Louisville Radio Ink
A collection of newspaper
articles about Classic Derbytown Broadcasting
September 20, 1967 - PDF File
All sorts of revolutions
have been kicked up during the short history -- less than 50 years -- of
an industry which has become the prime mover and shaker of our time.
Commercial broadcasting began in Louisville in 1922, just two years
after the first radio station went on the air in Pittsburg. Television
arrived less than 20 years ago. Meantime the tuner and the tube have
revolutionized our social ways, created a new kind of journalism,
completely changed our election campaigns, emerged as the nation's
principal source of news and information and the all-time champion
seller of products and services, transformed the entertainment industry
and made professional sports big-time business.
With 12 AM and nine FM
radio stations, four TV stations and two more coming, the Louisville
area air waves are jumping. In this issue Louisville Magazine takes a
close look at the broadcasting industry -- and how it is and how it was,
less than 50 years ago.
heart is breakin' honey,
but I sure am makin' money!
This article appeared
on the Scene section of the Louisville Times on February 14, 1976
By Rob Kasper
SCENE Staff Writer
When country disk jockey
Mark (The Spark) Anderson recently told his WTMT radio audience that he
and his wife "had split up, and I'm lookin' for a place to take a shower,"
the stations' telephone rang for an hour with offers of showers and
The telephones at WINN, Louisville's other major country radio station,
also have been ringing with callers requesting WINN disk jockeys, such as
Bucks Braun, to play their favorite country records. Some neighborly souls
have felt obliged to explain their plea: "How about helpin' a country boy
fight a hangover," said a 10 a.m. caller who asked for a mellow tune. "I
was drinkin' like a fish last night and now I wish I'd have just drunk red
At WHAS, one of the area's biggest and mildest radio stations, an early
morning show carries country music and advice from farm editor Barney
Arnold. At WAVE, generally regarded as the area radio station Perry Como
would feel most comfortable listening to, a song about truck drivers,
"Convoy," has been getting air time. And even at the "rockers," radio
stations WAKY and WKLO, crossover country hits, such as "Third Rate
Romance" by the Amazing Rhythm Aces, have been mixed in with the latest
from Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
All of which illustrates that in the Louisville area, as throughout the
nations, country music radio is in clover. Growing faster than the number
of backyard gardeners, the number of full-time country music radio
stations in the United States and Canada has grown from 81 in 1961 to
1,050 last year. And according to the Country Music Association in
Nashville, Tennessee, 37 percent of the 7,082 radio stations in North
America now play at least some country music.
But while the hired hands at country radio stations are grinning at their
new success, they also acknowledge that they have worries. Acting much
like a country boy who has struck it rich in the big city, country radio
stations are struggling with their identity and wondering about the
changes and seeming contradictions their newfound status has brought them.
"There has been a big change in country music," says Anderson, who grew up
in Harlan County and played in a small band before beginning his radio
career. "They've laid down the dobros and megaphones. Country music has
modernized....and it is a big, big business."
There are four main country music stations in the Louisville metropolitan
area. Two are FM stations, WMMG (93.5) in Brandenburg, Kentucky, and WMPI
(100.9) in Scottsburg, Indiana. While both are authentically country
stations -- WMPI has a lengthy stockyard report at noon --- their signals
are sometimes hard to pick up in Louisville. The two AM radio stations,
WTMT (620) and WINN (1240), have good strong signals throughout the city.
Of the two AM country stations, WINN is larger and has corralled a
respectable 11 per cent of the morning rush-hour listening audience. The
1975 ratings, published by Pulse, Inc., and estimating the 6-10 a.m.
audience over 12 years of age, report that WINN trails WAKY, WHAS and
WAVE. WAKY grabbed 20 percent of that audience, WHAS and WAVE each garnered 14 percent.
WTMT, the bantam rooster of country radio stations here - it goes off the
air at sundown and doesn't subscribe to ratings services - has a small
but, it claims, extremely loyal audience. A Pulse survey given to WINN
indicates that WTMT's weekly audience in the metropolitan area comprises
8.5 percent of the men over 18 and 8.4 percent of women over 18.
"We're all into country music," said Hugh Barr, station manager of
WHAS-AM. "I listen to WINN and they play an awful lot of songs we play,
and that WAKY plays, Probably WLOU (soul radio) is the only station that
doesn't play country music."
Country's new fans are, in part, made up of young educated adults who
enjoy both the feisty pride of country music and the rough, rural poetry
of its lyrics.
"Country music taps the disenchantment with urban living," says Dr.
Richard A. Peterson, a professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University in
Nashville, Tennessee, who has published several scholarly articles and a
book on country music. The heroes of country music songs handle their
urban showdowns in much the same style that the cowboy, America's mythical
free spirit, handled his. When the law is after him, he takes to the road
- in C. W. McCall's "Convoy," truckers outrun the police. When a beautiful
woman tempts him, he falls but apologizes to his true love - the title of
Conway Twitty's latest song is "This Time I've Hurt Her More Than She
Loves Me." And when his woman gives him trouble, the country hero turns to
the bottle - "She's Actin' Single, I'm Drinkin' Doubles," laments a
popular tune. And these rural-based models of how to behave are proving to
be appealing to disgruntled rush-hour cowboys.
One result is that country radio audiences, once written off by
advertisers as interested in buying only flour or fertilizer, are now
attracting such clients as automobile dealers and apartment building
owners. "Advertisers are discovering that our listeners no longer suck on
a piece of straw or dress in bib overalls," says Max Rein, general manager
of WINN. While acknowledging that many listeners are "bumper-sticker-type
guys…who drive campers," Lee Stinson, president of WTMT, claims there are
"a lot of big rollers in Cadillacs and Lincolns" who listen to country
music radio, too.
The average country music fan, according to surveys at events such as a
1973 George Jones-Tammy Wynette concert in New York and the Grand Ole Opry
in Nashville, is white, 25-49 years old, has eight years of education and
works in a blue-collar job that gives him an income of between $5,000 and
$15,000 a year. Since many of their listeners are blue-collar workers,
WINN, as well as other country stations, are selling advertisers on the
notion that blue-collar workers are eager consumers. A WINN promotional
packet called "A Tale of Two Collars," matches hourly wages of Louisville
area blue-collar workers, such as electricians, who earn between $6 and
$10 an hour, against the wages paid white-collar workers such as
programmers, who are listed as earning $5 an hour.
Anderson, a fast-talking and blunt disk jockey and program manger at WTMT,
puts it this way: "When Joe brings Mabel to town on a Saturday night and
he has got $100 in his pocket - so much money in his pocket that he is
walkin' with a limp - he's gonna spend it all."
Along with new status, country music radio stations have received a
truckload of new problems. Foremost is the nettlesome question of what
constitutes country music. As the music has become more popular, it has
become less country. The twang of guitars and high voices are fast being
replaced by the "full sound" of an orchestra and background singers.
Violins are pushing out fiddles. Rebellious country singers have started
to move from Nashville, the mecca of country music, to Austin, Texas.
Bakersfield, California has also become a recording center for country
Usually the radio stations choose to mix current Nashville sounds with
"gold," that is, successful records of a few years back. Louisville's two
AM country stations use this mix, a kind of country programming that
critics call "chicken country," implying that it is not full-blooded
country but a cheap imitation.
Even inside the rhinestone world of country music there is a rift between
young long-haired singers, "outlaws" such as Willie Nelson, and the more
traditional country performers.
The results of the rift and the subjective nature of determine what a
"country" sound is were seen at WINN last fall. Then Moon Mullins replaced
Al Risen as the station's music director. Risen liked Willie Nelson's "Blue
Eyes Cryin' in the Rain," and thought that Nelson's album, "Phases and
Stages," also deserved to be played. But Mullins thought the album was too
"harsh and brusque" to fit in with definition of country music. He didn't
WTMT's Anderson says that he
won't play many old country recordings, even those of Roy Acuff, the grand
ole man of the Grand Ole Opry. "They wouldn't be air-worthy…all that
twangin'," says Anderson.
Two other aspects of country music that have accompanied its new
popularity are its changed attitudes toward law and order and toward
Several years ago Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee" was a country best
seller as it castigated draft dodgers for not obeying the law. But
nowadays the best seller is C.W. McCall's "Convoy," which makes heroes out
of truckers who not only disobey the 55 m.p.h. speed limit, but also form
a convoy, an outlaw band of truckers, that brazenly defies the police.
Five years ago Tammy Wynette's song title and advice, "Stand By Your Man,"
aptly summed up the country music model of women and marriage. But more
recent lyrics tell of a more lenient attitude. Loretta Lynn, the girl from
Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, recently caused a stir when she released a
single called "The Pill." In this song, the woman, in barnyard metaphors,
tells her husband that she is tired of him running around with other hens
while she is tied to the brooder. But now that she has discovered the
pull, she too is going to roam unless he wants to make "a deal."
"There is a recognition there," says Vanderbilt's Peterson, "That things
are not right. Liberation may not be the answer, but neither is perpetual
pregnancy." Peterson predicts that more of the new songs by women country
singers will break away from the previous strict
"You-Want-to-Make-Me-be-a-Mother" relationship between men and women that
Tammy Wynette has sung about.
This transformation has started already. "Sometimes," a song currently
played on Louisville's stations, begins with a man asking a women if she
is married. She replies, "Sometimes." And several months ago a song
briefly appeared that expressed a tough, get-even sentiment. It was titled
"I'd Rather Be Picked Up At This Bar Than Put Down At Home."
Country music audiences no longer blush when sex is mentioned in their
songs. A few years ago, though, WINN refused to play Conway Twitty's
"You've Never Been This Far Before." The station figured that the lyrics,
which talked about touching "forbidden places," were too strong for the
Now WINN and most country stations freely spin disks with such explicit
titles as "Love in the Hot Afternoon," "Motels and Memories," and "Don't
Come Home a-Drinkin' With Lovin' on Your Mind."
"Our audience will tell us when we've played a song we shouldn't have,
Rein at WINN says. "If they don't like the words of a song, our phones
Neither WINN nor WTMT devotes much of its program time to national and
WINN relines on ABC's Entertainment Network for its major news and has a
report from conservative commentator Paul Harvey at noon. Last year, in an
economy move, WINN eliminated its local news gathering team.
WTMT pays little attention to international news. "Our listeners don't
give a damn about who (Secretary of State Henry) Kissinger is taking to
tea," says Stinson, explaining why WTMT has community bulletin board in
its newscasts. "They'd rather hear about the Black Mudd (Volunteer) Fire
Department doing a good job for the (WHAS) Crusade for Children."
Stations make news
Last fall, when anti-busing
activities accompanied the opening of Jefferson County public schools,
both WTMT and WINN were in the unusual position of reporting and making
news. WTMT made news when it aired "A Concerned Parent's Plea," a song
critical of forced busing. The Task Force for Peaceful Desegregation then
asked the radio station for a rebuttal. The group submitted a tape
recording to the station, but the station said its quality wasn't good
enough to be played on the air.
