HARTSVILLE, S.C.— Classic rock lovers have a station to hear their favorite jams played all day every day in Hartsville.
WSMZ 98.5, a station only for Hartsville residents, plays a combination of old school and new school contemporary classic rock & roll.
The creator of WSMZ 98.5, Michael Stewart, said a lot of the music played are hits that didn’t make the pop charts. Stewart selects hits from those ‘overlooked’ albums and plays them.
Stewart has been in the radio industry for 30 years. He ended his radio career in 1999 to pursue law enforcement where he was a bureau of protective services agent for 23 years. He retired from that job in good standing in 2015. Even though his career changed, his love for radio did not. While working as a law enforcement officer, he would still work at different radio stations.
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“I worked at WSDC in Hartsville which is owned by Harold Bludsoe,” Stewart said. “He was the first boss I ever had. I was 13 years old when I had my first on-air job. I have worked at various other radio stations since then in different places.”
WMSZ 98.5 is on the air 24 hours and seven days a week.
Stewart also has an open space for dialogue for listeners to express their opinions on current events.
“I welcome anyone,” he said.
Stewart said it is difficult to get the love of radio out of your blood after you dive in it and enjoy it. Even through a career change, he has found his way back to broadcast journalism right where he once started.
“Once that love for radio gets in your veins it’s there for the long haul,” Stewart said. “Radio is a passion of mine. I loved radio from a child, and I always wanted to be on the radio.”
Stewart ‘s entrance into the radio world was not the most pleasant. He started off as a custodian for the radio station, WSDC in Hartsville, before transitioning into his first on-air position.
“I was cleaning the restrooms and taking out the garbage,” he said. “I was doing this for almost a year before I got offered my first on-air by by Mr. Bludsoe. When he offered me the job, I told him I could do it and I did.”
Stewart wants to give classic rock lovers in Hartsville a station to tune into and meet their musical needs. He also seeks to engage their minds by discussing many topics.