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Small business of the year award

Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at 9:00 am

LACIE SILVA

Editor

 

For the fifth consecutive year WEPG The River 104.9 was awarded Small Business of the Year by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce at their annual banquet dinner on August 17.

The once small AM radio station in rural Tennessee, has grown yet stayed true to their roots. Beginning their broadcast in August of 1954, The River has persevered through hardships and difficulties all the while continuously maintaining transmission. While many businesses come and go, WPEG has remained a fixture of the community in Marion County.

In spite of flooding, tornados, lightning strikes, and the pandemic, The River has prevailed and continued to support Marion County. The flooding that entered the building covered the floors in up to nearly four inches of water. In 1953 and 2000, though separated by time, tornadoes ripped the surrounding areas apart the same way and WEPG continued broadcasting. The pandemic saw record turnovers for many businesses but not WEPG. In 2021 the station was struck by lightning causing most of the equipment to need to be replaced.

Across these many challenges, The River continued to bring encouragement, support, and guidance to the people of Marion County through their strong determination to communicate emergency information. Through the extreme weather hosts dedicated many hours night and day, sleeping in shifts around the lobby to keep the show on. As other businesses closed their doors and fired employees, The River pushed on and proudly stated they never laid off any employees and have had continuous broadcasts.

Further dedication to the youth of the community saw the radio station support seniors of South Pittsburg High School, Richard Hardy Memorial School, Marion County, Whitwell and Dunlap, after students were told Prom would be canceled. The River worked with the principals and schools to host their own Prom for free and honor the community that has continuously stood by them.

Recent additions to the broadcast include The Logan and Kaitlyn Morning Show from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. Scheduled just prior to the Swap and Shop, a buy, sell, swap, and trade show dating back to the original program nearly 70 years ago. The new show features all the latest music as well as some of the old-time contests once featured with unique giveaways and live call-ins. Tune in Monday through Saturday at WEPG and Monday through Friday at WSDQ.

For all their hard work and community actions, The River 104.9 proudly and humbly accepted the Small Business of the Year award.