This page last updated Sunday, March 09, 2014

 
 

 

Welcome to 79WAKY.com...a tribute to Louisville, Kentucky's ORIGINAL WAKY radio!
"
Great site for former WAKY people, WAKY lovers, Top 40 Radio lovers, Great Radio lovers, etc."
- George Francis, former WAKY General Manager

GET
Bill Bailey: A Louisville Legend AND
WAKY Remembered for just $25,
U.S. postage paid;

SAVE $10!

Details here.

What's New

March 9, 2014

The WAKY survey for January 21, 1964 (the one that shows The Monarchs as #1) has been added here, thanks to Leonard Yates.

November 28, 2013

We upgraded our online presentation of WAKY's 1979 JAM Tri-Star jingle package with additional cuts and mix-outs.

August 19, 2013

Thanks to Tim Tyler who sent us a Jack Sanders commercial demo tape (circa 1970). Listen to and/or download it on our Jack Sanders Page. We also added several WAKY Music Surveys from 1964/65.

August 11, 2013

Two more WAKY Tim Tyler airchecks have been added here: January 3, 1964 and April 1, 1970. Plus, we posted a great July 3, 1979 aircheck of Bill Bailey with newsman Bob Moody here.

July 8, 2013

We have a new aircheck of Tim Tyler, courtesy Don Schwartz. Recorded in June of 1963, it features Tim doing his WAKY show in Japanese in honor of "Sukiyaki" hitting #1. English translation is provided by Jim Brand. Find it here.

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 here.

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 WAKY-WKLO Reunion 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

December 26, 2011

Thanks to former 1962 WINN/WAKY DJ Adam Jones for three new pics for Photo Page 1.

December 25, 2011

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.

December 12, 2011

Christmas just ain't Christmas at 79WAKY.com without a listen to Dude Walker and Weird Beard's original WAKY Christmas shows.

November 27, 2011

An aircheck of a great 1969 Bob Watson newscast has been added here. Recognize the voice of the first phoned-in reporter?

November 26, 2011

Mike Wascher (who was "Bill Graham" at WAKY) sends us a bunch of cool Super 79 airchecks including 1975 recordings from Tom Dooley, Coyote Calhoun and Steve Cook, plus three airchecks from Bill Bailey. (Look for the light blue backgrounds.) More to come!

November 20, 2011

Thanks to Bob Moody for e-mailing a great-looking 1973 pic of the late Woody Stiles. See it on Photo Page 13.

September 2, 2011

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.

July 23, 2011

Our appreciation to Ben "Rudy Ratfink" Pflederer for the June 2011 pics of the 790 AM transmitter site. See them here.

June 23, 2011

Thanks to David Ford for the 1955 pics of the future Jack Sanders. See them here.

January 19, 2011

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!

December 6, 2010

Thanks to Jason Hines for the WAKY survey from March 17, 1967.

November 13, 2010

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.

November 10, 2010

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.

August 24, 2010

We've replaced the low-fi RealVideo clip of the 2005 WAKY-WKLO Reunion with a much better quality version, streamed from YouTube.

Old What's New Items

 


If you'd like to help financially in our efforts in keeping this site up and running, you can make a donation through PayPal. If you'd rather contribute via check or money order, contact us for the mailing address. Any amount will be appreciated. Thank you!
-- John Quincy (a.k.a. Ted Tatman)

The Beginnings of WAKY

From the Louisville Times, June 6, 1958
Agreement Near on Sale of WGRC for $750,000

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 capacities.

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 Don Keyes (1989). Gordon's secretary, Billie Odom, suggested WAKY (pronounced "wacky"), call letters that Don Keyes declared were "a natural" (Keyes, 1989).

"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." (Keyes, 1989)

[Excerpts from Gordon McLendon: The Maverick of Radio by Ronald Garay]



Check out LKYRadio.com, which salutes other
Louisville and Lexington radio stations.

If you're a fan of Louisville's other great Top 40 station of the '60s and '70s, check out 1080WKLO.com.
 

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 contact us.

WAKY-WKLO 2006 Reunion Review Page
Get "WAKY Remembered" and "Bill Bailey: A Louisville Legend" for just $25, postage paid! Details here.

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 103.5 WAKY.

Why 79WAKY.com?

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, Dude Walker, Gary Burbank, Weird Beard and Mason Lee Dixon. The music presentation was upbeat and fun. WAKY was big time radio.

I 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 WTMA 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.

79WAKY.com 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!

-- John Quincy, Charleston, South Carolina

About The Curator

Even though he was born 15 years earlier, Lexington, Kentucky native John Quincy [Real name: 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 teacher told 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 is Program Director at News-Talker WTMA in Charleston. Along with his radio work, he does regular mobile DJ gigs plus creates and maintains Web sites including tribute sites to Charleston radio stations WTMA WCSC and WOKE, as well as pre-1990s Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky radio.

Cool Links

WCSC, Charleston Tribute Site
WKLO, Louisville Tribute Site
LKYRadio.com (Louisville and Lexington Radio Tribute Site)
WTMA, Charleston Tribute Site
WQAM, Miami Tribute Site

Max Highbaugh's 14WIEL Online