WINN made news when it, in a break with its previous policy of not
becoming involved in social issues, asked listeners to send letters to the
station expressing opinions on busing. WINN then delivered the letters,
which were almost unanimously against busing, to Kentucky's senators and
representatives in Washington.
In the future, country radio apparently will be dominated by stations that
play a short list of songs and adopt a tight, fast-moving format. This is
the pattern that made rock 'n' roll stations fast and sassy. Veteran
listeners of WTMT and WINN have noted within the last six months that the
station's disk jockeys are talking faster, the record selection seems to
be smaller, and the jingles being used by the stations sound like those
once used on Top 40 stations. WINN also is going to sponsor more contests
such as the recent "Don't Say 'Uhhh'" contest.
At Vanderbilt, Peterson said that a large segment of the lower middle
class, the group that makes up the core of country music listeners, also
have a strong preference for "easy-listening" music such as songs by Frank
Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Accordingly, a large number of future country
songs will be written to appeal to the "easy-listening" tastes.
But at present, despite its newfound popularity and problems, country
radio still credits much of its success to its tradition. "Anyone who
listens to country music radio," says Rein, who once drove a tractor in
Kosmosdale and now drives a Cadillac," will find something it it that
reminds him of his background…or his fantasies."
WTMT's Anderson, who spends a good deal of this morning show talking about
his friend who is "chasing that divorcee down on Cane Run Road," or his
plans to sell his "swamp lots down in Harlan County," explains the appeal
of country music radio this way: "It talks about booze, broads and bill
collectors. And when you're talking about those things, you're talking
about things people experience."
On the radio war front…
WINN unveils talks
show, WZZX polishes rock, WAKY adjusts tie
This article appeared
in the Louisville Times in 1979
By Vince Staten
TV Radio Critic
The local radio war, which
erupted last spring with a format change at WCSN-FM (now WKJJ-AM-1080 and
WKJJ-FM-99.7) from "beautiful music" to rock, is heating up again.
This time, it's on the talk show, rock music and adult programming fronts.
WINN-AM (1240) is taking dead air at the venerable "Metz Here" phone-in
show on WHAS-AM (840). WINN has begun a weeknightly call-in show, "WINN
Involvement," that runs head-to-head against Metz for two hours.
Bob Bomar is the host. The show is broadcast Monday through Friday, 7 to
Jesse James of WINN says the show will differ from Metz's in that "we plan
to take the big event of the day and talk about that. Our shows won't be
scheduled far in advance. That way we can keep it hot." James says the
show will deal in controversy. The topic of the first one was WAVE-TV's
lawsuit against Melissa Forsythe.
And WZZX-FM (101.7), which only signed on the air last December, is
changing its format - "fine-tuning it," program director Mark Thomas calls
it - and going after WLRS-FM (102.3), long the king of the heap among
local rock stations, and WKJJ-AM and FM, the new kid on the rock block.
"If there is a radio war, then we intend to win it," said Thomas. "What
we're doing now is adult album-oriented rock, not top-40."
When WZZX signed on the air, it was calling its format top tracks, which
basically is the same as top-40 but draws from albums as well as singles.
WZZX has been naming its two rivals on the air and asking listeners to
call and tell which of the three they like best. Not unexpectedly, WZZX
has been winning its poll.
Meanwhile WAKY-AM (790) is upgrading some of its services as it does
battle against WAVE-FM (970) and WHAS-AM for the older segment of the
WAKY is now the Louisville affiliate for the American Information Network,
which supplies news and sports. The station also has signed up with the
Accuweather weather-forecasting service. WLKY-TV-32 formerly subscribed to
Accuweather's television service.
The station has added a farm report by Ray Adams (weekmornings at 5:30).
"We are continuing to evolve into an adult radio station," says general
manager George Francis.
WAKY also has an announcer change. Bobby Hatfield is the new afternoon
disc jockey. He comes from WNAP in Indianapolis, and also worked at WIFI
in Philadelphia and WLEE in Richmond, Va.
Hatfield will work the 1-4 p.m. time slow formerly occupied by Darrell
Douglas, who was shifted to 10 a.m.-1 p.m. to replace Tom Prestigiacomo,
who left WAKY for a Memphis radio station.
This article appeared on the
Scene section of the Courier-Journal on March 29, 1980.
It offered a
snapshot of the state of "rock radio" in Louisville right before 1980's
Spring Book kicked off.
Rock radio stations are saying 'Lend
us your ears' - and they mean business.
By Laurice Niemtus
Scene Staff Writer
If you haven't noticed, the
radio wars are on. And you - the one with the ears on the sides of your head -
are the prize.
Local radio stations will ply you with "commercial-free hours." Or how about
an album of your choice? Need a concert ticket? We'd like to stick to your
bumper, soldier. Our specially made candy bar will tickle your tonsils and do
good for someone, too.
The stations will give away hot (as in racy) cars, even $100 bills. They'll
light up the Big Four Bridge. They'll stop at nothing - well, almost nothing.
These people want your ears - and all the money advertisers will pay to
whisper into them.
Rock is king on the radio
But why all the fuss? Isn't this
the age of television? Is there really much money in radio?
To answer that, let's take a look at the Louisville radio market.
Almost 70 percent of the AM and FM audience listens to one of four
rock-oriented "formats." Religious programming draws about 1.4 percent;
so-called "black music" accounts for 6.6 percent; and "beautiful music" -
critics call it elevator music or Muzak - captures 9.7 percent of the
audience. That leaves 12.5 percent of you folks tuned into "country" stations.
So when you talk about radio, rock of one kind or another is what most ears
are listening to. The format may be called AOR (adult-oriented tock), P/A
(pop/adult), R (just plain rock) or M (miscellaneous, including "adult
contemporary," "top tracks" and "top 40," among other things), but it's still
all rock music.
Lately, strange things have been happening on Louisville's rock-oriented
One of the hot spots - down around the 100-megahertz neighborhood on the FM
side of your dial - is a three-way battle between "the new" WKJJ (KJ-100),
WLRS (LRS-102) and WZZX, near 101. Then there's WQHI - back up the dial in the
vicinity of 95 - with its steady share of the listening audience, and the "new
kid" on the dial, WRKA-FM (formerly WNUU) around 103.
There are also the AM guys at WHAS (840 kilohertz), WAKY (790) and WAVE (970)
- each vying for its portion of rock's 70 percent of the listening pie.
If you take the rating service figures seriously - and local radio folks do -
KJ-100, WLRS, WZZX and WQHI on the FM side share about 27 percent of the
audience, and about 25 percent is shared by AM rockers WAVE, WHAS and WAKY.
WRKA hadn't been on the air long enough to have any ratings this time around,
but it is definitely in the fray.
WAVE, WHAS, WLRS and WKJJ each are getting about 10 percent of the total
number of radio listeners, 12 and older. But if that sounds like a small
slice, it isn't. Every radio executive in town would gladly accept, say, 15
percent and consider himself a huge winner.
In fact, that 13-14 percent position had gone to WLRS in the rock radio world
until about a year ago. The something began happening. No one knows for sure
what it was. Everyone involved has his or her ideas, however.
But let's go back just a bit.
The history of rock radio
For years, top-40 AM radio
stations, with their 50,000-watt signals and their high-powered pitchmen, were
the top dogs everywhere. The legends - Alan Freed, Murray "The K" Kaufman,
Dick Biondi, to name just three - had incredible saturation among the young
rock listeners and the all-day-listening housewives around the country.
Then along came stereo and FM - no static at all, as the Steely Dan song goes
- and the rest is history. Rock moved to FM; the "youth market" that had
gotten bigger and richer moved to FM; and then the housewives went back to
work, deserting their daily AM habit. Finally, the power in the music business
and the ad dollars moved to FM.
Louisville Times TV/radio critic Vince Staten explained the evolution of the
local radio war last May when he reported that 33 percent and them 46 percent
of radio's audience had tuned to FM by 1976 and '78, respectively. By that
time, WLRS-FM had become the rock station in Louisville, up against WQHI-FM
and AM rockers WAKY and WKLO (now "The New KJ-100's" AM side). WHAS brought
back "personality" Gary Burbank, and the "radio war" started looking serious.
Staten quoted country station WINN-AM's general manager Max Rein as saying,
"I've been in radio here for 15 years, and I've never seen anything like it."
But that might be partly because the stakes have risen so dramatically over
the last 10 years.
Billions of dollars - instead of paltry millions - came into play as rock rose
to the top spot in the entertainment business nationally. Finally, rock
outstripped movies and all other forms of entertainment in the early '70s. For
several years, those billions just kept doubling, and suddenly, all forms of
rock radio became important again.
These stations didn't necessarily deliver the huge mass audiences TV promised,
but they could deliver specific, younger, richer, rock folks in ways TV
couldn't even attempt. Advertisers, realizing this trend, diverted more and
more dollars to rock radio, hoping to capture some of these listeners, most of
whom also had the most "spendable income" - they weren't paying off mortgages,
supporting kids in college or saving for retirement.
Getting dollar figures on what stations make is nearly impossible; the Federal
Communications Commission does not release them station by station. But
Louisville Area Radio Stations (LARS), a local trade group, keeps its own
figures. And part of the reason today's war is on is because the stakes have
Revenues for all Louisville stations in 1978 totaled $11.8 million. That was a
rise of 17 percent over 1977, according to LARS.
So far, 1979 looks pretty good, too, despite a declining economy. All of the
latest figures are not in yet, but based on 90 percent of the stations
reporting, Ed Henson, president of LARS in 1979, said '79 revenues would show
another 12-13 percent increase. In dollars, that means all stations here
combined took in between $12.2 million and $13.1 million. Naturally, every
station wants as much of that pot as it can grab.
Louisville used to be such a nice, quiet, steady kind of place for radio. So
did most other "markets" in the country. But with the decline of the economy,
the rise of FM radio and more money passing into the hands of people between
18 and 34, "steady" became an obsolete idea.
What's more, a whole new army has entered the radio war. These troops spend
lots of time on airplanes, studying research and demographics - the figures
and charts that break "the audience" down by age, sex and listening habits.
These folks are the consultants, and they form the "game plans" for the
stations they advise.
It's called 'the book'
American radio is a product
of American business! It is just as much that kind of product as the vacuum
cleaner, the washing machine, the automobile and the airplane. - George
Storer, Storer Broadcasting Network
The mail is in, and there it sits, its shiny red-and-white cover beckoning.
It's called "the book" at most radio stations, and its gritty newsprint pages
are crammed with numbers. It's the latest Arbitron survey, considered the
Nielsen ratings of radio.
No matter how it comes out, the ARB survey will cause headaches and
handshakes, grins and grimaces, and it will affect what you hear over your
airwaves during the coming months.
The numbers will help determine not only who's "Number 1" and with whom, they
will determine how much radio stations can charge for their airtime.
If this sounds more complicated than just "playing the hits" for any chosen
segment of the audience, you're getting the idea.
