ROXY: Playing pop, rock hits since ‘98

Drive down Pacific Avenue in Olympia, just before it becomes State Avenue, and you’ll notice a building to the right on a prominent corner that looks a bit like a bank branch.

Well, that’s true: it once was home to a bank called First Community Bank (later to become Venture Bank), and it still has drive-through lanes and a safe.

But today the former bank branch is occupied by KRXY 94.5 FM, better known simply as Roxy.

Roxy has been in the market since October 1998, but in September 2012 the station, previously owned by Premier Broadcasters Inc., sold it to Olympia Broadcasters Inc.

The four owners are Mike Marohn, Kay Pearson, Bobby Hart and Jerry Farmer.

Hart and Farmer wear multiple hats at the station. In addition to co-owner, Hart is station manager, program director and morning DJ. Farmer is sales manager and community affairs director.

Hart’s multitasking was on display during a recent Monday as he worked on the next day’s song playlist while taking the periodic phone call. He prepares playlists so that it takes the pressure off the other DJs, he said.

The station serves the Thurston, Mason and south Pierce County markets, playing pop and rock hits from the past four decades, or Pink Floyd to Pink.

The station broadcasts at about 1,400 watts.

“We’re the biggest little juggernaut in the market,” said Farmer, who, if you know Jerry, is never far from his next joke.

Farmer also is arguably the hardest working person in Thurston County, a near fixture at every community event the county has to offer, from an appearance at a local service club to auctioneer at a local charity.

His day starts at 4:15 a.m. and, if he’s serving in one of his community roles, it ends at 11 p.m. Otherwise, he tries to hit the sack at 9 p.m., he said.

But what’s he doing up at that hour?

That’s when he pens his humorous observations that are then pre-recorded and played a little after 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays, Farmer said.

Hart has worked in radio since 1977, beginning his career at historic KGY, also in Olympia.

Here are his five songs that all good DJs must play: “Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin; “Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen; “China Grove,” The Doobie Brothers; “Barracuda,” Heart; and “Jack and Diane,” John Mellencamp.

Hart picked “Stairway to Heaven” because not only is it a good song, but it’s long enough — about eight minutes — so that a DJ can take a quick break.

He said he knew a DJ who would play that song so he had enough time to run down to the convenience store.