This page last updated
Monday, February 25, 2013
Welcome to 79WAKY.com...a tribute to Louisville, Kentucky's
for former WAKY people, WAKY lovers, Top 40 Radio lovers, Great
Radio lovers, etc."
- George Francis, former WAKY General Manager
Bill Bailey: A Louisville Legend
WAKY Remembered for just $25,
U.S. postage paid;
you save $10!
February 25, 2013
A 5-minute free preview of "WAKY Remembered" is now
on this page, joining the 10-minute
free preview of "Bill Bailey: A Louisville Legend."
November 26, 2012
A new page has been added:
Mike Griffin WAKY
Talk Show Airchecks. A Kris Kelley WAKY Talk Show aircheck has
been added here too.
November 8, 2012
We're saddened to hear of the passing of 1960s WAKY
DJ/PD Jim Brand. His bio has been updated with his obituary
October 27, 2012
A scan of a WAKY "Fred & Frank Derby" promotional
item was added here.
July 10, 2012
We've added video from the 2012
here. A DVD version is also available.
January 29, 2012
Three new 103-5 WAKY airchecks have
been posted here: John Quincy's
2010 and 2011 guest DJ appearances, plus the Bill Bailey tribute
hour with Johnny Randolph and Les Cook. We also added 2011 videos of
JQ and JR on WAKY-FM here.
January 26, 2012
Reed Yadon's excellent remembrance of
Bill Bailey has been posted here.
January 22, 2012
Finally...we have a Jack Sanders WAKY
aircheck to share! A great big Super 79 thank you to Vee Lamb for
the March 1961 recording, which
includes newsman Thom Hall.
January 14, 2012
The Duke of Louisville has left us.
Bill Bailey passed away this morning at the age of 81:
Bill Bailey Tribute Page
Thanks to former 1962 WINN/WAKY DJ Adam Jones for
three new pics for Photo Page 1.
We've added a Bill
Graham Aircheck Page chock full of 1970s WAKY newscasts,
sportscasts and public affairs vignettes from Mr. G.
You'll also find PA vignettes from Woody Stiles and
Reed Yadon here, including a
"Seasons of the Cyclone" series that should be of interest to those
who survived the April 1974 tornadoes. Thanks to Mike Wascher for
all of these.
Christmas just ain't Christmas at 79WAKY.com without
a listen to Dude Walker and Weird Beard's original WAKY
An aircheck of a great 1969 Bob Watson newscast has
been added here. Recognize the
voice of the first phoned-in reporter?
Mike Wascher (who was "Bill Graham" at WAKY) sends us
a bunch of cool Super 79 airchecks including 1975 recordings from
Coyote Calhoun and
Steve Cook, plus three airchecks
from Bill Bailey. (Look for
the light blue backgrounds.) More to come!
Thanks to Bob Moody for e-mailing a great-looking
1973 pic of the late Woody Stiles. See it on
Photo Page 13.
We posted video of the August 16, 2011 edition of
WAVE-TV's "Live From 725 South Floyd Street". It features a tribute
to legendary WKLO and WAKY morning man, Bill Bailey, complete with
appearances from former and current WAKY personalities. Find it on
the WAKY Video Page.
Our appreciation to Ben "Rudy Ratfink" Pflederer for
the June 2011 pics of the 790 AM transmitter site. See them
Thanks to David Ford for the 1955 pics of the future
Jack Sanders. See them here.
We're delighted to announce the availability of our
newest Super 79 CD collection: The Best of
79WAKY.com. Each of the five discs contains 79 minutes of the
best airchecks and interviews from this site, professionally
narrated and produced. Get your copy today!
Thanks to Jason Hines for the
WAKY survey from March 17, 1967.
As we remember the life of Tom Dooley, other places
on this site to check out are his listing on the
DJs page, the Tom Dooley Showtime Review
flyer, and the March 8, 2007 edition of WFBK's
Louisville's Lost & Found featuring
Tom Dooley and the Lovelights.
1968 and 1974-76 WAKY afternoon drive DJ "The Real"
Tom Dooley has passed away due to complications from brain cancer.