And now, Arbitron has said in New York magazine that it will begin "sweeps" 48
weeks of every 52 instead of just during the "critical" periods of April-May
and October-November. But the new system will take a while to sink in - with
both programmers and listeners - so it's that April-May 1980 book that's got
everyone's attention. It begins in two weeks.
You may already be noticing the changes if you dial around a lot. And, the new
book isn't the only reason. John Page Otting, president and general manager of
"the new KJ-100-FM and AM" (which replaced WKLO-AM and "beautiful music" WCSN
last year), looked at the last Arbitron book with consultant E. Alvin Davis
and came here full of confidence.
"People get really mad when I say Louisville is an easy market," Otting said.
"But QHI was automated and had no numbers and LRS had them all; it was obvious
from our X-ray of the market survey that there was no good rock station here -
not for that lucrative 18-34 (age) of the market."
But Otting thinks of radio as "non-existent theater," and he's proven in last
October-November's book that his formula works. If you take just the "total
persons 12 and older" Arbitron figure, which used to be "the magic number,"
his KJ-100-FM beat LRS 10.2 percent to 10.1.
That 12-and-over number isn't so important anymore, though. It's specific
categories and groups, usually those between 18 and 34, that the advertisers
want to see on "their" stations.
Battle of the gimmicks
Drivin' over canyons, singin'
to my soul
'Cause the people out there
Turn the music into gold.
John Stewart, "Gold" from the LP "Bombs
Away Dream Babies," © 1979 Bungle Publishing/Stigwood Music Inc.
Gold used to be the name of the game in records and radio. Now the word is
platinum, of course, but Stewart's point is well taken. The only problem with
it is that for the people to act and make the music "gold," they must hear it
first, and mostly, they get that first hearing on the radio.
How that happens - and the listener gets to hear something new on his radio -
is a fascinating sequence of events. It's part glamour, just like you've been
led to believe. And it's part bottom-line, down-to-the-nitty-gritty business,
complete with cutthroat competition, special sales and gimmicks and a whole
grab bag of promotional tricks.
WKJJ's program director, C.C. Matthews, for instance, is proud of a
pre-Kentucky Derby promotion that is to climax with the giveaway of a new
WRKA's Johnny Morgan was supposed to immerse himself in a tub of catsup
yesterday afternoon to prove he's a big U of L fan.
WLRS recently gave two listeners a trip to New York to see Pink Floyd's
concert version of its album, "The Wall."
LRS also has begun commercial-free "half hour music jams," an attempt to keep
people listening longer, because the ARB book also ranks stations by how long
people keep listening to any station.
WZZX has "commercial-free" time, too, and even WKJJ has positioned itself as
the station with the most "free" time, playing every third hour without
Other ideas to capture and hold listeners abound, too. Supporting local music
is one, and both WZZX and WLRS, with its homemade album projects, have become
the vogue again.
And WLRS, besides lighting up the Big Four Bridge every Christmas - and this
week in honor of the U of L NCAA champs - has covered plenty of the bases as
far as public service is concerned. After this spring's third annual "Walrus
Walk" for the March of Dimes, general manger Louisa Henson noted the station
will have donated $500,000 to the various charities in the last 2 ½ years.
Consulting, research and marketing of radio plays a larger and larger role in
the business as the slices of the available pie get thinner and a market like
Louisville becomes more and more segmented.
What's more, the Radio Advertising Bureau in New York estimates that adults of
all ages now spend five times as much time listening to radio as they do
reading newspapers. More than 114 million radios have been sold since 1972,
the RAB notes, adding that whereas 96 percent of U.S. homes have at least one
television set, there is virtually no home without a radio. Most households
have three or more.
Not only that, television watching has been dropping off in the last few years
and, according to the RAB, always drops off about 26 percent during the good
weather months. Radio, on the other hand, reaches 96 percent of the adult men
and women in the country for an average of three hours each summer day, the
So get those ears ready. The seduction as already begun, and if you listen to
radio, you're already hearing some of the techniques.
Stay tuned. It's likely to be a hot courtship before the war is over.
Rock on the radio: How the stations
WAKY-FM (790): Mike
McVay, program director at WAKY, is confident he's on the right track. He has
"the Duke of Louisville," Bill Bailey, and "as the morning goes, so goes the
day," he said. He also sees that "top singles and album tracks" get played for
his pop-adult audience.
"Basically, we're a utility - always there in the background. We want to be a
part of your life, just like the toaster, And we want people in the 25- to
49-year-old group to remember: 'We're the station you grew up with, and we've
grown up with you.'"
Besides the music, McVay like to bring in celebrities - like Jerry Mathers,
the star of TV's old "Leave It to Beaver" series - when they're in town.
"We're in a period of transition, but we're getting back on track, going for
the biggest slice we can get. We're playing Billy Joel and most of the 'top
10' artists with lots of soft rock."
As for the "real rock listeners," though, McVay has no plans to chase them at
WHAS-AM (840): "We are mass-appeal radio at WHAS," program director
Jerry David Melloy said. "Right now, we're playing Kenny Rogers AND Pink
Floyd, but the idea is to find out what the people want and give it to them.
It's a total commitment to the community, not just the music, that makes us
tops with those 25-34. Wayne Perkey is the top-rated personality in the
market; we have the largest news staff and the best equipment; our traffic
reporter has a presidential citation; we have the best sports voice in Van
Vance. We say, 'You can depend on WHAS' because we really ARE the only station
you can depend on for all those things. WLRS has been the image station among
the young. They don't make many mistakes, but even kids today know that for
news PLUS mass-appeal music, you depend on WHAS. There are always changes;
we'll change too, as our listeners change. But if you're going to be THE radio
station, you must have that total commitment, and there, we're safe."
WQHI-FM (95.7): Alan White, operations manager at WQHI, said his
station's biggest change lately has been its switch to live disc jockeys in
"prime" drive-time shifts. The station had been automated since 1974. Now, the
station hopes to develop more "personality" with live jocks and still maintain
its firm hold on the 25- to 49-year-old audience.
White doesn't see that as a big problem for QHI because, he said, the
fracturing of the market would be split up and battled for by WZZX, WKJJ and
WLRS. And QHI plans to keep its ratings stable with "good rock 'n' roll - Bob
Seger, Tom Petty - the solid trustworthy mid-'70s stuff for our 25- to
He's not worried about all the commercial-free promotions at other stations
either. "That's a vicious cycle, you know," he said.
WAVE-AM (970): Jim Markham, program director at WAVE, said he doesn't
consider his station to be in the rock wars. "We're more pop-adult or bright
MOR (middle of the road), and we want those people from 30 up - until they
die. We stay out of that 18-34 battle because we're strong on news, weather
and sports. The young people don't want news, but our listeners do.
"Basically, we're doing what we've done forever - serve the people. And we get
results for our clients (advertisers). There's going to be more and more
emphasis on the older people, so we're not worried about any race to get the
young rock listeners. Older people are spending the money now, instead of
saving for their kids and homes.
"And as you grow up, the old rock station you loved so much just doesn't work
anymore. You want the traffic copter reports, the news, the sports.
"There'll be superficial changes; right now we want to get into more lifestyle
information for our listeners. But basically, we're right were we want to be,"
WKJJ-FM (99.7) and AM (1080): "Radio is marketing. It's simple," said
E. Alvin Davis, consultant to WKJJ-FM and AM. "It could program a radio
station if I were deaf, and I believe I could deliver what people want.
"I was on the air at 18 and felt I could be anything I wanted to be. I didn't
know you had to special to get into radio; I just did it," said Davis who
swears his first initial stands for "Everlovin'" and that he created the "Paul
is dead" rumor.
John Page Otting, president and general manager of KJ-100 AM and FM, is proud
of his stations.
He said the combination of the two stations, offering listeners the added
attraction of "lateral replay," is a winner of an idea. He said he thinks
KJ-100 is first in the nation with the concept, which involves listeners
catching their favorite song on the FM side, then being told exactly when they
can turn to KJ-100-AM and hear it repeated.
Otting hopes both stations can become one, simulcast over AM and FM, "at some
point." Then, he figures, that 15 percent slice of the listener pie that means
success in Louisville will be his.
WZZX-FM (101.7): "There are so many followers and no leaders," said
Randy Davidson, music director at WZZX-FM. "Research is so cold, and music is
emotion. But there's something in the air, all right, a new movement. AOR
(adult-oriented rock radio) has become so commercial, and we want to make it
fun again - but without the problems."
Program director Mark Thomas stressed the lack of commercials on ZZX as a
solution to one "problem" listeners mention. Another plan, not yet permanent,
is a "Homegrown Music Hour," with local groups, on Sunday evenings.
"It's just one little thing, but Louisville is ready for a whole new thing. We
hope to make it a sophisticated music market," Davidson said. "I think we're
the most progressive station in town.
"We play Genesis, Gentle Giant, Toto - plus all the standards - Ronstadt,
Billy Joel, the Doobies. We won't play the Knack or Blondie, and probably not
Devo or the B-52s. But we may get into danceable new-wave stuff. It's just
that so much of it is too contrived, too vicious. With me, the music comes
WLRS-FM (102.3): Mick Dolan, program director of WLRS, said: "After
'71, the mentality changed. High ideals lost out to practicality - the 'me
generation.' But moods are coming back, mood listening, and what we really
need is more research.
"I've never been one of those 'I know" gut-reaction types. I believe in
choice, and if radio can help a person feel good about making that choice,
they'll be loyal, Music is the biggest part of it, but they've got to trust
Drake Hall, music director at WLRS, said, "If you believe in something, go for
it. If you don't, don't waste your breath. That's how you build credibility.
Imagine you're talking to one person, and if you touch one person, you've done
your job. At least that's what I've been told."
He's apparently learned well, having been voted "best AOR personality" in a
medium market at National Music Report's convention in Atlanta recently.
He and former LRS program director Lee Masters have added more "old" records
to the playlist, plus "new rock." There's no question in his mind, Hall said,
that he and WLRS have what it takes to "blow the doors off" anyone.
WRKA-FM (103.1): WRKA (formerly WNUU and, before that, WSTM) is the new
kid on the block in Louisville FM rock.
Program director Johnny Morgan said he has no worries at the moment and that
he is confident the station was on the right track with its
"progressive-oldies-adult-contemporary" mix. Morgan favors the label "oh wow
music," because WRKA's format is designed to cause listeners in the rich 25-
to 34-year-old group to say exactly that when they hear a memorable song.
"Radio changes constantly," Morgan said. "I'm sure there'll be adjustments
down the line - we have only two of the original air people we started with
now - but there are no new ideas. And we won't run scared; we won't
counter-program. My feeling is that you get your thing together and run with
it. I'm not saying there's nothing we won't play, but our research tells us
we're giving people what they want," he said.
WHAT on Earth is
Happening to Local Radio?
This article appeared in the September 1981 issue of Louisville Magazine.
By Jim Oppel
If you've noticed that
Louisville radio stations seem to playing a game of musical chairs,
switching call letters, formats and disc jockeys about as readily as
partners are changed in a square dance, you're not alone. Nearly everyone
in radio has noticed - so much so that, in the national trade, it's not
uncommon to hear references to the "the top 10 markets and Louisville."
According to Tom Birch, president of Miami-based Radio Marketing Research,
Louisville's radio market is the most competitive in the nation. That's
something of a paradox, because with annual advertising revenue of only
about $12 million, Louisville isn't a particularly lucrative radio market.
For that matter, Bill Campbell, station manager of WHAS-AM and WAMZ-FM,
says that only half of the stations here are making a profit.
At a glance, the situation looks like this: Louisville has 17 commercial
channels, nine of them on the AM band, eight of them on the FM band. A
look at formats reveals that there are five adult, three country, five
rock, two religious, and two Big Band stations, as well as one station
oriented to the black community. In addition, there are three
non-commercial, publicly-supported stations offering everything from
serious music to in-depth analyses of the news.
Blink, however, and the lineup is likely to have changed. Put another way,
it's easy to count on one hand the numbers of stations that haven't
changed formats in the past 10 years: WAVE-AM, WHAS-AM, WLOU-AM, WLRS-FM
and WVEZ-FM. They are the lucky few who somehow have managed to carve a
niche for themselves before the current game of musical chairs began.
The game itself is played at a furious pace, and it can be treacherous -
just ask any one of the 10 stations managers who have left town lately. In
fact, every major station in the city has had a change in management
within the past 18 months except for WLRS. "When my brother Ed and I first
got into the business about 10 years ago, we were the young newcomers,"
says Louisa Henson, executive vice-president and general manager of WLRS.
"Now, when we go to a trade meeting, everyone turns to us as the
Numerous dramatic seat-changes have occurred thus far in the game.
WAKY-AM, once the standard-bearer for teen music, has retained its call
letters, but settled into an adult format not unlike that of WHAS. WZZX-FM
dropped its AOR (album-oriented rock) format, changed its call letters to
WJYL-FM, and now offers one of the more novel approaches in town - a
scientifically devised flow of current hits, best of the '60s and '70s,
and standards. The list of format changes goes on, including WNNS' move
from all-news to WAMZ country, and WINN-AM's switch from country to the
Big Band sound.
So, who's on top of the game? The answer depends on which scorekeeper you
want to use: Arbitron or Birch. Not surprisingly, local station managers
will point you to whichever survey shows them to best advantage, but the
industry standard still seems to be Arbitron.
Arbitron's latest report shows that, in total number of radio listeners
between 6 a.m. and midnight, WAMZ (that's a country station, mind you)
captures the most coveted spot with a 10.6% rating. Close behind is
WVEZ-FM (presently one of two "beautiful music" stations in the local
market) with 10.4% of the listening audience.
None stations follow with shares between 10% and 5%. They are WHAS-AM
(adult), 9.7%; WKJJ-FM (top 40), 8.7%; WAVE-AM (adult), 8.2%; WRKA-FM
("between rock and rocking"), 6.8%; WCII-AM (country), 6.7%; WLOU-AM
(jazz-soul), 6.3%; WQMF-FM (AOR), 6.1%; WLRS-FM (AOR), 6.0%; and WAKY-AM
(adult), 5.0%. The six remaining commercial stations each receive less
than a 5% share of the market.
A closer look reveals some interesting breakdowns. In the teen market
(ages 12-17), WKJJ leads the pack, followed by WLRS, WQMF and WLOU. Men 18
and over prefer WAMZ; women 18 and over prefer WVEZ.
One trend indicated by the statistics is the current popularity of country
music. Among them, WAMZ, WCII and WTMT-AM are commanding an impressive
19.6% of the market. "Don't forget what country music is," says WAMZ's
Bill Campbell. "It's basically what pop music was in the '50s - music you
can tap your toe to, with a light message like 'boy meets girl.' We had 10
years of heavy music with a message, and now people are ready to have fun
What the statistics don't reveal, however, is that more than half of the
radio market in Louisville is cornered by three combinations of AM and FM
stations. For instance, the top AM station, WHAS, and the top FM station,
WAMZ, are jointly owned by the Bingham family. Between them, they have the
ear of just over one-fifth of the local market. Each of the other two
combinations, WAKY/WVEZ and WCII/WKJJ, has a 15.4% share of the market.
The statistics also don't reveal the correlation between broadcasting
power and success. With the exception of 24,500-watt WVEZ, the top four
stations just happen to be the most powerful. WAMZ has a whopping
100,000-watt channel. WHAS broadcasts with 50,000 watts (clear channel)
and WQMF-FM is carried over the air by a respectable 34,000 watts. (Note,
however, that in the FM market, antenna height is also an important
determinant of broadcasting range.)
Yet the real shortcoming of the ratings, according to Bill Campbell, is
their inability to account for subjective factors. "This business is an
art as well as a science," he stresses. "You can have the best research in
the world, but when push comes to shove, you're still dealing with a bunch
of creative people, and sometimes you make decisions based on feelings
rather than facts."
Ed Henson echoes Campbell's sentiments. "Radio is a business, and you run
it like a business," he says. "But people tend to forget that it's show
In radio, show business means high profile disc jockeys and lucrative
contests. Alan Gantman, general manager of WAKY, places great stock in his
current lineup of Liz Curtis, Jack Petrey and Bob Moody. However, the
consensus of almost everyone in the business is that when Bill Bailey -
the king of local DJs - went from WAKY to WCII, he took a lot of listeners
"Some guys don't think the DJ is important anymore, but I do," says Bill
Campbell. "And all of the people have to do well in public or we don't
hire them. People like to meet someone that they listen to on radio - to
be touched by show business."
In the realm of contests, WLRS frequently steals the show with such
lucrative giveaways as a new Mercedes-Benz and Caribbean cruises. Still,
the Hensons are the first to admit that cash value alone doesn't always
equate with the success of a contest. Several years ago the station
announced that it would give away four vacations. Each turned to be more
exotic than the last. When it came time for the Hensons to decide on the
final vacation, they knew they'd have a hard time topping the first three.
"We finally went on the air and announced a weekend for three at
Leitchfield, Kentucky - with transportation on a Greyhound bus, a sack of
White Castle hamburgers, and one bottle of Big Red," recalls Louisa
Henson with a laugh. "But people loved it, and it was the most successful
of the four trips."
Research is divided on the effectiveness of the contests. "I don't know if
they get listeners," says Ed Henson, "But they keep things exciting, and
that's important in this business. You don't want things to get static."
So what's the cause of the competitiveness and volatility of the
Louisville market? Opinions vary, but two seem to carry more weight than
the rest. The first that Louisville - a late entry into the FM market - is
going through the same sort of convolutions that other cities experienced
when they entered the market in the late '60s and early '70s. The second
is that people are simply more sophisticated in their use of radio today.
Five years ago, for instance, the average listener heard one-and-a-half
stations per week; today, the number has doubled to three. To hold the ear
of the listener, stations must be more competitive.
"I think that the market will be a lot more stable over the next few
years," observes Ed Henson. "There are no more obvious niches left. Yet I
think that the effects will be long-lasting. The quality of people who
have developed the FM market here is outstanding. As a result, the average
station here is programmed as well as any in the nation."
'Modern' Country Is Growing In Louisville
This feature appeared
in the September 19, 1981 edition of Billboard
LOUISVILLE - Country music is proving to be
a potent format here with market leader WAMZ-FM sporting a 10.6 share and
WCII-AM carving out a 6.7 portion.
Concert tie-ins bolstered WAMZ's top market spot. During the first half of
the book, the station promoted the "Derby Country Kick," a concert
headlining Asleep At The Wheel, Lacy J. Dalton, Johnny Paycheck, Hank
Williams Jr. and Merle Haggard, with ticket and album giveaways. Staged at
Freedom Hall one week prior to the Kentucky Derby, the concert drew 18,000
The "World's Greatest Country Concert Tours" highlighted the second half
of the ratings period for WAMZ. The station gave away a total of six trips
for two to see major country headliners in settings like Las Vegas and
Dallas. And an ongoing promotion for the station is a spring/summer series
of free concerts in the park featuring local talent.
On the turntable, WAMZ spins a contemporary mix backed with strong country
offerings by artists like Moe Bandy. Oldie samplings including songs in
the Marty Robbins' "El Paso" or Johnny Horton's "Battle Of New Orleans"
vein. Despite its FM position, no LP cuts are played. The current playlist
hovers around 40 cuts.
"If you can present country music in an educated way, if you can get
people to check it out, then they'll stay with it," says WAMZ program
director Coyote Calhoun, noting that the station did well in the 18-24 age
bracket for men, particularly during afternoon drive.
"We don't have a lot of hype delivery-wise," he adds. "We respect the
artist and the musician and try to use a one-to-one approach with the
In contrast to WAMZ, WCII-AM, which switched from rock to country a year
ago, has been "light in the promotion area," says operations
manager/program director Bobby Hatfield. "We've concentrated on the music,
going for an uncluttered sound."
Research has been the key to WCII's music formula. Using a list of 35
records, call-out research is done weekly. "We play whatever the
Louisville market dictates. It's a true democracy," says Hatfield.
Consistent with much of the nation, Louisville listeners favor a modern
type country sound. "We've found that the old traditional '40s songs don't
do well in research," says Hatfield, although some oldies, like Patsy
Cline tunes, do receive airplay.
Each hour is strictly formatted - 50% recurrent, 25% current and 25%
oldies, says Hatfield. Occasionally, LP cuts are played. Special
programming includes "Nashville Record Review" and a weekly in-house top
30 countdown, compiled from call-out research and sales reports.
Giving a boost to WCII's morning drive was the implementation of deejay
Bill Bailey, formerly with WAKY-AM, during that time slot. The station
caters to the 25-54 age bracket, with almost equal shares in males and
Hatfield admits that WINN-AM's February conversion from country to big
band/classic tunes, did not hurt WCII's ratings. Pleased with its format
change, WINN's executive vice president and co-owner Charles R. LeGette
says, "We had a twofold reason for changing format. First of all, the
competition was so strong with WAMZ on FM and WCII converting to country
on the AM, that it had reached the point where we were treading water with
LeGette says that the second factor for the switch was economic, that
there weren't enough dollars to support all the country stations in the
market. "Programming-wise, we went for the most affluent audience." The
station pitted itself against adult contemporary stations with a "Music Of
America" format, a ruse which paid off in the 35-64 age group.
DJ Dictionary: A guide to who's who on the radio
This article appeared in the
May 19, 1982 issue of the Louisville Times TV Scene.
By Times TV-Radio Critic
When we published our last "DJ
Dictionary," Bill Bailey and Coyote Calhoun were top-40 deejays at WAKY,
Dickie Braun was playing country music at WINN, and Gary Major was
spinning rock 'n' roll platters at WKLO.
