Music plays an essential role in many people’s lives. For power couple Thomas and Christine Blardo, rock music has been central to everything they do. While many challenges and trials have come to shake the foundations of their rock station WMFR Fortress Radio, the company has withstood them all to prove that it truly is a fortress as solid as rock music itself.
Thomas and Christine run the radio show out of an edifice that literally looks like a fortress. Yet behind that firm exterior is a backstory that has become a source of inspiration for entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed by times that seem like nothing is going their way. Most people know the Blardos by their on-air names—“Beast and Lady Rose.” The two are serial entrepreneurs who currently run four highly successful businesses, WMFR being one of them. But the road that the show has taken to get to where they are now has been far from easy.
In 2004, Christine started the show, which was known back then as “Metal Fortress.” She ran it with her son Christopher and aired on WHUS 91.7 FM, playing some of the most iconic rock songs on repeat for metal and rock fans all over. For the duo, the project was not just a business venture but also a form of therapy for Christina, who had just come out of an abusive relationship.
After meeting Thomas “The Beast” Blardo and with Christopher being deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, Metal Fortress would relaunch with a revamped model. Thomas was a musician himself and shared Lady Rose’s love for rock music. Together they would take the show to new heights. 2016 would be a hallmark year for the business as it would join VA’s Warped Tour and go around the United States, building national renown. Two years later, the radio show would change its name into WMFR Fortress Radio and partner with many critical music and events companies.
In 2020, the company would face troubled times. After opening a physical merchandise store for branded WMFR Fortress Radio items, COVID-19 would hit and force the economy into a global standstill. After lockdowns eased and the economy started to pick up, tragedy would strike the business once more after a car moving at 130 miles per hour would ram into the radio show’s location and leave it in a total wreck. For the next few months, they would rebuild. During that season of refurbishing, Beast and Lady Rose came up with the ingenious idea of creating the station to look like a literal fortress.
Christine and Thomas share that WMFR Fortress Radio is for something greater than just commerce. It’s a monument of endurance and perseverance for the sake of something that one loves. For the couple, their mission to play rock songs that no one airs anymore has inspired them to withstand all that the world throws at them and keep coming out of turbulent times stronger than ever before.
Today, WMFR Fortress Radio continues to shape Connecticut’s rock landscape and lead the way for other small business owners by inspiring them to keep going despite these uncertain times. The station is also gearing up to open a recording studio for aspiring musicians sometime in the Fall of 2021. Learn more about WMFR Fortress Radio by visiting its website.