Monday, April 10, 2006

Cheese Shoppe and Radio Station

1370 WCCN-AM is the only combination Cheese shop and radio station to my knowledge. It is said that Wisconsin's Indian heritage provided the inspiration for the pavilion's modernist almost art-deco teepee-ish look.

When it was in the 1965 World's fair in New York City it's displays touted the hitory of Wisconsin's farms, industries and great outdoors. Outside the pavilion, experts demonstrated fishing and archery techniques. A 17 ton cheese, said to be the world's largest, was displayed on a huge air-conditioned van, protected by chromium and glass. They served flame-grilled steak and an old fashioned nickelodeon provided music.
Then the "Wisconsin Pavilion" became a radio station in Neillsville, Wisconsin.

When buildings are repurposed for broadcast use, odd things happen. The worlds largest cheese was replaced by the world's larget replica cheese. Then Chatty Belle, the world's largest talking cow moved next door... They ate the real world's largest cheese after the 1965 fair ended.

Kevin Grapp, the owner of the Wisconsin Pavilion and WCCN, takes great pride in the fact that he has a relic from the Fair. His father bought the pavilion from Ivan Wilcox in Boscobel, WI and had it moved to Neillsville and reassembled there. Rather than allowing the pavilion to be reduced to a pile of scrap metal, Wilcox made an offer to buy the building for $5,000. Then he spiritied it out of New York before the unions could do anything about it. It was a pretty good deal, he turned around and sold it for $41,000 to Central Wisconsin Broadcasting.

WCCN's Wisconsin Pavilion, located just east of Neillsville on Highway 10, is still privately owned and operated by Central Wisconsin Broadcasting Inc. Today they also operate an Fm station from that address 107.5 WCCN-FM

More roadside weirdness here: