Saturday, July 22, 2017

Can you ask, via your Ktown radio blog, if anyone knows how to contact either Lisa McNeill, Wendy Miller or Ann Alexander (aka: Stella Shelton)? These three individuals were in Knoxville radio and TV broadcasting back in the early and mid 1970s. 

Lisa was at WRJZ’s news department and then went to UT Hospital as a PR person. We used to give Lisa good-natured kidding about being from the thriving metropolis of Wartburg. Indeed, her father was mayor of that small town for a time. Lisa was a real hustler, and was always eager to cover breaking or "spot news" regardless of the hour. And Knoxville had a lot of “spot news” back then.

Wendy was at WBIR AM-FM Radio for a time. He last came onto my radar screen when I was laboring away in grad school in 1986. I was slammed with dissertation writing when he passed through en route from a job in West Virginia to, I think, a station in Texas.  

Stella Shelton was primarily a TV news reporter. But like everyone at WATE-TV, she also supported WATE Radio's news operation. She was from eastern North Carolina and left Knoxville for, I think, a TV reporting position in Raleigh. Stella was a major contributor to WATE-TV’s news dominance in the 1970s. 

News Director Hal Wanzer recruited a great team of hard-working journalists that included reporters Sally Lay, Jack Isenhour, Millie Bass, Wayne Barry, and Skip Adams, and photographers Jeff Jernigan, Glenn Morgan, and Laura Hicks. Sandy Webb was the Assistant News Director. The team also included a fine group of control room directors and technicians…Ray Rose and Hal Watson kept everyone on their toes with their crisp production management. Sam Brown, Mike Thurman, and Margie Ison were the long-time 6:00P and 11:00P anchors.

I enjoy reading the posts of and by Knoxville radio personalities on your blog. While much of AM and FM radio is “canned" these days, I still run into awesome local radio stations with local personalities and news reporters in my travels in the great American Southwest and western Plains states. There is no way a radio programmer in NYC or LA can fill the needs of listeners in Dodge City, Kansas; Hobbs, New Mexico; or Clarkdale, Arizona. 

Hats off to all who served, and STILL serve, Knoxville and East Tennessee.

Art Miller

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You may want to note the passing of Bickley “Bick” Berney.  He was at WBIR AM-FM-TV in the late 1960s, this before beginning a 30 year Air Force career. I tried to find his KNS obit but ran into the Legacy.com website, which is a mess.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Big Bill Love

It's the summer of 1968 and Bill Love is a disc jockey at WHOO Orlando. After a format switch to country Bill hears the call from WKGN and the 4-7p afternoon drive show. 

Back then WKGN was located on Cumberland Avenue next to Brownie's restaurant where a plate of white beans and cornbread was a special treat.

Bill teamed up with Dr Al Adams, Jim Clark, Adrian Charles, and Bob Baron. Bill's next stop was WPOP Hartford CT.

You can find find Bill's complete story in our "links" section on the right side of our blog!

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Happy "Who Is This" Tuesday!

101 ace Florida Panhandle reporter Mike Bridges sent this mystery tape to the 101 InBox. Is this Benji Norton, Commander Dave, Daddy George? Inquiring minds want to know! Send the answer to KtownRadio@gmail.com. PS~ this is WIMZ, circa '84!

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Jimmy is hosting the WIVK morning show this week featuring the best of Andy and Alison!

Shoutout to Dan Bell, he hollered at 101 yesterday via the airwaves at Praise 96.3!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Did 15Q make you rich?

Scott Sams went on to have a tremendous broadcast career in Dallas, almost a 20 year run at WFAA-TV. He's back in his element anchoring the morning news at News Radio 1080 KRLD in Dallas.

Back in the summer of '76 he was a DJ at 15Q...as Jamie Rivers~


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101 InBox~ Was wondering if anyone has any idea whatever happened to former Knoxville disc jockey JJ Randle? The last time I heard him on the air was around 1997 or 1998. Thanks (Old Radio Geek)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

101 Facebook...

There's always great banter on our Facebook page!