Remember how great he sounded on WAKY
here, and listen to our 2005
interview with Tom here.
We've replaced the low-fi RealVideo clip of the 2005
WAKY-WKLO Reunion with a
much better quality version, streamed from YouTube.
July 24, 2010
Thanks to Gerry Cunningham for sending us the
1959 Movie Mirror Jack Sanders
article that set up the 1960 article we've had on the
Jack Sanders Page for a while.
June 21, 2010
Check out in-studio video of John Quincy and Johnny
Randolph in action on 103-5 WAKY from earlier this month
June 13, 2010
On June 9, 2010 your humble webmaster
had fun doing a 100-minute airshift on 103-5 WAKY. Check out a
scoped aircheck here.
May 31, 2010
Thanks to Byron Crawford and Rich
Gimmel for the just-added March 1968
aircheck of Rich doing WAKY news, plus an aircheck of a 1968
Weird Beard pre-recorded show
Old What's New Items
From the Louisville Times, June 6,
Agreement Near on Sale of WGRC for
Final arrangements for the sale of radio station WGRC here to a
Dallas, Tex., firm were expected to be completed today.
J. Porter Smith, president of the Northside Broadcasting
Corporation -- owner of WGRC -- said the price for the local station
was about $750,000. He added that the sale, if completed, will be
subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission.
The prospective purchaser is the McLendon Corporation of Dallas,
which operates three stations in Texas and one in Louisiana.
WGRC moved to Louisville in 1942 after six years of operating in
New Albany. Its offices are in the Kentucky Home Life Building. The
station has 5,000 watts during the day and 1,000 watts at night. It
operates on 790 kilocycles.
Gordon McLendon, son of McLendon Corporation head Barton
McLendon, broadcast sports on the old McLendon Liberty Network here
some years ago.
Smith and WGRC vice-president and general manager Charles L.
Harris would remain with the proposed new for a year in advisory
McLendon owned WAKY
for three years and six months, selling the station in 1962.
Probably no call letters for a Top 40
station were as descriptive as those given the McLendon Station in
Louisville. The station's original call letters were WGRC -- the GRC
in honor of Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark. When WGRC
became a McLendon Station, though, an effort was made to create a
"ziggy call sign that people remember and that kids relate to," said
(1989). Gordon's secretary, Billie Odom, suggested WAKY (pronounced
"wacky"), call letters that Don Keyes declared were "a natural"
"We were there to come in and invade
Louisville, Kentucky. And that was...probably the biggest success
story of the whole chain. We went from zero to a 60 percent Hooper
Rating in two months. Absolutely destroyed people. When we went in,
there was an old-timer called WINN. They were the music station for
Louisville, Kentucky. They were playing fifteen minute segments of a
given artist. That was the state of Louisville radio 1957 or 1958.
Fifteen minutes of Kaye Starr, fifteen minutes of Frank Sinatra,
fifteen minutes of Mantovani. That was it....And we went on the air
with the usual flying circus. It was devastating, just devastating."
[Excerpts from Gordon McLendon:
The Maverick of Radio by Ronald Garay]
LKYRadio.com, which salutes
Louisville and Lexington radio stations.
If you're a fan of
Louisville's other great Top 40 station of the '60s and '70s, check
Thanks to all the
former WAKY and WKLO employees and fans who have made the WAKY and
WKLO Tribute Sites possible by sending airchecks, photos and
promotional items. If you have any WAKY or WKLO material you'd like
to make available to these projects, please
Reunion Review Page
Remembered" and "Bill Bailey: A Louisville Legend" for just $20,
postage paid! Details
79WAKY.com welcomes the WAKY
call letters back to the Derby City! On May 11, 2007, WASE-FM in
Elizabethtown changed their calls to WAKY, while
maintaining their popular oldies format. Now much of the
Louisville market can enjoy the music and jingles that made
WAKY famous in FM stereo on
For over 20 years, WAKY (790 AM) in Louisville,
Kentucky was one of the most influential and highly-respected
secondary market Top 40 stations in America.
