This year commemorates the 70th anniversary of when Beaver County’s first radio station, WBVP, was heard over the airwaves for the the first time on May 25, 1948. To mark the historical event, each week, another “70th Anniversary Moment” will be showcased on the airwaves and published on the station’s online feeds.
The city of New Castle has produced its share of talented broadcasters through the years. Popular WBVP and WMBA hosts in more recent years, John Nuzzo and Gary West were born and raised there. In addition, Mark Razz, who was a WBVP and WWKS show host and program director from the 1980’a and 1990’s, along with broadcasting pioneer Chuck Wilson, who spoke the first words on WBVP in 1948, started their careers at New Castle radio station WKST. Among other stars to rise out of Red Hurricane country and travel through Beaver County at WBVP was native son Steve Granato. The following is a biography about Steve Granato appearing in the recently published book “Behind The Microphone, The History Of Radio In Beaver County, PA”: “New Castle native, Steve Granato, first appeared in the hallways of WBVP and WWKS in 1982 as a part time announcer. He would return to his New Castle hometown station, WKST and WFEM in Ellwood City in 1984, where he had originally started as a high school boy before coming to Beaver County. In 1986, Granato came back to WBVP and WWKS to serve as Program Director and on air host for WBVP. After leaving WBVP and WWKS, Granato worked as a Program Director and on air talent in Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland and in Columbus, OH as a Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeart Media. Steve is currently the Operations Manager of four radio stations in Naples-Ft. Myers, FL for Renda Broadcasting.”
One enduring story in particular about Granato, and his time at WBVP, involved the aforementioned Mark Razz, local pro wresting legend, Bruno Sammartino and a Nationality Days Broadcast. The following is Also taken from Behind The Microphone, the History Of Radio In Beaver County PA, describing a live broadcast from Ambridge Nationality Days from around 1988: “Bruno Sammartino, was invited to appear at the WBVP and WWKS live broadcast set up at Nationality Days. Surely having such a beloved and popular sports figure on the air and live in person at Nationality Days would be a coupe. Sammartino arrived as planned and proceeded to do an interview live on KISS 106.7 F.M., WWKS, with host Mark Razz. After that interview ended, Sammartino went over to join Steve Granato at the other end of the booth, who was broadcasting live on 1230 WBVP. Whether it was the fact that Steve Granato’s shorter height, or that Sammartino was getting bored, or maybe that the quieter Granato was just an easier target, who knows, but shortly after the dialogue on WBVP began, Sammartino jumps up and put Granato into a headlock and then proceeded to give Granato a series of “noogies”, rubbing his knuckles across the top of Granto’s head, just like a grade school bully in the coat room would do to the class nerd.” At the time, WBVP was paired with a sister F.M. radio station known as WWKS, or Kiss106.7 F.M. WMBA was still owned by a separate company back then and hadn’t become part of the family yet.
These days, Steve, and his wife, Mary Kay Granato, live in Bonita Springs, Florida.
“70th Anniversary Moments” is presented by Abbey Carpet and Floor, Albert’s Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, Aliquippa Giant Eagle, The Beaver Falls Municipal Authority, Beaver Valley Auto Mall, Beaver Valley Sheet Metal, Castlebrook Development, The Community College Of Beaver County, Farmers Building and Savings Bank, Freedom United Federal Credit Union, Hank’s Frozen Custard and Mexican food, The Health Huts, Kitchen City, Laughlin Insurance Agency, Rochester Manor and Villa and Young’s Jewelry and Coins.