Gary King, WYAR Founder

Always First in our hearts: Gary King

Gary King was founder of Heritage Radio Society & the Chief Operator and Station Manager of WYAR from the very beginning in 1995 until his passing after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease in 2019. During a local broadcasting career that started in 1955, Gary was an announcer and DJ on Maine radio, worked as a television engineer, and then as a television program director. He was also supremely proud of  his Amateur Extra Class radio operator’s license. After retirement, with the support of his late wife Lois (who passed away in 2004) and son David, he built WYAR-FM in the basement of his home in Yarmouth as an extension of the work he felt he was put on this earth to do. His legacy lives on in everything we do.  


Jim Brown started in 2005 as the sidekick co-host of The RetroRadio Show. Trained as a teacher, journalist and both manufacturing and electrical engineer, he holds down a day job as Controls Engineer at Abbott Rapid Diagnostics to support his labor-of-love radio-station habit at WYAR. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and an SBE Certified Radio Operator. He has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2007, honed skills in the business and technical end of running a small broadcast station in more than a decade as Gary’s Assistant Station Manager, and succeeded Gary King as Chief Operator and Station Manager in 2019. 

Matt Sidar

When Matt, a native of Yarmouth, was in school shortly before the turn of the millennium, he received as a holiday gift one of those wireless microphone kits, reflecting a burgeoning interest in broadcasting. As it just so happened, the default frequency of the little FM receiver that came with it was 88.3 Megahertz, and when he switched it on out came “this really weird and fascinating music, like I’d never heard before.” Fast forward more than twenty years, and now Matt is Assistant Station Engineer, one of the key people keeping that “weird and fascinating” music on the air.  Matt is an alumnus of the University of Southern Maine Electrical Engineering program, and a general class amateur radio operator (callsign KC1MKX). Almost singlehandedly responsible for modernizing WYAR’s broadcast and production studios between 2021 and 2023, he continues cranking out PSA announcements and keeping a close eye on the technical end of operations. He also loves to dabble in the production end of things, both analog and digital.

Kent Skates

Several years ago, Kent Skates, who (you can tell from his picture) fits perfectly into the band of misfits at Heritage Radio Society, was living in Yarmouth raising a young family and wondering how to become involved in media. In time, he discovered WYAR, and gradually it became the family’s go-to station. He didn’t really give it much thought until, one day in October of 2019, he turned on the radio and – WYAR wasn’t there. As days turned into weeks with nothing but static on 88.3 megahertz, mounting concern led him to contact the station. As it was, the signal path and transmitter at the broadcast tower had been damaged by a falling tree, and Heritage Radio Society was frantically raising money and coordinating repairs. Long story short – after WYAR went back on the air (it took six weeks) a new morning show was airing at 7:00 am Mondays and Fridays. Theme Street is a show all about the word on the street, eclectic tunes exploring all types of American music – from the beginning of the recording era to the rock & roll revolution & much more. It’s music that literally changed the world. What’s the word on the street? Tune in & find out! And listen to the archives online whenever you’d like – just search #ThemeStreetWYAR.

Davis Balestracci

Davis Balestracci, host of The Forgotten World of the Mighty Theater Organ (usually abbreviated as “M-T-O”) is a native New Englander and retired healthcare improvement statistician who moved to Portland in 2004. He has been playing the organ since he was 9 years old. Three LPs his folks purchased for their circa 1960 clunky console stereo opened his eyes to the wondrously unique, sparklingly brilliant sound world of the mighty theatre pipe organ – hardly your typical church organ…  or even Portland’s own Kotzschmar symphonic organ! Although Davis can play a mean Bach fugue, alas, he never could improvise worth a darn to play in this style; but retirement and timely Kotzschmar concerts by theater organist Scott Foppiano rekindled this dormant interest into a passion. Davis has been living it vicariously through collecting classic recorded performances and, since 2019, sharing them and their history with WYAR listeners – with an occasional jaunt to Groton, Massachusetts, to hear the mighty Wurlitzer at the Shanklin Conference Center. The rise and fall of the theatre organ art is a fascinating and vital piece of Heritage Radio history, from its heyday in the 1920s to its tragically abrupt virtual disappearance starting with the talkies in 1928, followed in quick succession by the Great Depression, World War II, and the explosion of electronic organs. Davis hopes that its refreshing lens through which to hear classic tunes anew will surprise and delight listeners while maybe even nostalgically recalling some fond memories of the Greatest Generation.

