. KZBX plays music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
"We focus on long lost oldies, the stuff that people haven't heard before," he said.
Stevens moved to Williams about five years ago after retiring from the radio business. He was looking for a hobby when he found out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was allowing a select number of low power FM radio stations to start up.
"I sunk every dime, every nickel on just getting a license going," Stevens said.
Stevens already had some vintage radio equipment, which he rebuilt to get the station up and running. He also had to get some engineering work done to determine what kind of antenna to use. However, when Stevens got the go ahead from the FCC, he was on the air in about an hour. People can now tune in to KZBX as far as about 10 miles outside of town.
"We're just as good as the big boys, we're just on a smaller scale," he said.
Stevens said Williams hasn't had a community radio station in some time, and that every small town should have one.
"It's very important that we have a community radio station in this town because there was no way for most people to get traffic and weather updates as they happen," he said.
The station also informs people about Amber Alerts.
While Stevens announces community events on KZBX, the station does not sell advertising or make a profit.
"It's basically a big expensive hobby," he said. "I'm like a kid in a candy store."
Stevens usually does a radio show from 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. He also has a syndicated radio program, "The Route 66 Oldies Show," that plays on 350 radio stations around the world.
Besides Stevens, P.J. "the DJ" Messimer is KZBX's other radio personality. Her show, "As the Years go by," airs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. In addition to playing 60s and 70s music her son's music, Messimer conducts interviews. So far she's interviewed Mike Rioux with Hope for the World Ministry and Patrick O'Brien with O'Brien Auto Glass.
"It's kind of off the cuff with a few little questions I may have had ahead of time, but I'm really just bouncing off the person, so it's very casual," she said.
Messimer already had some radio experience from working as a DJ at her college radio station in Rochester, New York. She did that for two years before moving to California where she met her husband and started a family.
Then in 1991, Messimer took a radio broadcasting course at a California community college.
"This was when women were just coming into broadcasting on the radio and TV," she said. "(My professor) gave me a phone number of an LA station and he said, 'Talk to this guy, you've got a career ahead of you.'"
However, since she was raising her family, Messimer just accepted the compliment and put the opportunity on hold.
When she moved to Williams, Messimer's husband stumbled upon KZBX and started listening to it because he liked the music. After hearing Stevens promote local events, they realized he was broadcasting from Williams. Not long after, the Messimers ran into Stevens at a local restaurant and arranged for P.J. to try out her show.
With her kids grown, it was the perfect time for Messimer to get back into her radio hobby.
"Talking into the microphone and doing the music, really it's so natural, it just feels like it's part of my body," Messimer said.
Although the radio station is just getting started, Stevens said he has several ideas in the works.
First off, he is looking for more people who are interested in helping out with the station, either by hosting their own show or serving as the DJ. No experience is necessary.
"It's a community radio station, which means we are looking for people to actually come in and play their own music, be their own DJ, do their own thing," Stevens said. "They can play whatever they want to play, within reason obviously, and have fun with it. It's a fun station for the town."
Also in the future, Stevens would like to do live coverage of local events like car shows and rodeos, as well as high school sporting events.
"What's good about that is because if we're on the Internet, little Bobby's grandfather can listen to his kid play baseball on the Internet," Stevens said.
For now though, Stevens is just enjoying running the radio station and watching it develop.
"My main goal was to have fun with the radio station, have other people have fun, do traffic and weather and make people happy with the music," Stevens said.
More information about KZBX is available from Stevens at (928) 925-1675.