After our story regarding Kenny Dearstone anchoring the morning drive show on WIVK we heard from Bob Catron~

"When I was still in high school WIVK was playing R and R. Can you imagine Kenny intro-ing the Rolling Stones? He was a great voice and personality for early morning radio, period. I was taken off the all night show in 1971 and given the 10am to 1pm slot. Must have been when Kenny moved on to WSMG Greeneville TN and Claude went from station manager to morning show."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Welcome Tony and Kris!


Knoxville radio history is made each and every day...this week the baton is being passed at the premier broadcast spot in East Tennessee, the 6-10a morning slot at WIVK 107.7.

The verbiage is that the new tandem "Tony and Kris" will be the 4th morning show on WIVK. This is not 100% accurate although Claude Tomlinson did sign the station on the air for the first time on March 20, 1953. In the mid 60's Kenny Dearstone joined WIVK around the same time the FM signal was added. Kenny became the morning DJ with Norman Majors on the news mic, Claude shifted to the 10a-noon slot.  In 1972 Claude returned to morning drive as Kenny exited to manage a station in Greeneville TN.

Since 1972 the AM drive has been mic'd by Claude until his retirement in 1992, Wilhite and Wall for the next 5 years, and Andy and Alison, who wrap up 20 years on Friday with many national awards in their treasure chest.

So enter stage left...Tony and Kris! In 1991 the duo teamed up at a small Alabama station, WHMA-FM. Fast forward to their "big and quick break", only 10 months in to their partnership they flew the coup to the left coast and began a morning show in major market San Diego at KSON-FM. After a 10 year run at KSON-FM and an ACM award as major market DJs of the year, they moved across town to rival KUSS. 5 years later the duo shifted in to a syndicated show...which ran until 2 months ago...and the rest is croackin' history!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Super Jock!

Mike Hammond's name and voice have permeated the Knoxville airwaves since the early 70's at WIVK. Mike eventually left the mic behind and became a radio executive...he's back and is spinning the hits on Merle-FM. Mike has combined a leadership role with a return to an on air personality...he's on the air Saturday mornings! Via the 101 Audio Vault, here's Mike~


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Sunday, July 09, 2017

....from our 101 Facebook page~

Doug Hullander~ 50s, 60s and most 70s hits have disappeared from classic hits stations. I realize listeners over 54 are not the coveted demos. But c'mon. Many of us are still alive and kickin'! And we DO have $$ to spend!


Jim Courtney~ Try WKCE 1120 for the 50s hits. They are streaming at 1120WKCE.com. A great station! 1120 WKCE is Mid Century Radio for Maryville, Seymour, Knoxville and beyond.

Jonathan Pirkle~ Also broadcast on 97.1 FM.

Brad Allen Tester~ Classic hits, or the more prominent "today" phraseology "greatest hits" stations have shifted format focus toward heavy 80s and even dipping their musical toes into the early 90s, with only the more up tempo creme of the crop 70s songs making the play lists...

Doug Hullander~ I think you're right Brad. There's a revolt brewing against the 80s only format and a hunger for 60s and 70s. Even the younger group is beginning to dig these REAL oldies.

Russell Mayes~ I know it is a small sample, but I am amazed that the eclectic group of people that enjoy the oldies music on WKCS. I get a lot of feedback from the 20 and 30 somethings.

Aaron Cody Campbell~ 104.9 FM LaFollette has that era. 93.1 is 70s and 80s!

Walter Erbaugh~ Yes, 104.9 WTNQ is probably the best and broadest station on terrestrial radio that I know of. Presentation of it could stand a bit of work but the play list is broad.