Now Bailey and Calhoun have both gone country - Bailey at WCII, Calhoun at
WAMZ. Braun is still country, but WINN isn't. He now works at WAMZ. And
Gary is back at WKLO. Only they call it WKJJ not. And it's the FM side
instead of the AM.
That means it must be time for another edition of "DJ Dictionary."
We don't have as much space to devote to it this time as we did last time,
so there won't be any pictures and biographies. The format is different,
too. We are listing the deejays alphabetically instead of by station. So
if Dan Deely used to be your favorite deejay when he at WQMF and you've
been missing him since he left, you run down to the "D's" and discover
that he's back in town and working at WLRS.
Here's a list of who's who on the radio and when you can hear him.
(* Means a deejay is at the same station he was at three years ago when we
published our last "DJ Dictionary." The station in parentheses is where
the DJ was working three years ago, if he was in Louisville then. Times
listed are for weekdays.)
David Anderson* - WLOU, 10 a.m.-noon
Bill Bailey - WCII, 6-10 a.m. (WAKY). Some DJs are quick of tongue.
Bill Bailey is the endurance runner of tongues. He's still the Duke of
Louisville, even if does have to play an occasion drunken-cowboy song. It
doesn't much matter what the music is, it's just there to fill the time
between his tirades.
Jerry Bigler* - WVEZ, noon-6 p.m.
Future Bob - See listing under "F."
Barbara Bothwell - WLRS, 7 p.m.-midnight
Russ Bradley - WQMF, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Dickie Braun - WQMF, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Allen Brown* - WAVG, 10 a.m.-noon.
Brown remains the same; his station has changed its call letters from
WAVE to WAVG.
Coyote Calhoun - WAMZ, 2-6 p.m.
(WAKY). Coyote has left town and returned since our last guide.
Chuck Casteel* - WAVG, 6-11 p.m. He is also the host of WAVE-TV's
Ron Chilton - WXVW, 6
Brian Christopher - WLRS, 11
Gary Clark - WJYL, noon-6 p.m.
Shelby Clark - WCII, midnight-6
Ron Clay* - (with Terry Meiners)
WLRS, 5:30-9:30 a.m. Clay lost his longtime sidekick Dan Burgess to WHAS
radio news. He is now suffering from "Morning Sickness" (which is also the
name of his show). It it not for the fait of ear. Just this past week,
with the help of two priests, Father Linguini and Father Piaza, they
managed to exorcise the ghost of Ward Cleaver, which had been haunting the
show since Hug Beaumont's death.
Steve Cochran - WTMT, 6:15
Bill Cody - WHAS, 10 p.m.-5:30
Bill Cole - WTMT, 6-10 a.m.
Dave Conley - WLRS, 9:30-11 a.m.
Valerie Cox - WQMF, 2-6 a.m.
Steve Craft - WCII, 7 p.m.-midnight
Jeff Crawford - WRKA, 1-6 a.m.
Liz Curtis - WAKY, 1-4 p.m. Curtis is the former "Big Blonde" at
WQMF, now just plain Liz Curtis for all oldies WAKY. I think she has one
of the best voices, male or female, in person.
Archie Dale* - WDGS, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Randy Davidson - WRKA, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dan Deely - WLRS, 3-7 p.m. (WZZX, now WJYL)
Joe Donovan* - WHAS, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. If DJs, like good-field, no-hit
shortstops can be underrated, then Donovan is. His show is consistently
interesting to listen to.
Bobby Dries - WTMT, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Gary Elder - WJYL, 6 p.m.-midnight
Joe Fedele - WRKA, 2-6 p.m.
Tim Fenn - WUOL, announcer for most of the schedule
Tony Fields - WLOU, 6 p.m.-sign-off
Future Bob - WQMF, 6-10 p.m.
Rose Garrette - WDGS, 2-8:45 p.m. WDGS was an all-talk station in
our last guide. It went off the air for a while and is back as a black
Steve George - WAVG, noon-2 p.m.
Tom Hall - WVEZ, midnight-6 a.m.
Tom Hardin - WXVW, 6 a.m.-noon
Gary Hart - WOBS, 6 a.m.-noon
Larry Holland - WINN, noon-6 p.m.
Mac Hunter - WINN, midnight-6 a.m.
Randy Hutchason - WFIA, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Eddie James - WOBS, 5 p.m.-sign-off
Rock N. Roll Jones - WQMF, 6-10 a.m. No relation to Basketball
Chris Kelly - WKJJ, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Ev Kelly - (With Tim Kelly) WAKY 6-10 a.m. You've seen them
on billboards, where you probably thought they were twins, but Tim and Ev
are a husband-and-wife team. She's the cure one - except on the
Tim Kelly - (With Ev Kelly) WAKY, 6-10 a.m. He's the other
J.R. Kennedy - WCII, 3-7 p.m. He is now J.R., not Junior. Junior
Kennedy was at one time the "next great second baseman" for the Cincinnati
Reds. He has since been traded.
Danny King* - WAVG, 5:30-10:00 a.m.
B.J. Koltee - WAKY, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Jill Lawrence - WKJJ, 7-midnight
Katherine Lurton - WUOL, 4-7 p.m.
Lisa Lyons - WLRS, midnight-5:30 a.m.
What's on the radio?
WTMT-620 - country (daytime only)
WAKY-790 - all oldies from years 1957-1973
WHAS-840 - adult contemporary and sports
WFIA-900 - religious programs (day-time only)
WAVG-970 - adult contemporary and sports
WCII-1080 - country
WINN-1240 - big band
WDGS-1300 - gospel (daytime only)
WLOU-1350 - soul and funk (daytime only, but recently granted
permission to broadcast full-time)
WXVW-1450 - big band
WOBS-1570 - religious programs (daytime only)
WFPL-89.3 - talk (public radio) and jazz
WUOL-90.5 - classical and public radio
WFPK-91.9 - classical
WQMF-95.7 - rock
WAMZ-97.5 - country
WKJJ-99.7 - rock, but moving toward adult contemporary
WJYL-101.7 - soft rock
WLRS-102.3 - rock
WRKA-103.1 - adult rock
WXLN-103.9 - religious programs
WVEZ-106.9 - easy listening
Gary Major - WKJJ, 6-10 a.m.
Karen Markins - WQMF, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Mark Mason - WXLN, 2-6 p.m.
Dave McCann - WKJJ, 3-7 p.m.
Bill McClane - WTMT, 2-6:15 p.m. (WNUU, now WRKA.) He was traded
from WNUU to WTMT for Robert Cline and a player to be named later. You
could look it up.
Brother Alvin McCottrey - WDGS, 6-11 a.m.
Terry Meiners - (with Ron Clay) WLRS, 5:30-9:30 a.m. See listing
under Ron Clay.
Milton Metz* - WHAS, 7-10 p.m. Metz still here.
Duke Meyer - WQMF, 2-6 p.m.
Brady Miller - WFPK, 5:30-10 a.m. and 4:30-7 p.m.
Bob Moody - WAKY, 4-7 p.m. Incredible as it may seem, Moody wasn't
working in Louisville at the time of our last guide.
Gary Moore - WRKA, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Bobby Jack Murphy - WAMZ, 6-11 p.m.
Pat Murphy - WAVG, 2-6 p.m. Mr. Murphy sometimes works in
Louisville radio and sometimes doesn't. Right now he does.
Kevin O'Neil - WKJJ, midnight-6 a.m.
Neal O'Rea - WLOU - 6-10 a.m.
Wayne Perkey* - WHAS, 5:30-10 a.m. The most aptly named DJ in town.
Wayne? No, Perkey.
Ed Phillips - WCII, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Drewe Phinny - WRKA, 6-10 a.m. For my money (and there isn't very
much of it), Phinny has the best morning voice in town. It is soothing.
Something that morning isn't.
Bill Price* - WLOU - 3-6 p.m.
Mike Redford* - WXVW, noon-6 p.m.
Bob Reis - WINN, 6 a.m.-noon. (WQHI, now WQMF)
Chuck Sears - (with Ed Sears) WOBS, noon-5 p.m.
Ed Sears - (with Chuck Sears) WOBS, noon-6 p.m.
Karl Shannon - WAMZ, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Rick Sparks - WXLN, 6-7:30 p.m.
Pete Sullivan - WHAS, 3-7 p.m.
Charlie (T) Thomas - WLOU, noon-3 p.m.
Lee Tobin - WRKA, 6-9 p.m.
Jim Todd - WXLN, 6-9 a.m.
David Wayne - WJYL, midnight-6 a.m.
Jerry Weston - WFPL, 8 p.m.-1 a.m.
Alan White - WINN, 6 p.m.-midnight (WQHI, now WMF)
Bill Wilder* - WVEZ, 6 p.m.-midnight
Mark Williams - WJYL, 6 a.m.-noon
Ed Williamson* - WVEZ, 6 a.m.-noon
The tote board:
There were 79 DJs listed in our last guide; there are 88 this time.
Fifteen deejays are working at the same place they were three years ago;
25 of the 79 are still working in Louisville radio. Many of the full-time
DJs listed today were part-time and weekend deejays at the time of the
Voices in the Morning
This article appeared
Accent section of the Courier-Journal on July 29, 1982.
It profiled all of
the morning jocks on commercial radio in Louisville at that time.
By Tom Dorsey
Courier-Journal TV & Radio Critic
Voices in the morning. From
clock and car radios their oh-so-cheerful, up-and-at-'em early-morning words
come into our lives each day. They tell us the time every second except, it
seems, the minute we really need it. They warn us to carry umbrellas on bright
sunny days or insist that old Sol is shining as we watch the windshield wipers
They are the disc jockeys, the personalities who drag us from bed and get us
through a first cup of coffee. They make the morning rush hour bearable as we
weave our way to work. They become so familiar that people think of them as
friends, although most listeners haven't the slightest idea who they are or
what they look like.
As a public service we interrupt this page to bring you the image behind the
voices and a little bit about their lives. Since ego can be a problem in the
airwaves business, we present them in alphabetical order.
Mark Anderson, WTMT
Married; one child
Hometown: Lynch, Kentucky
Anderson is the newest, but one
of the oldest, morning radio voices in Louisville. He's the newest because he
just began the 6 to 10 a.m. shift on WTMT last Monday. But he's been around.
He had been with WTMT since 1971 before leaving last August because "I simply
was tired." He left on good terms and the station called him back to work last
Anderson got his broadcasting start when he was 17 and playing in a band in
Harlan County. "One night at the VFW dance a guy came up and said, 'Hey, you
got a good voice. How'd you like to work at my radio station?'" How the man
knew Anderson had a good voice was a mystery, since the teenager played piano
in the band and didn't sing. However, Anderson got his first radio job at WCPM
in Cumberland before he was out of high school. Later he worked at WTCW in
Whitesburg and WKOY in Bluefield, West Virginia.
In 1969 he came to Louisville to work for WINN, as about half the other DJs in
town have done at one time or another. In 1971 he took two jobs - daytime at
WTMT and nights at WAKY. That went on until 1973, when he quit WAKY and became
program director at WTMT.
