WTBQ Radio celebrates 25th anniversary of ownership by Frank Truatt
WARWICK. A success story for a radio station that had been off the air.


Photo by Roger Gavan WTBQ celebrated 25 years of ownership on July 1. Those pictured in the photo include Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, who just returned from serving seven months in Iraq and the Middle East in the Navy Reserves. Also pictured are Assemblyman Colin Schmitt, Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Town of Pompton Lakes, N.J., Supervisor Kevin Boyle, Mayor Michael Newhard, Bob Caridi, president of the Nam Knights, Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois, Deb Major, president of Zylofone, Helene Guss, director of Communication of Bon Secours Charity Health System, Orange County Legislator Paul Ruszkiewicz, Town of Monroe Supervisor Tony Cardone and numerous other officials, dignitaries, businesspersons, advertisers and members of several local Chambers of Commerce.

Fans of Warwick Radio WTBQ (1110 AM/93.5 FM) may not be aware that for almost two years, the now popular local station on FM, AM and Internet was completely off the air.
But on July 1, 1994, current owner Frank Truatt, who had purchased the station from recording artist Jimmy Sturr, put WTBQ back on the air.
And the rest is history.
On Monday, July 1, officials, dignitaries, members of Chambers of Commerce, associates, advertisers, broadcasters, staff and fans gathered at the station's studio, 179 Sanfordville Road, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the revival of the station under his stewardship.
Warwick resident and media entrepreneur Ed Klein, who passed away in 2008, founded WTBQ. The station began broadcasting on July 29, 1969.
At that time, Klein was also the publisher of The Warwick Advertiser.
In the late 1970s, he sold the station to "Polka King" Jimmy Sturr who, in turn, sold it to Goodtime Broadcasting. Sturr regained ownership in 1992.
Frank Truatt grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey, listening to New York radio and he remembers that he always enjoyed the music of the radio DJs.
After graduating from Don Bosco Prep and while attending Clarkson College of Technology in Potsdam, Truatt discovered that the school had its own radio station and that it was located in the basement of his dorm.
"Within a few weeks," he recalled, "I was on the air with my own show on Saturday mornings from 6 to 9 a.m."
During his years at Clarkson, he also worked on the college's other radio station, eventually becoming music director and then station manager.
Truatt earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in Industrial Management but he admits that as he began his business career he was heartbroken about giving up his radio shows to join the "real world."
In 1981, a co-worker introduced him to the program director at a local station in Sussex County, N.J. Truatt was hired part-time but he longed for a regular scheduled time slot. He began working at other stations in New Jersey and New York while also managing his own mobile DJ service.
When he learned that his last station employer would be changing over to an all satellite format, and that live, local DJs would no longer be needed, he decided to see if any nearby stations were for sale. WTBQ's name came up. Truatt was familiar with the station as he had once worked there.
And since WTBQ had been off the air when Truatt purchased it from Jimmy Sturr, there was lots of work to be done.
In the course of its long history, WTBQ moved from Warwick to a longtime studio in Florida, to Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Warwick and then, in 2012, Orange County's WTBQ Radio held its official grand opening at the station's new and current studio facility on Sanfordville Road.
Throughout the past 25 years, Truatt has upgraded WTBQ's broadcast quality, doubled the AM station's power, was one of the first stations in the region to broadcast on the Internet and added an FM frequency.
And recently Truatt and Station Manager Taylor Sterling announced the acquisition of another radio station, WGHT (AM 1500), based in nearby Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.
WGHT has a listening audience of 2.35 million ranging from North Jersey counties including Passaic, Essex, Bergen and others as well as New York City and the Metropolitan area.
WTBQ is also the only station in New York State with live local call-in shows and the only station in the country with more than 6,000 Billboard Charted songs in the rotation.
"Whether informational, political, animal rights, medical, psychological and so forth, "said Sterling, "the goal is to always bring the best information to the communities in Orange County and Frank has achieved that year after year, including eight non-profits who share their resources each week."
- Roger Gavan