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 WLAP Photos | WLAP 1960s DJs | WLAP Surveys | WLAP Airchecks | WLAP Jingles

WLAP-AM History
By Scott Wills

WLAP is the oldest station in Kentucky. Their history is perhaps the vaguest of all of them to me, however. WLAP started out as the first station in Kentucky in June, 1922. It beat out WHAS in Louisville by a few months. They had studios in the old Nunn Building downtown for several years (a breaker panel in the basement still listed some distinctly broadcasting labels as late as 1987), and a suite on Upper Street in downtown Lexington. They completed the move to their transmitter site in 1974. Their facility there has a distinctive Cold War look to it. Of course, they are the Primary EBS, now EAS, station in Lexington. They were the first in town with a generator to broadcast their signal when power was out, which was a good thing on April 3, 1974 when tornadoes swept through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Their broadcasts that night were the only link to the outside world for many people.

WLAP-AM utilized a Gates BC-5F transmitter into their 4 tower, DA-1 pattern. The typical 5KW day/1 KW night license. Their nulls were deep, but not as deep as WVLK, where at one point, you could see the towers but not hear their nighttime signal. Sometime in the mid 1970s, they were the first in Lexington to install automatic transmitter reading apparatus and switched to a Harris MW-5 transmitter also.

More WLAP History | WLAP 1960s DJs

Know anything more about this station? Have any WLAP-AM airchecks, photos or promotional material?
Drop us a line.

WLAP Photos

Two WLAP programmers from the station's early days in Louisville:
William Farris and Vivian Adams

WLAP gets some ink in 1929.

WLAP singers Betty Leonard and Miller Hass

Carl Zoller's Melodists (circa 1929)

Crest patch from Billy Love's 1963 WLAP blazer
Another blaze patch from Billy Love

Bill Love provides the captions for this photo: "I have attached a photo from 1964. I was News Director under my real name: Bill Herald. Here I am with the WLAP 1964 Chevy Impala station wagon in front of the station at 177 North Upper Street. That's our other newsman, Bill Carroll, behind the wheel. Shortly after this the station was sold to the Illinois group and our VERY popular night jock, Denny Mitchell, was hired by the competition (WVLK) and I had the opportunity to move to the 6:40-Midnight slot and John Duvall became News Director. I had to come up with a DJ sounding name and I had just seen the movie "the Nutty Professor" with Jerry Lewis. I took his name when he was cool: BUDDY LOVE = BILLY LOVE. What great fun to be on a station that had a LOT of listeners. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, Dave Clark Five, etc. were hot and every teenager listened to us. I got a call in 1965 from a British fellow who was the chef at the Campbell House. He asked if I wanted him to sit in with me at night and talk about the British groups. HELL YES! His name was Ian Greaves. Very handsome fellow who drove a Jaguar (rented) and wore a freakin' ASCOT! The young girls loved him when he read their dedications in his British accent. He had the time of his life for NO PAY. I was making $125 a week and had trouble spending it all. What a time!"

WLAP Airstaff in the mid '60s
Bottom row: Jim Allison, John Duvall, Hal Kemp, Nick Clooney
Middle row: Reynolds Large, Fred Gooding, Herb Kent
Top row: Don Duckworth, Gomer the Frog, Dale Green, Billy Love

1960s print ad featuring Jim Allison

Ron Chilton (1968)
Ron Chilton (1968)
1960s print ad featuring Ron Chilton
1960s print ad for "Sound Off" with Ron Chilton
Jim Allison (1968)
Bob Paddock (1968)
Herb Oscar Kent (1968)
Paul Lindsey (1968)

Mike Thompson (1968)
Cliff Eaton (1968)

Herb Oscar Kent (1968)

Newsman Rich Gimmel (1971)

Reynolds Large was not only a 1960s WLAP DJ, but he also hosted a jazz show at the
University of Kentucky radio station, WBKY. Here he is pictured in the WBKY control room in 1971.

WLAP AM/FM transmitter site monitoring equipment, processing, etc. (1973)
WLAP-AM "One Radio Park" control room under construction (1973)
WLAP-AM "One Radio Park" control room under construction (1973)
WLAP-FM automation system, transmitter (1973)
Note: This very simple automation system was used to power WLAP-FM's beautiful music format. WLAP-FM was broadcasting in mono with 3000 watts of power at this time. The power upgrade to 50,000 watts, a switch to stereo and a new automation system to fuel TM's "Stereo Rock" format would come in 1973.
View from the lobby into the conference room/talk show studio, the control room,
and the transmitter/FM automation area during construction (1973)

WLAP Key Fob and Pin

WLAP's "Radio Park" in 1974
View from the lobby into the conference room/talk show studio,
the control room, and the transmitter/FM automation area (1974)
Eric Stevens on the air on WLAP (1974); the newsroom is directly across from the control board
WLAP's primary transmitter (1974)
WLAP PM Drive DJ John Egan (Circa 1974)
WLAP Morning Drive DJ Dave Murray (1975)
Newsman Ken Gullette
WLAP 1978 print ad featuring the station's air personalities
WLAP 1978 print ad featuring the station's newsmen

Here's an invitation to the 60th anniversary celebration for WLAP (AM) in 1982.
The cover shows an architect's rendering of the original "radio park" building on Russell Cave Road.

The cover to the late Lewis Owens' history of WLAP

WLAP Chief Engineer Lewis Owens

Jack Pattie in the WLAP-AM control room

Dan Reynolds programs the WLAP-FM automation system

Morning man Eric Stevens (November 1987)

WLAP's "Radio Park" on Russell Cave Road in later days,
showing a ranch home-style addition to the original 1974 building

Another view of WLAP's "Radio Park"


WLAP Music Surveys

WLAP 1960s Survey Collection (ZIP File)
This file includes surveys from 1964, 1965 and 1966
33,996 KB
WLAP 1968 Survey Collection (ZIP File)
21,137 KB
WLAP 1970 Survey Collection (ZIP File)
25,029 KB
WLAP 1971 Survey Collection (ZIP File)
133,547 KB
WLAP 1972 Survey Collection (ZIP File)
152,644 KB
WLAP 1973 Survey Collection (ZIP File)
273,917 KB
WLAP 1974 Survey Collection (ZIP File)
149,813 KB

WLAP Airchecks

1962 Aircheck Snippets (Unknown Announcers)
2:10 - 765 KB
Billy Love (1964 #1)
4:25 - 1555 KB
Billy Love (1964 #2)
4:09 - 1463 KB
WLAP 1964 Newscasts
7:33 - 2658 KB
Billy Love (1966)
12:24 - 4360 KB
Herb Oscar Kent (1966)
18:48 - 6613 KB
Herb Oscar Kent (1968)
7:05 - 2495 KB
Herb Oscar Kent's Last Night Show (1969)
29:10 - 10,256 KB

News, Traffic and Commercials Montage (Date Unknown)
2:56 - 1037 KB

Reynolds Large (1970)
4:22 - 1535 KB

Bill Crisp's Undoing (1970)
:28 - 167 KB

The quality on this brief aircheck is a little "iffy" but you can clearly
hear the non-PC remark that cost morning man Bill Crisp his WLAP gig.

Al Risen (July 3,1971)
44:11 - 15,534 KB

Jason Williams (August 6, 1971)
40:15 - 14,154 KB

Herb Oscar Kent Top 1000 Finale (1972)
4:16 - 1501 KB
Herb Oscar Kent Phone Interview with Lily Tomlin (1972)
4:52 - 1715 KB
WLAP 1972 Sign-On Announcement
:23 - 142 KB
Dave White Commentline Promo (Date Unknown)
:30 - 179 KB
Ron Lake (1972 #1)
4:15 - 1498 KB
Ron Lake (1972 #2)
7:17 - 2562 KB
Ron Lake (1972 #3)
7:29 - 2634 KB
Herb Oscar Kent (1973)
5:26 - 1914 KB
Jason Williams (1973)
7:53 - 2774 KB
Ron Lake (1973)
6:28 - 2277 KB
Ike Smith News (1973)
2:16 - 1070 KB
Rob Kennington (1974)
3:09 - 1109 KB
John Egan (1975)
3:51 - 1356 KB
Herb Oscar Kent (July 1983)
9:09 - 3220 KB

Stephanie Markoo (1984)
26:20 - 9260 KB

Kim Jackson (October 18, 1987)
8:22 - 2943 KB

Rob Calhoun says: "This was from the last days of the Adult Contemporary format. 
WLAP would change to SMNís Pure Gold (Oldies) in early 1988."

WLAP Jingles

WLAP Mid-1960s Station Imaging
8:39 - 4058 KB

Bill Love writes on December 27, 2009: "I found an old reel tape recently with a batch of WLAP promos by Nick Clooney, Wayne Bell (remember him, the sports guy on Channel 18?) and Herb Kent, and singing 'Billy Love' promos by Avo & Ray. They were UK students that had a minor hit called 'College Life' on Fraternity records in 1965. There are news intros, jingles, etc."

WLAP CRC Jingles
8:09 - 3824 KB

WLAP Ullman Powerhouse Jingles
12:08 - 5692 KB

WLAP Gwinsound Jingles
5:29 - 2574 KB

All audio is in downloadable MP3 format.


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