Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tom Fitzmorris and WWL On Demand

Tom Fitzmorris is a Certified Culinary Professional by the IACP. I had to Google that acronym to make sure he didn't make it up. It's the International Association of Culinary Professionals. I can't say how important that is, but I can say that I don't have one. His radio program has been running for 25 years and if you don't live in New Orleans you probably have no idea who he is.

"The Food Show" with Tom Fitzmorris started out in July of 1988 on 1350 WSMB-AM back before it became WWWL-AM. (You can read more about 1350 here.)  But Fitzmorris began his career in radioland. broadcasting a daily two-minute restaurant review on WGSO radio in 1974. In 1983 he moved to WBYU before the big jump to WWL. That move to was huge. For a time after Hurricaine Katrina the program was actually trimulcast airing at 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM on weekdays on 1350 WWWL-AM, then Saturdays on the simulcast: 870 WWL-AM/WWL-FM 105.3 FM. It was a tumultuous time. Let's review:
105.3 WWL-FM 
Went silent at the end of August 2005 and returned in October with "United Broadcasters of New Orleans."  Four days after returning they dropped their WKBU calls for WTKL, a couple weeks later they started simulcasting The Big 870. In April 2006 they changed calls again to match. 

870 WWL-AM
Has been unchanged for the better part of a decade. From 9/1/2005 to  11/7/2005 they ran the "United Broadcasters of New Orleans" emergency services programming. After that it was the heritage station it always had been, only better. The WWL brand proved itself worthy of it's homeland.

1350 WWL-AM
1350 was an odd frequency, starting on November 11th 2006, WSMB-AM became WWL-AM mostly simulcasting WWL-AM/FM. It was branded as "WWL On Demand" and it dropped Air America to get there. Off air for part of September 2005 due to flood surge debris from then until November it was also part of the "United Broadcasters of New Orleans." 
Today Tom's program airs only on the 870 WWL-AM/WWL-FM 105.3 FM simulcast. His radio program "The Food Show" continues without interruption. The newsletter he began in 1977 continues and is now online at nomenu.com. It's also worth noting that he's married to a former radio talk show host, Mary Ann Connell Fitzmorris.