James Fleenor~ I'm 38 and listen to 104.9 ALOT! 50s to the early 80s. Another good station although it's hard to pick up is 105.7 The Hog in Crossville. And I just discovered 1120 on their FM signal 97.1. Great station as well and I love the vintage sounding jingles.

Jim Courtney~ The Hog 105.7 in Crossville has an app and you can get them on the Internet. I listen to them too on the Internet. They have a great professional sound to be a small town station.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Happy 10th Birthday to Merle-FM


When I was a DJ at WIVK not only were we live and local but our music selections were based mainly off our request line! Back then we did have categories that were updated weekly, Bobby Denton was Music Director. Every Monday a new small tag was placed on the 45 rpm (yep, we played records). Pic Hits along with A and B categories were the current top songs with A being more uptempo versus B. The C and D cats were upcoming but not yet top hits....oh, and there was a full wall behind the DJ with thousands of albums at the DJs disposal. Johnnie Bailey the "cake lady" could call up, make a request and within minutes her name was mentioned and the song was on the turn table!

These days WMYL has captured a very local flavor, mainly due to those long time Ktown voices behind the microphone. As I type Mike Hammond is hosting as DJ on Saturday morning. Known as a news guru, Mike can really cut a rug as a jock. Dan Bell has resurrected the Sunday Survey (on Saturdays)...and Phil Jarnagin middays and Jack Ryan are both longterm East Tennessee fixtures. Jack was on his way to becoming one of the frog legends when he was cut loose there a few years back. Oh, and Ed Brantley is associated with Merle too. Just think what would be if this tandem had a 100k watts signal. 

Thursday, July 06, 2017

B97.5 WJXB features Ashley, Brad, and Michele in the mornings followed by Valerie Anderton middays and Shane Cox 3-7p afternoon drive. Like many dial positions syndication kicks in at nighttime. PS~ Kent Newton's (WKGN early 70's nightime jock) syndicated "The Ultimate Party" is heard on the weekends...he's penned as Tom Kent!

Back in the days the call letters were WEZK, the 101 Audio Vault features this promo~

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The 101 InBox received a request for Rod Galbraith airchecks...got tape? got memories?

Sunday, July 02, 2017

His name is Suitcase!

101 says hello to Suitcase Simpson aka Bill Miller, regarding 15Q and radio names...

(After reading yesterday's post)~ There were others...Amos Pigg, Michael Henry Martin aka Mark Herzog, Mike Beach, and more. Sometimes we would begin a show not knowing who might walk in for the next show. I remember Chuck Boo Baron once saying~ I'll be on the air until noon today. I'm not sure who's next, but they're interviewing a guy right now!

A word about names. I was Suitcase Simpson, Alan Douglas became better known as Alan Sneed, one of the most respected consultants in broadcasting. Dr Boogie later became Pete Michaels and carved out his niche as the best known traffic reporter in Knoxville. The Birdman was Bill Thomas, who died young after becoming one of the best Top 40 personalities in the south. George Patrick Dooley was the real name of Tom Dooley, a man whose incredible talent was exceeded only by his massive ego. Dooley was on the backside of his career after prickly stints at KHJ in LA, WAKY in Louisville, and other legendary stations. Dooley reinvented himself as a minister of God media star before dying a few years ago. China Smith was Greg Barman who did mornings at WFLI in Chattanooga before joining 15Q. I stay in touch with Greg. He worked in Denver radio for many years an has live in The Mile High City for around 40 years.

...Eddie Beacon doubled as "The Q Millionaire". Attired in a fine tuxedo and top hat, The Q Millionaire made his way around town sharing cash and prizes with 15Q listeners. Once he rode the ferris wheel at the TVA&I Fair and threw cash out to the assembled multitude. Another time we schemed to put The Q Millionaire fully attired on the roof of the Neyland Stadium press box, where he was supposed to toss cash so it would pass in front of John Ward while he did play by play and hopefully mention it on the air. We scratched that idea for some long forgotten reason, but it would have been a helluva promotional stunt.