Bill Bailey, WCII
Married - six times ("First time at 18"); three children
Hometown: New Bern, North Carolina
Bailey refuses to say how "fiftyish" he is. But it's believed he's 55, based
on usually reliable information such as the statement that he got his first
job in New Bern at age 18 playing 78 rpm records. He was born William Boahn in
that tiny North Carolina town.
Louisville first heard his raspy ravings in 1965 over now-defunct WKLO. That
job got him an offer to do his act on ABC-owned WLS in Chicago. "Hated it." He
made a triumphant return to River City in 1969 over WAKY where he crowned
himself "The Duke of Louisville." He has also spun records and spoken his
piece on radio stations in Anchorage, Alaska; Chicago; Winston-Salem, North
Carolina; Salt Lake City; Houston; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
He paints for fun and profit and would like to open a restaurant someday.
Dickie Braun, WAMZ-FM
Married; one son, one daughter
Braun got his first radio job in Ronceverte, West Virginia in 1952 at radio
station WRON, a "position" that called for him to take tickets at the theater
downstairs when hasn't on the air upstairs. Four years later he made the big
time in Beckley, West Virginia, joining WWNR.
Braun got into radio because, as a victim of polio, he "spent a lot of shut-in
time as a kid, and there wasn't much to do but listen to the radio." He still
wears a brace because of the illness. His parents died when he was 12 and he
was sent to the Industrial Home for Crippled Children. After high school he
majored in accounting at the University of Pittsburgh and then took that
announcing/ticket-taking job. Since then he's been heard in Buffalo, ("left
after the first snow"), New Orleans and Cincinnati. He's also worked for WKLO,
WLRS and WAVE in Louisville.
He's best known here for his 10-year stint as Wretched Richard on WINN in the
Ron Clay, WLRS-FM
Married; two daughters (6 and 3)
Hometown: New York City
Clay is half of the WLRS rush-hour show that's aptly dubbed "Morning
Sickness." (The other half is Terry Meiners, about whom you'll read later.)
Together they make up the resident wise guys who play a kind of
can-you-top-this? game of one-liners between records.
Clay has been in Louisville four years, but he's done his routine on radio
stations in Kansas City, St. Louis and Long Beach, California. He says he
loves Lou-a-vul best of all. "I like the station and the people here." He got
into radio because his father was in the radio production business.
Clay's hobbies are kids and dogs, and his favorite thing is "hiding out."
Tom Hardin, WXVW
Hometown: Taylorsville, Kentucky
He has been at the Jeffersonville, Indiana station for the past year and a
half. He moved there from WINN, which had hired him away from WCND in
Shelbyville. Hardin climbed the radio ladder in the traditional way - up
through a series of small-town radio jobs that included tours in Williamsburg
and Brandenburg, Kentucky.
"I've always enjoyed radio, but I'm also going to Ivy Tech at night with an
eye toward a different future," he says. "I might like to get into the
electronics and engineering part of the communications business. You only live
so long." He thinks being a radio DJ is like being a ballplayer - "your prime
time may be a short time."
R.G. Jones, WQMF-FM
Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia
Jones has been at the rock station for a year and likes to refer to himself as
"Rock 'n' Roll" Jones. His real first name is Rory. His family called him R.G.
and a nickname of Rolan evolved into "Rock 'n' Roll" in Charleston.
By whatever name, R.G. got into radio at 14 "before, after and sometimes
during school." He signed on as a "gofer" for his brother, who worked at WMOV
in Ravenswood, West Virginia. The first time Jones was heard over the air was
on a college station at the University of West Virginia in Morgantown. His
first paying radio job was at WKLC in St. Albans, West Virginia. Jones later
worked for a string of stations (four of them) in Parkersburg, where he was
known to his fans as Dave Michaels. He managed to be heard over six stations
before he was 21.
When he isn't making racquet over WQMF, he's on a racquetball court or out
Evelyn Kelly, WAKY
Married; one very small daughter
Ev, as she's called by her husband, is half of one of the few husband-wife
radio teams in the nation and the only one in Louisville. She's also the only
woman DJ on drive-time morning radio in Louisville. The other half of her act
(husband Tim) was also born in Detroit, but the two never met there. They
traveled different paths to meet at a Denver radio station. Her parents sent
her off to Europe to cool the romance. But Tim hocked his motorcycle to chase
his true love.
He caught up with her and they've been a team ever since, but it hasn't been
easy succeeding in broadcasting. It seems nobody wanted a twosome on the air,
much less a married one. At some stations they had to use different names. In
Boston she had to change her name to Beverly Hudson to work at the same
station as her husband. KFI radio in Los Angeles was the first radio station
to recognize their marriage, one that produced Elizabeth, the light of her
mother's life and her only "hobby."
Tim Kelly, WAKY
Married; "one delightful daughter"
Ev's other, "but not necessarily better, half." Kelly ended up working for a
radio station in Buffalo. From there he headed West, met Evelyn and their
Silhouette-novel romance got under way. After their marriage they worked radio
stations in Chicago, San Antonio, Boston and Washington - but not as a team.
"Radio is the reverse of society," Kelly says. "Everybody wants to be married;
radio wants a couple to keep it a secret." They finally got to work as a team
at KFI in Los Angeles in 1979. Then last September Ev and Tim got a call from
Would they like to be on during the morning rush hour, radio's prime time?
They would and still are.
Danny King, WAVG
Married; one daughter
"Yeah, I'm one of the few who grew up here. I got my first job at the old WREY
in New Albany as a DJ and clean-up man." He also put in a year at WKRX, which
became WVEZ-FM. In 1970, he signed on - where else? - at WINN radio, where he
did an all-night show and was program director.
By 1972, he was a little down on radio and itching to try his hand at the
recording-studio business. The result? "I lost a bundle." So King went to WAVE
in 1974. In 1980 he took a shot at teaching broadcasting at a school in
Connecticut. A year and a half of that convinced him that he belonged behind
the mike and he rejoined WAVE radio, which became WAVG last year when WLRS
He's married to an airline stewardess and they plan to open an art gallery and
gift shop, "sometime in the future." In his spare time he likes to collect and
refinish antiques and go up, up and away in hot-air balloons.
Gary Major, WKJJ
Married; two children (5 months and 19 months)
Hometown: Saginaw, Michigan
Major got his first radio job at WCOW in Sparta, Wisconsin in 1966 when he was
19. "It never got above 20 below. I froze my tail off for 10 days and then
left." He went back home to Saginaw, which he insists is warmer, and worked
for three different radio stations there. But he yearned for still warmer
climes, and he climbed into his car in 1972 and headed for Norfolk, Virginia.
A year or so later, however, he was being heard over WKLO In Louisville, where
he stayed for six years until it became WKJJ. Then he went of to Decatur,
Illinois to learn management, and found out that "it was a dumb move." In 1980
Major came back to town to work at WAVE radio just in time for the station to
be sold out from under him. He found himself out of a job, but he landed on
his feet back at WKJJ, where he likes the climate.
"Louisville is my home. If I have to choose between being in radio and being
in Louisville, I would choose Louisville."
About the DJ business he says: "If you can't make a few waves, it's no fun. In
this business you have to take the knocks. Some manager will always want you
to part your hair on the other side or the new owner won't like your tone of
voice." But, just like the rest of the DJs, he loves radio. "Except the part
where you have to get up at 4:15 after you've been up at 3:15 with the baby."
Terry Meiners, WLRS-FM
Meiners is the other half of WLRS' Ron Clay-Terry Meiners,
Ripley's-Believe-It-or-Not, R-rated radio show. His first memory of a radio
station was Coyote Calhoun showing him the ropes as a teenager when Calhoun
worked at WAKY radio in 1975. "I spent my summers hanging out there."
Meiners grew up in the Germantown area, but left at 18 to study communications
at the University of Kentucky. While he was there he worked four years as disc
jockey for WKQQ in Lexington. "Once I got tired of radio and tried running a
grocery store. That came to a fast finish when somebody threatened my life."
He finds gag radio much safer. And the pay's good too - "$102 a week."
Neal O'Rea, WLOU
In spite of his age, O'Rea's a veteran disc jockey. He started with WLOU when
was just 16. "I was working at a restaurant and they had the radio on. I
thought, 'Hey I can do that.' So I looked into it, found out what I had to do,
which was study and get a Federal Communications Commission license in those
days. I did it by studying at the library.
"After I got the ticket I contacted some friends and made an audition tape. I
was nervous, but I sounded very confident. The next thing I knew my classmates
at Central were hearing me on WLOU."
That was 1973. He's had offers from stations in cities up North but they
didn't sound good. A feeler from a Dallas station in tempting, too, "but I
love this city. My family and my friends are all here. It would have to be an
awfully good offer to get me to say goodbye to Louisville."
Wayne Perkey, WHAS
Married; three daughters, two sons
Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee
Perkey is the dean of DJs in Louisville, in terms of service at one station -
12 years. He's also one of the few who has never worked at WINN or any other
He was studying to be either a lawyer or a diplomat at the University of
Tennessee when a friend "saw a notice that the campus radio station was
auditioning for announcers. He said, 'Let's go try it for fun.' I said,
'You've got to be kidding, with our hillbilly accents.'" But Perkey got the
job and he's been talking to microphones ever since.
His first paying job was at WNOX in Knoxville. Then he went to Mobile,
Alabama, and put in three years at WALA-TV. After that he settled into his
Off air, Perkey's a man for all seasons, coaching Little League football,
basketball and baseball. He loves it. What he doesn't like is getting up at 4
in the morning to come to work. But he has a daughter at UK, another in law
school and a third in medical school, which explains why he puts up with the
Drewe Phinny, WRKA-FM
Like the other record players and yarn spinners, Phinny has been around the
radio loop. He's worked in Atlantic City, Des Moines "and other hot spots." He
also put in time on stations in Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia
before he came to WRKA in 1980.
Not long after he joined the station, doctors found that he had a brain tumor.
"I was scared. I had been in Vietnam, but this was a lot worse." Surgeons
successfully removed the tumor, which the doctor had thought was malignant,
and it was found to be benign. Now Phinny's back at work with "a few leftover"
problems from the surgery "but nothing I can't handle." He found the station
and people to be "wonderful" during his illness. "I'm here forever, and I'm
not just saying that."
Now his very favorite thing is Redbird baseball. "I go every other night and
eat hot dogs. I'm wild about it, but I gotta cut down on the popcorn and
Bob Reis, WINN
Here's somebody working at WINN right now. Reis is a Waggener High School
graduate, class of 1973, who "just sort of stumbled" into radio. He first
worked at WQHI when it was an automated station, meaning that the only
announcing involved delivering the time, weather and a few headlines on the
He liked fooling around electronics so much that he stuck around six years.
"They liked my voice, and I liked the production side of the business." But in
1981 the station was sold and its call letters were changed. Reis was out and
all set to stand in the unemployment line when WINN, which was undergoing
another in a continuing series of palace revolutions, offered him a job.
