listening to WAKYOnline and I'm sitting here with Bill Bailey, the ol' Duke of
Louisville and Dude Walker, as well. Bill, it's been 30-40 years since your
reign on the Louisville airwaves, first on Radio WKLO, then on the Super 79.
And 20 years since you left those airwaves for Lexington. Still, without
question Louisville absolutely loves you…they remember you, still ask about
you, and to most folks, myself included, you are tops. You made the comment
last July you were not worthy of all the recognition you have received. Even
for the Duke of Louisville, that's got to be overwhelming and humbling. If you
could say anything to your fans, both from back in the day and who may still
listen to you on WAKYOnline, what would that be?
Bill: I want you to
know I've been recognized throughout the state of Kentucky. As a matter of
fact in Lexington, Kentucky, I have a port-o-can named after me! And can you
believe everybody in the state wanted to use that one port-o-can?
Bill Bailey and Dude Walker
Max: You and the
gentleman next to you, Dude Walker, go back a long time. What are some of your
favorite memories of each other?
Bill: Well the first
time I (met) Dude Walker I was bailing him out of jail! He was in jail for
imitating a cop! Can you believe that? Does he look like a police officer to
you? (To which I replied, he did at the moment with his mirrored shades.)
Well, he was the one that arrested me! Good gawd, man, I've been arrested by
Max: What about
you, Dude…what are some of your fondest memories about the Duke?
Dude: First of all,
I've never been in jail in my life (Bill busts out laughing) and
second of all, the first thing I remember about Duke is coming to Louisville
from Memphis and listening to the radio to see what the competition sounded
like and I heard Bill and I thought, man, there is no way we're ever going to
beat this guy on the air. And if I had the talent that Bill Bailey has, who is
by far the greatest disk jockey I've ever heard or worked with either, if I
had the talent he had, I'd be a millionaire right now and be living in Florida
on the coast. But the thing I remember about Bill was he was the same thing
off the air as he was on the air and he was extremely friendly and very nice
to me and the days he couldn't make it to work I enjoyed working for him and
eating the food everybody brought him.
Bill: Yeah, I'm
extremely friendly, alright. What he doesn't know is while he's sitting down
telling other people about me I'm going through his clothes…I'm trying to pick
Max: Did you ever
come up with anything missing?
Dude: No, I never
came up with anything missing, you know? Like I said, what you heard from Bill
on the radio is what you got in person. And if you went out and had a drink
with him (Bill remarks ‘like they all did'), which I occasionally did
when I was younger (I can't do that anymore with diabetes), he was just as
funny sitting at the bar or across the table as he is on the air. He's just a
Max: Do you ever
hear from past judges and mayors that you may have been friends with back over
the years (like Todd Hollenbach)?
Bill: Yeah (then
he asks if I mean who listened to the program…and then kind of goes off
track.) Oh, my God, thousands of them! And I love everyone of
them…especially the girls! (see what I meant?) But I haven't gotten
around to marrying them all yet!
Max: While we're
on that subject, how man times HAVE you been married?
Bill: More times
than I care to mention. Let's stick with four, okay? That's enough…
Bill Bailey, Dude Walker and Cynthia Walker
Max: What do you
consider your crowning achievement at Radio WKLO and WAKY…and in general?
Bill: My crowning
achievement really was to be with WAKY radio. You know WAKY radio was more
than just a simple radio station. It was a MONUMENT to radio. I'm tickled to
death that I was a part of it.
Max: How many
locations were you at...were you just at the one on Fourth Street or were you
at the Kentucky (Life) Building?
Bill: I was at the
one on Fourth Street.
Dude: That was the
main one. The one with all the memories.
Bill: Yeah, that's
the one with all the memories. The one before that was…NOTHING! (sorry, Ben
and Tim!) It was just a Top 40 radio station. They just played their 40
records, or less than that…and we came in and we changed it. That was not
a Top 40 radio station.
Bill: Heck, no. Good
gawd, man, we played every darn thing we wanted to play. As a matter of fact,
Johnny Randolph broke country music…a number of country songs were
broke on WAKY. One was ‘Silver Sheets' (to which Dude corrected ‘Satin
Sheets'). Satin Sheets, I'm sorry…you know I'm getting my material mixed
Charlie Rich "Behind Closed Doors", Ray Price "For The Good Times"…
Bill: Oh, man, "For
The Good Times"…
Dude: …"Delta Dawn"
by Tanya Tucker…
Bill: Who wrote that
song, "For The Good Times"?
Bill: Right you are!
And I've got a copy of him singing it.
Dude: That's one of
my favorite songs…
Bill: And I've got a
copy of him singing it and I'll tell ya he (does it beautifully). He sings
that song so beautifully it brings tears to my eyes.
Dude: "For The Good
Times"…that's one of my all time favorites.
Max: That's why
(we) added that song to our playlist…
Dude: Oh, is that
right? I love it, I really do…
Max: Okay, last
question, I think I asked this of you a minute ago, if you could say anything
to your listeners over the years, back from the '60s and '70s and even the
ones who are listening to you today on WAKYOnline…what would that be?
Bill: Well, I'd say
thanks for being a friend.
Dude: You know WAKY
wasn't a Top 40 radio station, it was EVERYBODY'S radio station. (Bill
laughs) It appealed to everybody, you know? My thing has always been that
I was grateful for all the people who made living in Louisville the greatest
time in my life. And it truly was. And I miss it.
Max: Do you think
that you will ever return to Louisville?
Dude: You know, I
have a grandson who is my pride and joy, and if my daughter and son-in-law
were to move here with him, I'd move back tomorrow, but I'm not gonna leave my
grandson, as much as I love Louisville. I enjoy coming back all the time.
Bill Bailey and Dude Walker
Max: There was a
question I skipped over…who has visited you recently that might be notable?
Bill: I've had
Mike McVay here, and Bob Moody, and George Francis (a former
General Manager) and Gary Burbank and of course the magnificent Dude
Walker, who is sitting right here. (Dude laughs). And his lovely bride
(Dude's still laughing), whom I'm gonna steal from him (miraculously,
Dude's still laughing)…but he can laugh that off, Pal!
Max: Are you
looking forward to being at the next WAKY/WKLO reunion?
Bill: Oh, gawd,
yeah, man! Well, you know the last time we had a reunion, I was in no position
to drink anything. I've got a lot of cool time to make up for! I didn't eat OR
drink anything. But I was in bad shape. But I'll be able to take a little
drink next time. Just for old time's sake.
Dude: For the Good
Bill: Yeah, that's
right, for the good times!
Bill: They say my
old pals, are the best pals after all, boom-boom-boom (or something like
Max: You've heard
it first on WAKYOnline (actually he's sang before on WAKY…and I can't believe
I used that cliché!)
Bill: I think my
singing is making me sick!
Max: We've been
talking with Bill Bailey, the Duke of Louisville, and Dude Walker on