Tuesday, October 19, 2021

I recently visited the refurbished Farragut Hotel in downtown Knoxville. I wanted to see if the old spot where WGYW/WJBE radio station was located still existed. I was disappointed to see that the plaque on the wall said James Brown bought in 1969 which is incorrect. On the blog post it says the station was purchased in 1967 which is also incorrect. 

I was a student at the Fulton High School broadcasting class from 1962-1966 with Joanna Huffman as instructor. My junior year (1965) I was an intern for Bob Baron at night at WKGN when I first met owner George Mooney who was the "Voice of the Vols" at that time. That started my lifelong pursuit of of being a play by play sportscaster (more on that later). I also had the opportunity to do some work with Dr. Al Adams (Johnson). 

My senior year in high school was 1966 and if you had enough credits and you had a job working in your chosen field, you could get out of school half a day to work. I was fortunate enough to get the afternoon drive show on WGYW "Countrypolitan Radio" in May of 1966. I replaced Big Jim Hess who was leaving radio to go to the new WTVK television station. Dr. Al also did a show on the new TV station called "Discoteen" which was a takeoff of American Bandstand. Toni Cline who was a classmate of mine at Fulton also got a job at WGYW as the secretary/receptionist at the same time I worked there.

I thought it was a great job because it was in the basement of a fancy hotel and right across Gay Street was Nan Denton's Orange Julius which is where we ate everyday before going on the air at 3pm. All of the other DJs including Cousin George Goins were looking for other jobs. I had only been there for about a month when I found out why everyone was leaving. James Brown was buying the station and changing it to a soul format. James Brown did come to the station with his new General Manager, Don Law, who was from New York. They replaced all of the time slots with black DJs except for my time slot. They told me that the DJ who was replacing me (Daddy O'Lark) was in jail in New Orleans for non payment of child support and alimony and asked me if I could stay and work for 2 weeks.

At the end of the 2 weeks, the new guy was still not there so they asked me to stay for 2 more weeks, which I did. In the meantime I applied for a job with Arthur Wilkerson at WLIL radio in Lenoir City. After working for WJBE for 4 weeks they asked if I could stay for 2 more weeks, which I did. Sure enough at the end of the last 2 weeks (6 weeks in all) I was hired by Wilkerson at WLIL. Meanwhile the WJBE people asked me to stay another 2 weeks but I told them I had another job and could not do it. By the way, since I was leaving WJBE anyway, they asked me if I wanted all of the country music albums at the station because they had no need for them. I took several hundred albums and kept them until 2019 when I started downsizing and sold them to a local record dealer.

When I started at WLIL (July 1966) I figured I would be there about a year. The year turned in to a 54 year career where I went from DJ to Vice President and General Manager  of the Wilkerson Broadcast group which owned 5 stations in Tennessee. Counting my 4 years on the Fulton radio station I was involved in the radio business for 58 years. I retired in August of 2019 'cause radio ain't what it used to be. As part of my job I did play by play football/basketball/baseball games for 54 seasons. Here's a twist to the story. In 2012 I had the great privilege of being inducted into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame as a broadcaster. One of the perks of the induction was that you appear as a guest on The Sports Animal afternoon show with john Wilkerson and Jimmy Hyams. On that show they let people call in and ask questions. The very first call was a gentleman who asked me if I remembered working on WGYW in 1966. In 1966 I was dating a girl who was a senior at Bearden High School and this gentleman was her next door neighbor who also went to Bearden. He said each day she rode with him to and from school and when they were coming home in the afternoon she always made him turn the radio to WGYW so she could listen to me. The gentleman made the comment that he hated country music at the time, but after having to to listen to it every afternoon for a year he had become a lifelong fan of country. 

I think where the confusion comes in about the date that James Brown bought the station is that people are confusing the date that he bought the station with the date that he moved it out of the Farragut Hotel to Magnolia Avenue which I think was sometime in 1967. The purchase date was definitely the May-July period of 1966 because I WAS THERE!! I didn't mean to ramble on so long but after all I did work in radio.

Thanks!

Glenn McNish

glennmcnish@aol.com

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Here's a 101 Reload- originally posted on December 21, 2007~

From the 101 inbox...  

Gary Adkins...I stumbled onto your blog. It brought back some great memories. I started out doing weekends at W149 in 1971. I was at W149 until its demise in 1975 (or thereabouts), with 15Q throughout its brief (but memorable) history and with WOKI from 1977 until 1985. At various times I did morning drive, afternoon drive, middays, and was PD with W149 and WOKI. I have been practicing law in Knoxville since 1986. The biggest difference between being a lawyer and being a jock? Now I don't have to put on a long record when I want to go to the bathroom. I put on Free Bird to go to the bathroom so many times back in the day that I finally became conditioned like Pavlov's Dog. Now every time I hear Free Bird I immediately crap my pants. When I have some spare time I will share a few stories. Believe me...I have a few. Especially from W149.  

Mike Clark...Man I love this site! Yep, in '83 U-102 had been on the air for two years. I started out anchoring afternoon news in '81 (Colvin Idol did the morning news) but had moved to mornings by '83. It was really interesting: our studio was in Sevierville, on Middlecreek Road, but we had a sales office on Magnolia Avenue in Knoxville, where our street reporters (including news director Roger Hawkins) were headquartered. 

Bill Beason...A story about my friend Jim Wilson. He came to WRJZ from WCRK Morristown where he and I had worked together back in the early 70s. When Doc Fidler fired me in '83, Jim was very upset. I talked with Phil Hunt and Jim became AM Drive at KIX95. After I moved on Jim was convinced to rejoin Fidler doing afternoons at WOKI in late '83. Wilson went on to work in the Greenville, SC market. In 2004, while I was visiting Jim at his home, he fell about 30 feet head first onto his paved driveway. Today, Jim has very little memory of his time spent in radio. However, he does remember me and we get together from time to time. He does not have an email address or phone for obvious reasons...but I'm sure some of your readers will be interested to know Jim is slowly recovering and some memory is returning.  