Jim Todd, WXLN
Married; two sons (3 years and 3 months)
Hometown: North Platte, Nebraska
Todd got his first job in his hometown when he was going to North Platte
Junior College. A friend submitted his name to a radio station. The officials
there asked for an audition tape, liked what they heard and made him an offer.
"It was crazy. I'd never even thought about going into radio." He was a
college math and physics major. "But radio is mixed up with all that
electronic stuff, so I felt right at home. The longer you work in radio the
more you become addicted."
Todd stuck around North Platte until 1977, when he joined WOBS in New Albany,
Indiana, and also taught electronics at Ivy Tech. Four years ago he switched
Mark Williams, WJYL
Hometown: Long Beach, California
Williams says he knew he wanted to be on radio when he was only 10 years old.
He grew up in the Los Angeles area, where there are almost as many radio
stations as listeners.
"There were lots of big radio personalities in those days, and it was very
exciting business. Besides, I've always loved anything to do with music and
electronics." So, like other would-be DJs, he started hanging around radio
stations. KLFM in Long Beach adopted him as a gofer when he was 14 and he
ferried coffee back and forth for the DJs, feeling very important. The day
finally came when one of the on-the-air whizbangs got sick. "The general
manager pointed his finger at me and said, 'You're going on the air.' You have
to realize it wasn't a very big station and nobody probably knew I was ever
But it was the beginning of an eight-station jaunt up and down the California
Coast, from San Jose to San Diego. In San Bernardino, California, he met Jim
Markam who later moved to WAVE radio in Louisville and brought Williams east
in the summer of 1979. But then Markam left, and Williams went to WZZX, which
became WJYL about 18 months ago.
Radio ratings: Who's hot and who's not
This article appeared
in the Courier-Journal TV SCENE on January 28, 1984.
Times TV-Radio Critic
Radio ratings are deceptive creatures. A
station can have a small rating but be a huge success because it has the right
ratings -- it has done well among the people it is aimed at.
Take WJYL for instance. Among all radio listeners age 12 and older, it
attracts only 3.3 percent of the audience. But look at the ratings for young
adults (18-24), the group which would be most interested in Top 40 music
(which WJYL plays much of the time), and WJYL has 9.3 percent of the male
audience and 7.8 percent of the female audience, ranking fourth in both
categories. WRKA ranks eighth among all listeners, but it is the second most
popular station playing adult contemporary music.
Are you an aging member of the baby boom generation and feel ashamed to tell
your co-workers you listen to rock station WQMF? Fear no more. You're not
alone. WQMF is the second most popular station among male members of the
baby-boom generation (25-54).
Here are some interesting things gleaned from the latest radio ratings survey
conducted in Louisville during the fall by the Arbitron ratings service.
Morning Drive (6-10 a.m.)
People are getting ready to go to work,
people are on their way to work, people are sitting in traffic at Spaghetti
Junction wondering why they call it traffic when it never moves. This is the
big time in radio, the time when more people are listening than any other.
Here are top morning deejays in town (based on people 12 years and older in
the metro Louisville area).
1. Wayne Perkey (WHAS-AM) - 14.7 percent of all listeners. Wayne is king of
the morning. He as much ringmaster as deejay as he keeps his show moving from
traffic reports to news to sports to weather to school closings.
2. Ron Clay and Terry Meiners (WQMF-FM) - 11.7 percent. The most original --
and vulgar -- minds on Louisville radio are at top of the rock music heap. I
don't know whether the attraction is the outrageous things they say or the
music they play.
3. Dickie Braun (WAMZ-FM) - 11.2 percent.
4. Tony Fields (WLOU-AM) - 9.5 percent.
5. Bill Bailey (WCII-AM) - 7.5 percent.
6. Ed Williamson (WVEZ-FM) - 6.7 percent.
7. (Tie) Drewe Phinny (WRKA-FM) - 6.1 percent.
7. (Tie) Gary Major/George Lindsey (WKJJ-FM) - 6.1 percent
9. Allen Brown (WAVG-AM) - 5.8 percent.
10. Liz Curtis (WAKY-AM) 4.6 percent.
11. Ron Chilton (WXVW) - 2.9 percent.
12. Pru Miller and Dane Deely/Dave Morgan (WLRS-FM) - 2.8 percent.
Afternoon drive (3-7 p.m.)
This is the second most important time period
on radio. The people who were trapped in their cars going into work are now
trapped in the traffic on their way home.
1. Bill Price (WLOU) - 13.6 percent. This quite an achievement for Price and
WLOU, considering that the station signed off at sundown which was near 6 p.m.
at the end of the ratings period.
2. Coyote Calhoun (WAMZ) - 12.2 percent.
3. Rock and Roll Jones (WQMF) - 10.6 percent.
4. Bill Cody (WHAS) - 8.4 percent.
5. Jerry Bigler/Tom Hall (WVEZ) - 8.0 percent.
6. Leigh Jacobs (WKJJ) - 7.1 percent.
7. Doug Lane (WCII) - 5.6 percent.
8. Bob Moody (WAKY) - 4.9 percent.
9. (Tie) Brian Christopher (WLRS) - 4.7 percent.
10. (Tie) Joe Fedele (WRKA) - 4.7 percent.
11. Pat Murphy/Lee Masters (WAVG) - 3.3
Turning now from individual deejays to
stations, these ratings are for the group most advertisers request. (Ratings
hereafter are for the time period Monday through Sunday 6 a.m. to midnight.)
1. WAMZ - 14.4
2. WLOU - 11.5
3. WHAS - 10.2
4. WVEZ - 8.9
5. WCII - 8.1
6. WRKA - 7.7
7. WAKY - 6.8
8. WKJJ - 6.3
9. WQMF - 4.8
10. WAVG - 3.4
11. WJYL - 1.9
12. WINN - 1.3
13. WTMT - 0.8
Young Adults (18-34)
This is traditionally the rock music crowd,
but country and soul made strong inroads during this ratings period. The big
news (and bad news for WLRS) is the large lead WQMF has.
1. WQMF - 28.8
2. WLOU - 18.6
3. WLRS - 11.0
4. (Tie) WAMZ - 9.3
4. (Tie) WJYL - 9.3
1. WQMF - 19.0
2. (Tie) WLOU - 14.7
2. (Tie) WAMZ - 14.7
4. WJYL - 7.8
5. WLRS - 6.0
Older Adults (35-64)
Country is the music of preference here.
1. WAMZ - 14.8
2. WVEZ - 13.9
3. WHAS - 12.2
4. WCII - 10.3
5. WLOU - 7.9
6. WAVG - 5.8
7. WXVW - 5.4
WQMF is now the dominant teen station.
1. WQMF - 32.5
2. WLOU - 18.7
3. WLRS - 14.6
4. WJYL - 8.1
5. WAMZ - 6.5
Baby Boom (25-34)
This is the group born right after World Ware
II, when birth rates made a huge jump. This group can't decide between rock,
county and oldies.
1. WAMZ - 12.7
2. (Tie) WQMF - 11.3
2. (Tie) WLOU - 11.3
4. (Tie) WAKY - 9.9
5. (Tie) WHAS - 9.9
1. WLOU - 15.7
2. WRKA - 15.0
3. WAMZ - 13.1
4. WKJJ - 9.8
5. WVEZ - 7.2
By format, the ratings look like this:
Target audience, 25-54
1. WHAS - 10.2
2. WRKA - 7.7
3. WAKY - 6.8
4. WKJJ - 6.3
5. WAVG - 3.4
6. WJYL - 1.9
Target audience, 25-54
1. WAMZ - 14.4
2. WCII - 8.1
3. WINN - 1.3
4. WTMT - 0.8
Target audience, 18-24
1. WQMF - 28.8
2. WLRS - 11.0
3. WJYL - 9.3
1. WQMF - 19.0
2. WJYL - 7.8
3. WLRS - 6.0
And finally, in total audience (age 12 or
older) the rankings look like this:
1. WAMZ - 12.2
2. WLOU - 11.4
3. WQMF - 10.0
4. WHAS - 9.7
5. WVEZ - 8.6
6. WCII - 6.2
7. WKJJ - 5.9
8. WRKA - 5.4
9. WAKY - 4.4
10. (Tie) WLRS - 4.3
10. (Tie) WAVG - 4.3
12. WJYL - 3.3
13. WXVW - 2.8
14. WINN - 1.7
15. WXLN - 1.6
16. WFIA - 1.3
17. WDGS - 1.0
18. WTMT - 0.6
Arbitron did not measure the audiences of the public radio stations.
This really only touches on the tip of the radio ratings. To do a thorough job
you'd need to read the ratings book.
New and improved?
WRKA, "hit radio 103," is playing 10 in a row
This article appeared
in the Louisville Times in early 1984.
Times TV-Radio Critic
Listeners to WRKA-FM (103.1) may be wondering
why the station is suddenly calling itself "the new RKA." The station isn't
new. It's been around as WKRA since January 1, 1980.
But last week WRKA became "The new RKA," "hit radio 103" and "your 10-in-a-row
What is going on?
"Last fall, through research, we became aware that we were losing audience,"
said Joe Koetter, the station's general manager. "We also became aware that
the market wanted a station that would play more music."
So now WRKA is playing 10 songs in a row to try to regain the audience it lost
in the past few months.
The music isn't much different, but is "a little more up-tempo," said Koetter.
There isn't as much Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.
Format changes and adjustments mean personal changes. The only causally thus
far at WRKA is News Director Howard Modell, who had been when the station
Modell, whose reports have won two Louie awards and three consecutive UPI
broadcast awards (including best newscast in a 14-state region in 1983), has
been replaced temporarily by Mindy Crosby, who had been the all-night DJ.
Also, the news has been moved from the top and bottom of the hour to 20 after
and 10 till, indicating a lower commitment to news.
"We haven't reduced our information. The emphasis is on information to keep
you pleasantly informed, but not enough to bore you. If people want a lot of
information, frankly, they're not going to tune us in," Koetter said.
Modell said, "WRKA is doing what many other FM music stations have done. The
theory is the listener tunes in primarily for music, therefore, news has
little value and is essentially a tune-out factor. I think that is
underestimating the listener who does want information. A minute of news is
just a minute of news, just a few headlines. You're not enlightening the
listener. It's a pretty appalling trend, but it seems to be the way radio is
For Modell, 35, the firing came at an inopportune time, not that there is an
opportune time to be fired: His wife had just given birth to their second
child, a girl, five days earlier.
Koetter says, "Howard is a good journalist. But our direction wasn't going
more and more toward news. His hard pursuit goes more with stations going more
for news. Our primary thrust is more with 10 songs in a row."
In other radio news, Kim Scott is returning
to WHAS-AM as traffic reporter. Scott will take over for Dick Gilbert, who
retired at the end of last year. She will report from the traffic helicopter
weekday mornings and afternoons.
Scott was the midmorning announcer at WHAS until last March, when she left to
work for a Cleveland FM station. She will start February 25.
