The Pilot was just a newspaper 25 years ago when publisher David Woronoff and his partners bought the newspaper from Sam Ragan.
Early on, though, they realized that was rather limiting as a business. In short order, the Moore County Telephone Directory was born — another opportunity to serve the community with news and information.
Over the ensuing years, The Pilot has grown as a company. The newspaper is stronger than ever, though now it’s a substantially smaller part of the overall business. We now also publish four arts and culture magazines — including PineStraw magazine and sister publications for Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh — and the monthly statewide Business North Carolina magazine. In 2010, the company bought — “rescued” might be the better word — The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines and turned it into one of the top independent bookstores in the state.
And the phone book business? Its success over the years has morphed into what today is First Flight Agency, a full-service digital media company offering a spectrum of web and email services to other companies — though we’re still publishing the popular annual directory.
We are a business and a culture rich in innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Speaking as one of his main “sounding boards,” David doesn’t lack for ideas and willingness to try new things.
Sometimes, those things don’t always pan out. An audacious plan to offer wireless internet around town didn’t work out as we had wished, though we still have the equipment on our roof to show for the effort.
But more often than not, our ideas have found purchase and grown in the communities that we serve. Today, I am excited to write about one more of them.
For the last several months, we have been working on developing a local streaming radio service for our community in Moore County. Under the guidance of the First Flight staff and, specifically, Frank Daniels IV, we developed Pilot Radio, which “soft launched” last week.
Pilot Radio, which can be heard at pilot-radio.com, is a web-based radio station that, for now, plays a music mix of everything from Americana to rock to songs from N.C.-based artists like Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange) and Rhiannon Giddens.
When listening you can expect to go from The Breeders to Train to the Avett Brothers to Blondie. The music library includes an array of artists that span more than 50 years, and we’re just tuning up.
In addition to the music, you’ll also hear regular news and weather updates. In coming weeks, we’re going to add in sports and business news updates, podcasts and programming from local folks for whom music is a passion.
We also have some key sponsors helping us in this latest endeavor, including Southern Pines Brewing Co., Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and Coldwell Banker Advantage.
We’re excited about the future. We have a lot to learn, but we like the huge potential this has for all of us in Moore County. Like everything else with this company, the core purpose of Pilot Radio is to serve our community.
Like “WKRP in Cincinnati,” one of our favorite TV shows, we hope we’re fun and free-wheeling and interesting. Unlike WKRP, we promise not to bomb downtown by dropping turkeys out of a helicopter. Because unlike station manager Arthur Carlson, we know turkeys are poor fliers.
Contact editor John Nagy at (910) 693-2507 or email@example.com.