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

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...'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!

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Remembering Buster Sutton

Sadly we received news last night that Buster Sutton passed away. Buster was a reader and contributor of our Knoxville Radio History 101 blog. May his memory be eternal.

We received word from his son Ken-

Dear George, as the owner of the blog that I know my father and many of his friends and coworkers follow, I would like to inform you and your readers of his passing. Buster passed away from complications following a procedure earlier today at age 80. Funeral arrangements have not been made as of yet. Buster grew up with radio as a passion, having a HAM radio as a teenager and was the longtime engineer at WOKI and who can recall where else. For all your readers I can say Buster enjoyed working with everyone at any hour of the day or night. Take Care!

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

There are classic photos and then there are classic photos...say hello to WKGN 1340 in circa 1975. The studios were in the bank building on Alcoa Highway and the format had a jingle "The Good Old Songs" led by the return of Dr. Al Adams as morning DJ and Program Director.

Top row, left to right- Dr. Al, Rick Davis, David Todd (Butch Brannum), and Phil Michaels. Front row, left to right- Mike Beach, Frank Erwin, Bob Thomas, and Kerry Lambert.

I'm not sure who took this photo but it lives in "infamy". Awh, the good old days!