Local radio station celebrates 70 years

A Beaver County radio station hosts gala to mark seven decades of on-air success

This past Friday, May 25, 2018, 1230 WBVP and 1460 WMBA Radio in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, celebrated 70 years of on-air success, in a 70th Anniversary Gala, held at the Broadhead Hotel, also in Beaver County, where local radio personalities of all generations were in attendance.

Station owner, Mark Peterson, organized the event, bringing together 232 guests, many of them former employees and local politicians, such as Congressman Keith Rothfus and State Representative Rob Matzie, to honor the station’s seven decades of success. The Congressman and State Representative, along with Beaver Falls Mayor, George Quay, each issued proclamations noting the continued and historic value of Beaver County Radio, while Jim Roddey of St. Barnabas, dazzled guests with quick wit and rugged humor in his keynote speech.

State Representative Rob Matzie issuing a proclamation, at the WBVP WMBA 70th Anniversary Gala.
Jim Roddey speaking at the WBVP WMBA 70th Anniversary Gala.


Throughout the night, the station’s program director, Frank Sparks, kept things on schedule and moving, serving as the Master of Ceremonies—leisurely cracking jokes about radio personnel and speaking fondly of the small station’s accomplishments.

Sparks, after the proclamations and keynote speech concluded, dismissed hungry guests to help themselves to an Italian buffet, provided by Roma Catering in Aliquippa, PA, which included spaghetti, meatballs, pasta and broccoli, and lemon peppered chicken breast.

Beaver Falls Mayor, George Quay enjoying his meal catered by Roma Catering, at the WBVP WMBA 70th Anniversary Gala.
Program Director, Frank Sparks, with his wife, Dawn Sparks, at the WBVP WMBA 70th Anniversary Gala.

Attendees enjoyed their meals on round tables, covered in white, linen cloths, and elegantly adorned with big blue bows. Center pieces for the tables, each unique, consisted of assorted greenery that surrounded retro microphones, representing radio of generations past, as did the people that made them great.


Table settings and centerpieces at the WBVP WMBA 70th Anniversary Gala.


Beaver County Radio personalities of the past, including Chris Shovlin, Jim Merkel, Dianne Brown, and John Nuzzo—all former hosts, sports, or news voices from the tiny station located in Beaver Falls—not only attended the event, but also found their way back to the Beaver County airwaves with live interviews in the week proceeding the event.

Current host of AM Beaver County, Matt Drzik, loved the trip back in time. “This week—it has just been amazing to hear all of the history that has gone into the station and how it has kept the same traditions and yet adapted over the years,” Drzik says. “How all of that history was chronicled tonight is just crazy.”

AM Beaver County host, Matt Drzik with Program Director, Frank Sparks at the WBVP WMBA 70th Anniversary Gala.

His sentiments were seemingly reflected by most of the guests who spent the night catching up, reminiscing, and even walking away with prize baskets, donated by local businesses.

The night concluded with cake and kisses—friends, from years past, once again, parting ways, until they meet again, with new faces and personalities, in WBVP WMBA’s next milestone celebration.