Rex Rand (Rand Broadcasting), owned 50,000 watt Florida AM’s WINZ (by the sea) in Miami and WINQ Tampa in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. He grew up in the United Kingdom and, during World War II, was a pilot in England’s Royal Air Force. After the war, he moved to the United States (with not much money, we’re told) and settled in South Florida.
The story goes he met there a woman who owned WINZ and charmed his way into its GM’s chair, then talked her into leaving the station to him in her will. And that’s how he got into the radio business. He was sophisticated, flamboyant, rather dapper, and definitely gave the appearance of being super rich. It was not uncommon for him to flash around a wad of cash that would choke a mule. It happened so often, it became his trademark.
In addition to an estate on Miami’s Hibiscus Island in Biscayne Bay, Rand also owned a villa at the Jamaica Reef, a resort once owned by close friend, actor Errol Flynn, in Port Antonio on the island of Jamaica. During his times there, he was famous for throwing lavish parties and would often land his private Grumman Goose seaplane on the beach in front of the hotel.
What many didn’t know, outside of his station GMs, was that Rex didn’t pay his bills and owed his national rep and the music licensing companies a fortune. His home on Hibiscus Island was mortgaged to the hilt and he eventually had to sell his island-hotel retreat in Jamaica. He was virtually broke.
Rand’s life came to a tragic end when his helicopter crashed just after take-off on a trip from Tampa to Miami.
1960 - 1981 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)