Chad Austin...Just wanted to let you know that I emailed Doc (Shotgun) this morning to let him know that he has been mentioned on the "Ktown Radio History 101" site. I have managed to stay in touch with him for the past 22 years and we talk via email at least once or twice a week. I encouraged him to email you guys and share some of his memories from back when he was here in Knoxville at WOKI from 1984 to 1986. Hopefully you guys will hear from him. 

Don Lindsey...Well, THIS is fun! Just stumbled on KtownRadio and it's a pure pleasure. Seeing some names and remembering balky equipment I haven't thought about in more than one decade. Did Foulk mention he and Carl Williams are the two people most responsible for getting me the AAA job I've had for the last 30 years? I'll try to come up with an anecdote or two to share if you like. Like discovering the previously unknown paper cut on my finger when pouring liquid freon on a cloth to clean heads and rollers.Thank you for putting this together! WSEV 67-69/WBIR 70-77  

Dave Young...1983 was a great year. My oldest son was born on Jan. 3rd and I was working at am 850 WIVK. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

got foto?

There's nothing more groovy than olde radio photos...this is Randy Miller interviewing "Wings" TV star Crystal Bernard back in the day on 96KX Pittsburgh!

Send your photos to KtownRadio@gmail.com.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Here's a 101 Reload...

Here's a long story you can use when you need one, George. My second shortest radio gig was at Top 40 WTAL in Tallahassee, FL. In early 1971, when I was only 20, I was hired to do mornings there by new PD Ross (The Boss Hoss) Brooks (who later programmed country WNOX and was a fixture for years in Nashville doing PM Drive at WLAC). I drove up to the building on Phillips Drive and remember stopping in the driveway to stare at an American flag painted over the entire front side of the building. Remember, this was at the height of the Vietnam War. Most rock stations were playing anti-war songs, not waving flags. Turns out that the local owner was a bona fide member of the John Birch Society. I looked at the playlist and noticed no songs by Aretha, The Four Tops, Temptations, etc. I asked Ross why and he said the owner didn't want us to play records by black artists. My first morning on the air, the owner called at 6:15 and ordered me to change my on-air name - Brother Lee Love. He felt it had "racial overtones." The owner also had a system of fines for everything from stumbling on the air to saying something he didn't like. I was hit with a hefty fine for starting the pre-recorded Paul Harvey Show late, another big one when a tape machine broke on my air shift through no fault of my own, and a couple of dozen minor fines. After two days, I owed the station more than I had earned so I quit. Ross said that if I would hang around town a few days, we could ride back to Tennessee together. He wanted to quit but knew it would be difficult to get his check unless he waited until payday. About a week later, Brother Ross was fired for trying to sneak a Dionne Warwick record into the rotation. Brother Ross & I remained good friends until his death. I had to appeal to the Florida Board of Labor before I received a check many months later. (Suitcase Simpson)

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Remembering The Chairman


Bill Regas passed away Monday morning at age 92. Affectionately known as Poppy these days, those of us falling under his restaurant tree referred to Bill as The Chairman.

What's the radio connection? In 1953 when WIVK went on the air, the station was on Gay Street across from Regas Restaurant. 1953 was also the year Bill became Regas GM after his Dad's passing.

I'm proud to have worked for both Bobby Denton and Bill Regas, two of Knoxville's true legends. 

Bill was past President of the National Restaurant Association and was at the helm of Grady's Goodtimes starting in 1982 along with Grady, Frank Regas, Gus Regas, Mike Connor, Rick Federico and Kevin Thompson.

I like to say my career went from "platters to platters"...records to restaurants! I was an original Goodtimer at Grady's in 1982 and when I exited in 1995 I was responsible for 25 of the 50 restaurants. Like working for Bobby, being associated with Bill was an honor and a life shaping experience.

May his memory be eternal!

Monday, August 02, 2021

When I joined WIVK in 1976, as an 18 year old UT freshman, the station was located on Bearden Hill and the building addition was still a few years away. You could enter up the steps to the reception area but the jocks normally came in thru the basement door where Booby had his office. I can still see the stack of 45 records sitting on his desk. If you weren't careful you would hit your head going up the steps to the control rooms. Back then there was the main control room and a production room, only used for air time during the obligatory AM/FM station separation times, which was mainly on the weekends. Later the old control room across the hall was renovated and became the home of AM 850. Smoking was still prevalent in the control rooms back then, and Booby loved a good cigar, he was afternoon DJ and Operations Manager, working 4-7p as DJ. Here's the 101 Audio Vault... 


 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Can you believe...

...it's been 30 years this year since Claude Tomlinson signed off his Great Day morning show for the last time. 

Since then WIVK changed hands from Dick Broadcasting to Citadel to Cumulus.

There have been some excellent teams who followed in his footsteps, or their footsteps as Mr. Schultz and Lester Longmire were Claude's sidekicks!

When Claude exited, enter Wilhite and Wall, followed by Andy and Alison, and these days Tony and Kris. 

The 101 Audio Vault features Claude saying farewell~


 Page 3...

I'll be on The Phil Show (NewsTalk987) Tuesday morning at 6:30a talking the restaurant biz with guest host Bob Thomas.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Mike Clark



 

Today 101 salutes Mike Clark!

Mike has been on the Ktown radio scene and in your radio since the '70s! Mike wet his teeth at WATO 1290 in Oak Ridge, then spent years behind the news mic at U-102 (WMYU). These days, actually since 1998, Mike has been morning DJ and Production Director at WJBZ!