STANDISH – David Patterson, the founder of a low-powered community radio station in the Lakes Region, has died. He was 64.

The Standish resident spent 21 years in the U.S. Navy and six years in the Air Force in addition to 13 years in the U.S. Postal Service. Patterson’s health deteriorated since suffering a stroke several years ago, and he died Friday, Oct. 21, due to diabetes, according to family.

Patterson created WJZF 97.1FM in 2005 and ran the 100-watt station out of his home on Standish Glen for the last six years. The Standish-based station, which reached Buxton, Windham, Gorham, Sebago and Limington and also broadcast live on the Internet, started with a smooth jazz format but grew to feature about a dozen local hosts as well as national programming and community announcements.

According to longtime program hosts Fred Miller, of Portland, and Bob Reichers, of Gorham, Patterson had a passion for noncommercial community radio and it was evident in his constant dedication to the station.

“Dave was a wonderful guy,” said Reichers, who hosted an eclectic music program, “Mystery Train,” live once a week. “He was fun and he was open to doing anything I wanted to do. I was really honored to know him and will miss him.”

Reichers said Patterson, who operated radio stations while based on aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy, was a “throwback to the old days of radio,” especially in the way he spoke while hosting his own shows, such as the oldies music program “Time Machine” or during announcements or station identifying breaks.

Miller, who did a weekly nostalgia music show, “The Fred Miller Show,” said Patterson “was excellent to work for” and that “he believed in the whole concept of giving back to the people.”

Miller explained that in 2000, the Federal Communications Commission opened the airwaves to low-powered stations, which gave non-commercial enterprises such as WJZF a spot on the dial. Patterson would often plug the purpose of the station, which broadcast from a repeater antenna at the Standish Town Hall, as a community-based option for those tired of hearing commercial radio.

According to Miller, Patterson had recently leased studio space in the Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook in hopes of ramping up programming for a merger with WRKJ 88.5FM, which would have been a tandem community effort between Patterson and Ron Malone, who owns community stations in southern Maine and New Hampshire. The station would have broadcast selective WJZF programming all over the greater Portland area. Patterson was excited about the possibility of reaching a broader audience. In an interview earlier this year, Patterson was excited about the merger. “Wouldn’t that be something though, reaching downtown Portland?” he said. “That’s the goal.”

When contacted this week, Malone said WRKJ’s planned simulcasting of WJZF programming was “up in the air” in the wake of Patterson’s passing.

Kristi Doyle, a Standish resident and Patterson’s niece, as well as host of “The County Barn” music program on WJZF, said she hopes to revive the station at some point in honor of her uncle.

“At this point it’s up in the air, maybe a year, year-and-a-half from now we can get it going again,” she said. “But not right now mainly because there’s no one who would fund it. (Patterson) paid for everything.”

Malone said he would be willing “to do whatever I can to keep the station alive in Dave’s memory,” but that he would abide by the family’s wishes.

Visiting hours for Patterson, who was originally from Portland, took place Thursday at Blais & Hay Funeral Home in Westbrook. A funeral service takes place at the funeral home on Friday at 10 a.m. Private burial will be in Brooklawn Memorial Park in Portland.

Dave Patterson, at the studio in his Standish home. (File
photo)


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