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
June 27, 2021
Added an aircheck of Jon Wolfert's June 2021 Rewound
Radio spotlight on WAKY jingles here.
October 4, 2020
Louisville radio personality Mason Lee Dixon passed
away on September 24, 2020. Remember how MLD sounded on WAKY
August 3, 2020
Hear Rip Rinehart's July 25, 2020 "Back Tracks"
tribute to Johnny Randolph here.
August 1, 2020
Listen to Joe Fedele's conversations with Gary
Burbank, Coyote Calhoun and Byron Crawford about their Johnny
Randolph memories here.
July 23, 2020
So sad to hear about the passing of AM 790 WAKY
Program Director and Air Personality Johnny Randolph, who died in
his sleep on July 22, 2020. Remember how Johnny sounded on the
original WAKY here.
November 11, 2018
On one of his 2018 Sunday afternoon shows for Rewound
Radio, JAM Creative Productions president Jon Wolfert did a feature
on jingles from Louisville's WAKY and WKLO. Hear it
May 29, 2017
More photos have been added to the WAKY Photo Pages,
while many others have been replaced with better-looking versions.
April 25, 2017
We've done a pretty significant
overhaul of the WAKY Photo Pages. This
included adding new pics, improving the look of existing images and
doing a bit of reorganization.
December 12, 2016
Our appreciation to WMST's Chris Erwin for sending us
a copy of his November 21, 2016 interview with WAKY's Johnny
Randolph. Listen to it
July 4, 2016
Thanks to Bob Moody for sending us
airchecks of his last two
newscasts with Bill Bailey (December 1979), plus
promos that ran before WAKY
switched to Oldies on March 1, 1982.
April 11, 2016
What was it like when 790 WGRC in Louisville became
790 WAKY in the summer of 1958? Check out our 2016
audio interview with
someone who was there, former WGRC/WAKY control engineer James
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
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."
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.
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]
WAKY Fast Facts
The McClendon Corporation's first day
of ownership of 790 AM in Louisville was July 8, 1958.
The previous owner of 790 AM (WGRC)
was North Side Broadcasting Corporation.
After McLendon sold WAKY to LIN
Broadcasting, the next owner was officially called WAKY, Inc.
The ownership change was on January 19, 1962.
WAKY was sold to Multimedia Radio,
Inc. on May 15, 1975.
If you're into to call letters, studio and
transmitter locations and various technical minutiae about WGRC and
WAKY going back to WGRC's original sign-on in the 1930s, check out
the link below. Among the things you'll discover is the future
WAKY was on two other frequencies before moving to 790 in the late
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 early 1962.
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
call letters returned to the Louisville market on May 11, 2007
when oldies station 103.5 WASE-FM in Elizabethtown changed their calls to WAKY. Now much of the
Louisville market can enjoy the music and jingles that made
WAKY famous in FM stereo on
As of 2015 the new WAKY can be heard in Kentuckiana at 100.1 FM and
620 AM as well.
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, Johnny Randolph,Gary
Burbank, Weird Beard and Mason Lee Dixon. The
music presentation was upbeat and fun. WAKY was big time radio that
could hold its own to similarly-formatted stations in New York,
Chicago and Los Angeles.
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!
Even though he was born 15
years earlier, Lexington, Kentucky native John Quincy 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'sAircheck Factory service might remember Quincy
as one of the narrators of "Around The Dial" and various profiles.