AB Normal (Jim's brother al)

AB found himself roped into the responsibility of Assistant Station Manager at WYAR after his annoying little brother became Station Manager. AB’s first experience in local radio was a Junior Achievement career experience in high school, co-producing the “The Voice of Cheese” (yes, that’s a Frank Zappa reference) on WLOB. Despite it’s “graveyard” timeslot, “VOC” soon developed a counter-cultural cult-following as the only place on Greater Portland radio in the early 1970’s to find not only Zappa but the likes of King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and progressive jazz. This led to stints as weekend DJ at WJAB and one of the very first voices at WMPG (when their broadcast console had been repurposed from an old Frigidaire clothes dryer). Despite this auspicious start in broadcast media, after attending University at Orono, the “radio thing” fell by the wayside until 2019, when his brother lured him into the studios at WYAR and, as Jim puts it, “exacted my revenge for the permanent trauma from giving me a copy of ‘Tarkus’ for Christmas in 1973”. In addition to being Assistant Manager, AB coordinates most of the automated program scheduling.


And, before you ask, yes, that’s how she spells it. Jooly is a mercurial soul who prefers not to tell anyone her last name, much less let us put up a headshot. In merry old England, not so long ago, the Sunday Tea Dance at 4:00PM was a common social gathering. Jooly, an unabashed old-time radio fanatic who not only hails from England but remains resolutely in it, produces an hour-long recreation of the Tea Dance music of the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s for several community radio stations in old England, and, through the miracle of modern technology, also on WYAR-FM in that newer England across the Atlantic. Lest we be accused of hyperbole in calling her “fanatic”, check out her website: The Golden Age of Radio, and see just how apt the term is!

Mark persky

Mark Persky, 40+ year veteran of radio in greater Portland, often surprises people when they discover that he is a serious musicologist with omnivorous tastes, equally at ease discussing vaudeville, 1920’s jazz, mid-century show-tunes, folk music, and ethnic music as he is Led Zeppelin, Doctor Demento, and Weird Al. Which, of course, makes him a perfect adjunct to the group at the Heritage Radio Society. Mark is that unique and priceless blend of gregarious generosity coupled with abject zany-ness that can make magic (and sometimes mortification) happen!

Mark Persky


Russ Naughton, host of The Jazz Oasis, lived in Brooklyn NY while working his way through a BFA from Pratt Institute in the 1970’s. Frequenting famous venues like the Bottom Line, the Village Vanguard, and the Village Gate immersed him in the New York Jazz scene that was “happening” at the time, which comes back to us now at 8:00PM Friday evenings. He saw, and often met, many of the musicians he spins in his hour of smooth jazz and fusion, with frequent forays into funk. Many of these artists are still working. Russ loves catching us up on what projects they have been involved with more recently, as well as cultivating relationships with the younger generation of smooth jazz artists. His hour on WYAR proved successful enough that he has expanded the franchise into an independent online presence:

Peter Mezoian

Peter Mezoian is one of America’s leading banjoists. Making his home in South Portland, he makes his living touring around the world. When in town between tours, he plays regional venues and hosts Banjo Perspectives on WYAR, which started airing in 2008. He specializes in Plectrum Banjo, featuring music from Pops to the Classics and has released two commercial album projects.

Peter Mezoian, Banjoist

voices from our past

No longer active with WYAR, but still heard regularly:
Jeannie Evans


Jeannie Evans was host of Afternoon Remedy, still in repeats Wednesday afternoons. Jeannie graduated from Yarmouth High School in 2009 and George Washington University in 2013, majoring in International Development and DJ’ing at GWU’s station, WRGW. In 2014 Jeannie moved back to Maine and volunteered with her childhood favorite radio station, WYAR, where she created a remarkable set of programs that range through blues, bluegrass, jazz, and even foray into folk rock, showing how it all connects (She originally coined our tagline “…where we put the music you love into context”). She left Maine for a work opportunity in southeast Asia in 2015. 

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CARl bradford

Carl Bradford was WYAR’s resident Jazz expert for many years. In addition to his original jazz program, Jazz at Y-A-R (still airing in reruns), Carl was also a profoundly talented musician in his own right. In addition to a day job as a Circuit Court Judge, he led the regional Port City Jazz Sextet and the Port City Four, both of which featured the jazz side of the Great American Songbook. Carl grew up in Detroit, Michigan, a music hotbed during the 1940’s and ‘50’s. Carl retired and recorded the final installment of Jazz at Y-A-R in 2007, and he passed away in 2020.

