Back in the mid 70's news was king at WIVK, as well as being the highest rated country station in America. Mike Hammond led the charge with incredible on air support from Jean Ash and Dan Bell.
Here's the 101 Audio Vault-
It's October 1, 1956 and WROL 620 AM was making the switch becoming WATE 620 AM. (and many of us remember Mary Starr)
These photos were posted on our 101 Facebook page, from his early years at WKGN 1340.
One fun aspect of being a DJ, often you can create or be handed a stage name...
The 101 Audio Vault travels to 1978 and CC McCartney. You can go to the search box on the right side of our blog, search CC and read the story of how he became CC on WNOX 990.
I was thinking about some of the folks who energized Knoxville radio over the years. The market was lucky to have some of the best in the business. What they did there and their successes in larger markets later solidified their place in the ethers.
A couple of them are still around Ktown. Dr. Al Adams got the most mileage out of 250 watts ever when he did the night show on WKGN in the '60s. Al and his sidekicks Willard Duck and Witch Hazel were frantic fun. John Pirkle was a different kind of success. "Johnny" was really good on air at WNOX and did a fine job programming it. His real contributions came as he designed AOR W149 and then bought that Oak Ridge FM that became a flamethrower, which he later sold to the WIVK ownership.
I think the guy with the best innate sense of how to reach listeners though, might have been the late Allen Dennis, who was a WKGN standout and then became the morning man on WMAK when George Mooney bought that Nashville station. Allen wasn't flashy, but you couldn't turn him off. He connected at heart level.
Claude Tomlinson had a longtime successful home at WIVK and was absolutely beloved by his listeners. Bobby Denton did very well there too, from personality to program director to general manager.
Joe Sullivan arrived at WKGN with his mattress strapped to his car roof. It wasn't long before he was the station program director, then PD at WMAK and Mooney's national PD. He got into concert promotion in Nashville and did a handshake management deal with a young singer named Charlie Daniels. He finally was making too much promoting to stay in radio; his "Sound 70" company having taken off.
Dave Diamond preceded Joe and went to St. Louis and the west coast. He had a national reputation.
I brought in a morning man and named him "Jefferson Kaye". He went on to Buffalo, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Denver before settling in for a decades long run in Boston under his own name- Loren Owens.
Still, whenever I think of Knoxville radio, I always remember the late Sonny Knight. He was one of the kindest, hardest working and genuine radio people I ever was privileged to work with.
Thanks for hangin' with a Possum named Riley and may God grant us all a better 2021.
Here's the website:
You can reach Jimmy at (850) 896-8077 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2021 Living Legend is Phil Williams! Phil has been on the radio in Ktown since the '70s...and what a ride it's been!
Phil hatched his on air career at WNOX 990, back when that station ruled the Top 40 world. Phil handled mornings on WIMZ for years, had one heck of a show on The River, and these days is the morning voice on NewsTalk 98-7!
Congrats to Phil and wishing health, happiness, and many more morning shows!
Thank goodness it's time to turn the page, the only difference between today and tomorrow is symbolic, or perhaps psychological, but so be it!
101 had another fun year, both on this page and on our 101 Facebook page (which is interactive). Thanks to all who took the time to send stories, fact and fiction. Let's make '21 even more interactive, there is no story too small, but we love the big stories!
Do you have '21 resolutions? Seems everyone wishes for health, happiness, and prosperity!
I'm happy for technology which allows me to dial twist all around the world, perhaps the universe. Growing up in East Tennessee I used to turn my radio knob at night and picked up WSB Atlanta, WAKY Louisville, WLS Chicago, even KMOX St. Louis! Awh, the good old days!
Did you know...WIVK radio was originally on Gay Street across from the Regas Restaurant. As many of you know my original career path was radio/TV (my degree is in Communications). Fate took me from platters to platters (radio to restaurants). I may be the only person to have worked for both Jim Dick and Bill Regas (Grady's Goodtimes for 13+ years).
Many still in radio tell me it's not the same, I get it, but...I still play DJ while driving in my car.
Here's wishing all a wonderful and virus free new year!
Stay tuned, coming soon- the 2021 Living Legend Award!