The Story Behind WBLZ
For close to seven years I was the Saturday/Sunday blues radio host on WBFO 88.7 the NPR affiliate based in Buffalo, NY. I never missed a day in all that time, even while on tour/vacation. Supporting the top blues artists past and present with airplay, interviews, and show promotion was the main focus of the broadcast. With over three decades of being intimately a part of the blues world locally, nationally and internationally as a performer this was a perfect fit. Some months ago my 5 hr. Sunday show was abruptly cut and I was moved to Saturdays, but for only 2 hours. Instead of a blues show on Sunday, the station opted for canned repeats of Ted Talks, All Things Considered, etc. On top of losing 3 hr. of programming, I was told I was now strictly limited to 90 minutes of setup time for my weekly show. With sometimes 10 or more new releases each week at around 45-60 minutes each to listen to in real time, emailing and talking with labels, artists, publicists, social media management, etc. my hands were tied. How do I do all that, plus the show production, 30-60 minute interviews with artists and then edit them all in 90 minutes? It's not possible. I wasn't happy, and the show suffered. Not to mention Saturday night is for live music, so who's sitting at home by the radio/computer/smartphone? I know I'm not, I'm usually onstage somewhere. It just wasn't working.
Sat. 6/25/22 was my last time on the air with WBFO for the foreseeable future. I did not have the heart to produce another show for them. Now, as of 4/28/23, WBFO has dropped all of it's blues programming. If you were a monthly contributor to WBFO/WNED for it's support of blues, you can redirect it here to WBLZ.
Some weeks back, 4-time Grammy winner Tom Hambridge told me, "Buffalo needs your blues show Tommy." I think he's right and I didn't want to stop bringing you the best in classic and contemporary blues music, so I have partnered with an iHeart Radio affiliate who is one of the biggest independent broadcast providers on the internet to bring you WBLZ: The Blizzard of Blues Radio station! Instead of just Sat. and Sun. this is a 24/7 station that is FREE and the Sunday Blues are back each week from 7pm-10 EST. This show streams worldwide and has at least twice the audio quality of WBFO's online stream. It really sounds great and is a big improvement. I have committed advertisers/sponsors to promote things related to the show (upcoming concerts, etc.). That's why I opted to pay a higher subscription rate so that the only commercials that air here are related to the WBLZ community and blues in general. I first started broadcasting on 6/29/22 and now that all the bugs and testing have been worked out, the show is growing and gets better each week.
This is all out of pocket for me, I am not getting paid hourly by a company like WBFO anymore to keep bringing you this content like the interviews w/Jimmie Vaughan, Samantha Fish, Joe Bonamassa, Colin James, Sue Foley, Eric Gales, Tommy Castro, and Joe etc., the stories behind the music, the concert promotion and of course the 24/7 music itself. It's gonna take a bunch of supporters to keep this going every month and I hope that you'll be one of them. There are some different tiers and incentives for each one.
I feel the songs in rotation are among the best in classic and contemporary blues music...a veritable Blizzard of Blues.