The Pilot was just a newspaper 25 years ago when publisher David Woronoff and his partners bought the paper from Sam Ragan.
Very early on, however, they realized it was rather limiting as a business. Before long, the Moore County Telephone Directory was born – another opportunity to serve the community with news and information.
Over the years that followed, The Pilot grew as a company. The newspaper is stronger than ever, even though it now represents a significantly smaller share of the overall business. We also publish four arts and culture magazines – including PineStraw magazine and sister publications for Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh – and the monthly magazine Business North Carolina statewide. In 2010, the company bought — “saved” might be the best word — The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines and turned it into one of the best independent bookstores in the state.
What about the business of telephone directories? Its success over the years has blossomed into what is today First Flight Agency, a full-service digital media company offering a range of web and email services to other companies, although we still publish the popular annual directory.
We are a company and a culture rich in innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. Expressing himself as one of his main “sounding boards”, David is not lacking in ideas and the will to try new things.
Sometimes those things don’t always turn out. A bold plan to offer wireless internet across the city hasn’t worked out the way we’d hoped, although we still have the equipment on our roof to show the effort.
But more often than not, our ideas have caught on and flourished in the communities we serve. Today I am delighted to write about another of them.
Over the past few months we have been working on developing a local streaming radio service for our community in Moore County. Under the guidance of First Flight staff and, in particular, Frank Daniels IV, we developed Pilot Radio, which was “soft launched” last week.
Pilot Radio, which can be heard at pilot-radio.com, is an online radio station that, for now, plays a musical mix of everything from Americana to rock to songs by artists based in North Carolina like Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange) and Rhiannon Giddens.
Listening we can expect to go from The Breeders to Train to the Avett Brothers to Blondie. The music library includes an array of artists that spans over 50 years, and we’re just honing in on it.
In addition to music, you will also hear regular news and weather updates. In the coming weeks, we’ll be adding sports and business updates, podcasts and programs from local people who love music.
We also have key sponsors assisting us in this latter endeavor including Southern Pines Brewing Co., Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and Coldwell Banker Advantage.
How to listen? On your computer, we have a link at the top of thepilot.com, or you can click on pilot-radio.com. We also have apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
We are excited about the future. We have a lot to learn, but we love the huge potential this has for all of us in Moore County. Like everything else with this company, Pilot Radio’s primary goal is to serve our community.
Like “WKRP in Cincinnati,” one of our favorite TV shows, we hope we’re fun, free, and interesting. Unlike the WKRP, we promise not to bomb the city center by dropping turkeys from a helicopter. Because unlike Station Chief Arthur Carlson, we know that turkeys fly badly.