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keith green

Keith Green came to WYAR from across the pond. Born and raised in England, Keith now retired, still lives in Maine. The Keith Green Show featured the music he loves from the Great American Songbook with anecdotal information about the performers and his own adventures. Although he recorded his last program in 2004, he lives on in repeat broadcasts because we get loads of hate mail if we try to stop running it.

Laura Houck

Laura Houck

Laura Houck, hostess of Tuesday Afternoon with Laura from 2011 to 2019, was born on a mountaintop in Tennessee—wait, no, that was Davy Crockett… She has a BFA in Acting, is a member of SAG-AFTRA, and is a professional actor and singer who has worked on stage and television. Her grandparents were musicians, and her father grew up wandering the backstage of many venues with famous artists. Her childhood was filled with everything from Tex Beneke and Tommy Dorsey, to Glenn Miller and the Mills Brothers.  In time, Laura became almost singlehandedly responsible for the WYAR’s reputation of playing more Broadway showtunes than any other regional station.


Scott Scroggins, who’s mother really did play the accordion, was co-host of Retro Radio Show, which was active from 2005 to 2010. In Scott’s words, “When I was about twelve, I was going to yard sales with my grandfather. At one of them I spied a box of a hundred records for five bucks. My grandfather tried to explain that these were 78’s and there would be nothing on them to interest me. I was insistent, and, when I got my box of treasures home, came across a recording of Blue Skies by Benny Goodman. I liked it…a lot. I looked for more records by this “Benny Goodman” guy, and it just sort of grew from there.” Although no longer an on-air personality, Scott remains a member of WYAR’s Board of Directors and active in management.

Wayne Newland

Wayne Newland

Board Member emeritus, confidant, friend, and long-time public face of WYAR, Wayne was producer and host of The Community Microphone, a public service program, from 1998 to 2020. A self-described “child of the fifties”, Wayne had never seen TV until his family moved from West Virginia to Baltimore when he was nine. He fondly remembers “real radio” and was drawn to WYAR during its first year in operation. So, shortly after retirement from a 25-year career as an educator in New Jersey and a decade as an administrator of non-profit associations in Augusta, he became the very first volunteer for this unique radio station, and remained with us through thick and thin until ill health curtailed his involvement in 2021. 

Bill Chamblis

Bill Chamblis was never a DJ on WYAR, but hosted “Scratchy Grooves”, featuring old recordings from his collection, on the University of Delaware station WXDR (later WVUD) from 1984 to 2002. It was old-school live radio, exploring the music and sounds of 1900 to about 1940, scratches, flubs, and all. More than six hundred of his episodes were incidentally recorded on cassette tape. After Bill passed away in 2003, his son John waded into the project of converting his father’s programs to digital audio, and connected with WYAR in support of the project (which took more than fifteen years!). In addition to airing on WYAR, John has set up a “Scratchy Grooves” Web site to make the programs available online.

Howard nielson

Howard Nielson (1934-2011) was a professional acquaintance of Gary King in the mid 1960’s, when they both worked at WCSH television, but lost touch when Howard left to become executive publisher of Maine Times magazine. Later, Howard became a respected broadcast journalist at WNAC-TV in Boston, and received a United Press International Award for a documentary on Boston area school desegregation in the 1970’s. After retiring as a correspondent for Associated Press Television and CNN, he relocated to South Freeport, Maine, where he flipped on the radio one afternoon and, way down at the bottom of the FM dial, unexpectedly caught a familiar voice he hadn’t heard in more than thirty years. Howard and Gary collaborated on a major project in the early 2000’s, and he lives on at WYAR primarily through the scores (!) of generic station IDs and liners he recorded, still the strong backbone of our automated programming.

Loren Fevens

Loren Fevens (1944-2020) produced the popular “Sentimental Journey” Sunday evening programming on WYAR from 2007 to 2019, and is still heard both in top of the hour funding promos, station IDs, and repeat broadcasts of “The Old Parlour Radio”, of which he was also the original host. Hailing from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, Loren served a long and stellar career as an announcer, news reporter, disc-jockey, and 20 years with the Communications Department of Veterans’ Affairs Canada. Although he physically visited WYAR only once, we worked so closely with him every week by phone and email that we came to regard him affectionately as “one of us”, and promised we would always spell “Parlour” properly: with a “u”.