tampabay.com

On the air, with nothing to wear

A Clearwater radio station celebrates a milestone with its first nude broadcast in the home office, on a show aptly named The Fitness Buff.

By VANESSA DE LA TORRE
Published July 7, 2006


The Fitness Buff Show with Pete Williams has been on air since October. Mostly it broadcasts from Paradise Lakes, a Pasco County nudist resort that sponsors the weekly radio program. Nude vacationers mingle with the nude hosts by the swimming pool.

Not this time!

Last week, hosts Pete Williams, author and freelance sportswriter, and Sabrina Vizzari, a nudist since she was 11, held the hourlong fitness and health show at its mother-ship station, WTAN-AM 1340.

The small and homey WTAN building is near downtown Clearwater, on N Myrtle Avenue next to a church.

For station owner Dave Wagenvoord, the naked broadcast is both a business pattern and milestone.

"Pete says, 'You have freedom, you feel relaxed,' " Wagenvoord, 73, said of the nudist lifestyle.

"I would not feel relaxed."

But Wagenvoord is no stranger to the provocative approach. He has a Honolulu radio station that did its 10th anniversary show in the buff. And once in Las Vegas, he helped orchestrate a nude broadcast on a Saturday morning. Lots of TV crews came out, he said. No one has ever demanded, " 'Put their clothes on,' or anything like that."

And now...

"To celebrate our 60th anniversary of our show in Clearwater, we'll have our first nudist broadcast in 60 years," Wagenvoord said. "That we know about. We're not sure a person at 3 a.m. took their clothes off in 1951.

"It is totally G-rated, health-related," he quickly added of the show's content.

Let us be the judge of that.

But actually, yes, he's right.

Toward the end of their 4 p.m. show last week, Williams the sportswriter and Vizzari the professional nudist informed listeners of upcoming 5-kilometer races in Tampa Bay. "Four great races coming up!" Williams said.

Moments before, Vizzari, 33, who keeps in shape by playing volleyball and dancing, removed one last piece of bikini. In the control room, station engineer Ed Davis seemed to flinch. Playfully flinch.

Listeners were likely oblivious to the in-studio strip. Which might bring one to ask: What's the point?

"You have to remember that radio is theater of the mind," Wagenvoord said. "Their mind will twirl. And if it twirls, we're getting through."

Wagenvoord calls it "niche programming."

Williams, 36, just says it's a good fitness show.

"Surprisingly, I've been surprised how little to-do people have made over this," he said after the show, fully clothed again. "It's really not a big deal."