In the summer of 1970
while visiting Louisville for a week, I discovered WAKY. I had never
heard radio like WAKY before. The station boasted strong and entertaining
personalities like Bill Bailey,
Burbank, Weird Beard and
Mason Lee Dixon. The
music presentation was upbeat and fun. WAKY was big time radio.
was so impressed with WAKY that when I returned home to Lexington,
Kentucky (90 miles from Louisville) I
started paying more attention to the local radio stations while
continuing to listen to WAKY every chance I could get. Because of
the spark WAKY ignited in me, I pursued a career in on-air radio
which continues today at
in Charleston, South Carolina.
In 2003, with the
assistance of legendary WAKY Program Director Johnny Randolph,
I produced a one-hour audio tribute to WAKY.
WAKY Remembered became one of the
more popular streaming presentations on
ReelRadio.com. CD copies
were made for many WAKY fans and alumni. Due to all of
the positive feedback, in late 2004 I decided to put together a
sequel. Interviews were recorded
with many former WAKY DJs and Newsmen.
In the process of talking to these "Louisville Legends" the question
kept coming up: "Why hasn't anybody put together a WAKY tribute Website?"
Because WAKY was such an influence to me not only
as teenager but as a broadcaster -- and because nobody else had done
one -- I put the sequel on hold and launched this WAKY tribute site in January of 2005.
features downloadable WAKY jingles and airchecks, photos and music
surveys, information about the WAKY on-air personalities, and
memories from other WAKY fans.
We cover the entire history of WAKY
here: from its launch as a Top 40 station in 1958 -- to its Adult
Contemporary days in the late '70s and early '80s -- to its final
rock-based format (Oldies) between 1982 and the station's switch to
automated Beautiful Music in 1986.
If you have any WAKY
memories (pictures, tapes, promotional material, etc.) you wish to share with our site's visitors please drop me a line. A great big
thank-you to all former WAKY
personnel and fans who've contributed thus far!
Charleston, South Carolina
About The Curator
Even though he was born 15
years earlier, Lexington, Kentucky native John Quincy [Real
Ted Tatman] didn't really
discover Top 40 radio until he smuggled in a transistor radio to a
church camp outside of Louisville in the summer of 1970. After a few
hours of listening to the legendary WAKY in his dorm room, he caught
the radio fever. Upon his return to Lexington and a visit to local
stations to find out how radio stations really performed that on-air
magic, he was hooked.
Shortly thereafter a high school
him about a Junior Achievement program being sponsored by WVLK-AM.
Every Wednesday night WVLK would turn over a half hour of their
programming to high school kids who would sell, operate, and
program it. Quincy made sure he was one of the ones chosen to be one
of the teen DJs.
Between his junior and senior year
of high school, Quincy scored a summer job
working seven days a week at WBGR AM & FM in Paris, Kentucky. Most
of the time was spent running the board for Cincinnati Reds baseball games, but for
part of each shift he got to play DJ. While it was country music
(which was especially bad in the early '70s), it was radio. From
that point, Quincy never looked back.
There were stints
at other Lexington area radio stations (WEKY,
WAXU, WCBR, WKDJ, and WBLG) before Quincy got the call in 1979 to
escape Lexington's mostly awful winters and work in sunny Savannah, Georgia
(WKBX and WZAT). Then in 1981, Quincy moved up the coast to
Charleston, South Carolina to take on PM drive duties at rock
station WSSX. Later Charleston
gigs included AC WXTC (where he spent nearly 10 years as PD), All
70s WJUK, Country WBUB, Oldies WXLY, News-Talk WTMA, Country
WNKT and AC WSUY. Subscribers
to Tom Konard's
Aircheck Factory service might remember Quincy
as one of the narrators of "Around The Dial" and various profiles.
Today Quincy wears multiple hats (assistant program
director, technical director, morning show producer, imaging guy) at
WTMA in Charleston. Along with his radio work, he does
DJ gigs plus creates and maintains Web sites including tribute
sites to Charleston radio stations
WOKE, as well as pre-1990s
Lexington, Kentucky radio.
LKYRadio.com (Louisville and Lexington Radio Tribute Site)
Charleston Tribute Site
WQAM, Miami Tribute
Highbaugh's 14WIEL Online