If you are curious about how Louisville's
other radio stations did in the recent ratings, here are the rankings among
all listeners 12-years-old and older.
1. WAMZ-FM (97.5) 11.4 percent of the
2. WHAS-AM (840) - 10.7
3. WLRS-FM (102.3) - 10.4
4. WQMF-FM (95.7) - 10.3
5. WLOU-AM (1350) - 8.3
6. WVEZ-FM (106.9) - 7.8
7. WAVG-AM (970) - 7.0
8. WKJJ-FM (99.7) - 5.7
9. WJYL-FM (101.7) - 5.1
10. WCII-AM (1080) - 5.0
11. WRKA-FM (103.1) - 3.8
12. WAKY-AM (790) - 2.7
13. WXVW-AM (1450) - 2.2
14. WXLN-FM (103.9) - 1.4
No other station had as much as a 1 percent
share of listening audience.
One caution: This ratings list is for bragging rights only. No station tries
to capture the 12-plus audience. Each aims at a segment, say the
25-to-54-year-olds or the 18-to-24-year olds.
The big winner in the fall ratings period was WLRS, which jumped from a 4
percent share of the audience during the same ratings period last year to a
10.3 this time. Its increase can be attributed to a format change; the station
changed from album rock to top 40. Oddly, it made its gains without taking
listeners from WQMF, Louisville's other young-adult station.
Scan the dial…a look at Louisville radio offerings
This article appeared
in the Louisville Times in the Summer of 1984.
Times TV-Radio Critic
Summer means radio: transistor radios at the
pool, car radios with the windows down, Walkman radios on the Belvedere.
Let's scan the dial and update you on Louisville radio.
WTMT-AM (620) - The city's longest-running country-music radio station.
A couple of years ago, the WTMT format was moved towards modern country music,
but it's still the best place to hear traditional country. It's also strong on
horse racing, with daily coverage of the last two races at Churchill Downs and
a wrap-up of all the tracks at 6 p.m.
WAKY-AM (790) - Oldies, at least for now. The station is in the process
of being sold and much of the staff has abandoned ship. The prospective owners
have said they will keep the station playing oldies, at least for a while.
WHAS-AM (840) - News, weather, sports (UK and U of L), adult
contemporary music and a number of WAKY refugees. It's the dominant radio news
WFIA-AM (900) - Religious format. Some of the talk shows have a
conservative political bend ("The Voice of Americanism").
WAVG-AM (970) - Music in the day; sports and talk at night. Pat Murphy
is gone; Jerry David Melloy is back as his replacement. WAVG is the home of
Redbirds baseball and beginning Sunday it will carry some of the games of the
St. Louis Cardinals, the parent team of the Redbirds.
WCII-AM (1080) - Bill Bailey and country music.
WLLV-AM (1240) - Formerly WINN. Once country, then big band, then
country again, WLLV is no playing what we might call easy listening. It's a
mix of soft rock and standards. Times sports columnist Rick Bozich talks show
weekday mornings at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:40.
WDGS-AM (1300) - Gospel
WLOU-AM (1350) - Louisville's longtime black station is now on the air
24 hours a day. It could have two competitors for the black audience by fall;
WVEZ and WJYL are being sold and both prospective owners say they will switch
to an urban-contemporary format.
WXVW-AM (1450) - Still "The Music of Your Life," which is a mix of big
band and standards. Also, the home of "Your Hit Parade" (Sundays at 1:05 p.m.)
WOBS-AM (1570) - Religious
ON THE FM SIDE
WFPL-FM (89.3) - Jazz and information and "Prairie Home Companion."
Once the station gets its house in order - a back-up transmitting system and
renovated studios - there may be more live local jazz concerts. Gerry Weston
hosts "Jazz Tonight" weeknights from 8 p.m. to 1.am.
WUOL-FM (90.5) - The university station is the same as it ever was.
Classical music, Broadway tunes, public-radio programs and big-band music,
with the emphasis on classical. The station resumed publication of its monthly
guide this month. The U of L student newspaper has been calling the station a
duplication of WFPK and seeking to change to a studio-run station.
WFPK-FM (91.9) - Classical Music
WQMF-FM (95.7) - The sole remaining album-oriented-rock station in the
area. Also, the home of the Bad Boys of Breakfast, Ron and Terry, and their
new newsperson, Janet Planet.
WAMZ-FM (97.5) - The country-music leader. If you love country music,
check out Charlie Douglas and "Music Country Radio," a live music and
interview show from Nashville (nightly from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m.).
WKJJ-FM (99.7) - Majic 100 plays a mixture of oldies and the hits.
WJYL-FM (101.7) - The success story of Louisville radio. With no
fanfare, with no promotion and without even changing its call letters, this
station changed its format from soft rock to contemporary hits (top 40 if you
will). And it became a hit with local listeners. But it may not last. The
station is to be sold soon and the new owners have announced that they will
change the format to urban-contemporary music.
WLRS-FM (102.3) - Louisville's longtime album-rock station has changed
to a contemporary hit format. Once the No. 1 station in town, its ratings have
recently been sliding.
WRKA-FM (103.1) - Being "Your Barry Manilow Station" couldn't last
forever. This station has fine tuned its format and now plays more oldies,
more soul and less Barry Manilow. And I like it a lot better.
WXLN-FM (103.9) - The home of contemporary Christian music, this
station has been easing in a few songs that are upbeat and positive, but
aren't strictly Christian or religious in nature. An example is Lionel
WVEZ-FM (106.9) - Still "Beautiful Music" after all these years and all
these ratings books. The station's frequency has been sold to the owners of
WRKA, who plan to move the WRKA format to 106.9 this summer. The prospective
new owners of WVEZ (which will move to 103.1) have announced that they will
change it to an urban-contemporary station.
On television, WAVE-3's summer music series
"Front Row Center" returns June 22 for a seven week run.
This year, the show has a new host - but the host is not new to Louisville.
Gary Burbank, former WHAS disc jockey, will bring along his usual gang of
imaginary characters, including "a priest who wins a wet T-Shirt contest."
A guide to AM and FM in Louisville:
Who Plays What When - And Even Why
This article appeared
in the Courier-Journal SCENE on July 9, 1988.
By Ronni Lundy
Pop Music Critic
And James Hold, Jr.
More than any other season summer calls for
the sort of sound track that radio provides - the music blasting at the pool
or on the beach, the boom box set down by the basketball court, the dashboard
speakers of a cherry-red convertible vibrating the sound of the latest hit
into the unconditioned air.
As temperatures soar and tans darken, listeners across the country are tuning
in on a variety of wavelengths. In California New Agers groove to "The Wave" -
broadcasts of Windham Hill music and its mellow instrumental spawn.
In New York rap records hit the airwaves with lightning speed (some of the top
rap DJs are now top rap producers), and new mixing techniques and hot new
songs show up on tiny stations tucked here and there in the various boroughs.
In Mississppi they're tuned into a blues channel. In central Louisiana one
station spends its broadcast time speaking Cajun French and playing zydeco. In
the Southwest, Miami and New York, the air is spiced with Latino rhythms.
Listeners within range of the hundreds of college radio stations now thriving
across the country can catch the alternative frequencies of the Replacements,
Soul Asylum, Big Dipper and Firehose.
There are gospel stations and bluegrass stations. In Detroit fans of the
legendary Electrifyin' Mojo can call (313) 976-MOJO and hear a five-minute
broadcast of what the former WJLB DJ (currently not employed) thinks is hot
(the Bus Boys, Teena Marie, Brenda Russell, Herbie Hancock, Run-D.M.C.).
Meanwhile, the voice of the Turtles is heard throughout the land on a variety
of oldie formats sweeping the nation.
And in Louisville?
Well, OK, so Derby City isn't the melting pot of contemporary radio.
We talked to more than 20 program directors at stations around the city, and
not one would venture to call the local radio scene "adventurous." Perhaps the
best description came from a PD who said Louisville was "diverse but
But diverse it is - and curiously so, if you know where to look.
For instance, you can catch the top of "The Wave" in a couple of hours of New
Age programming on one station Sunday nights.
Louisville has no alternative rock station (WLCV on the University of
Louisville campus, which broadcasts alternative music, can be picked up only
in campus dorms), but the city does have a couple of alternative rock shows,
and some stations are programming some more adventurous hits.
There's a gospel radio station that spends its days half-black, half-white;
another station appeals to upscale women by day but goes after oldie-loving
dudes after sundown.
There's a high school station that fills more than six hour of requests each
night during the school year; there are two stations where you can hear the
evening television news; and there are even a couple of stations playing
selected music by local musicians.
There are broadcasts of some live music shows - and live calls of the races at
Listeners could spend the whole summer just flipping the dials and trying to
find out what's playing where and when.
Or they could use this, our handy guide.
What follows is a look at the major stations broadcasting in the Louisville
area and their program directors' descriptions of what they're sending your
Scanning the FM dial
Data: 88.1 FM, 1080 Vincennes Street, New Albany, (812) 947-4278
(requests), (812) 949-4272 (business).
Owners: New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated Schools.
Program Director: Will be selected first week of the school year. Lee
Kelly is the faculty adviser.
Hours: Summer hours 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; during school year
it's 7:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday, later for ball games and special
broadcasts. (From November to mid-March Kelly does an early shift from 6 to
7:30 a.m. to cover bus delays, school closings, etc.)
Signal: 3,000 watts.
Target Audience: No target group, but listeners tend to be adults
during the school day, junior high and high school students after 2:30 p.m.
News: 15-minutes newscasts taken from Associated Press wires and
students' own reports hourly from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Headline news hourly
2:30-9:00 p.m. (News is broadcast during the school year only.)
Other: New Albany High School sports, short features on members of the
faculty and school events, and three academic "game shows" - "Math-a-thon" for
fourth-graders, "Spelldown" for fifth and "Challenge," a general-knowledge
game, for sixth.
Playlist: About 200 songs; popular artists include Michael Jackson,
Bruce Springsteen, and INXS.
Format: WNAS claims to be the world's first student-run high school
radio station. Student DJs choose their own music during the day. It roughly
corresponds to the Billboard Hot 200, says faculty adviser Kelly, although
sometimes the students are a bit ahead of the charts. "We've had only one or
two students who had even a rough idea of what alternative music was," Kelly
said, and perhaps one or two country fans a year (out of the 60 students
working on the radio station).
After school the songs played are dictated almost entirely by requests. "When
you consider the number of stations playing music in the Louisville market,
I'm amazed at the number of calls we get," said Kelly.
Data: 88.5 FM, 3701 Fern Valley Road, (502) 968-1220.
Owner: Evangel Schools (the station is non-commercial).
Program Director: Steve Butler.
Hours: 6 a.m.-midnight.
Signal: 25,000 watts.
Target Audience: Adults 25-49.
News: USA network news hourly, sports reports six times a day.
Others: Saturday, 7-9 p.m., "The Gospel Greats" with Paul Heil, a show
devoted to Southern gospel; and 9 p.m.-midnight, "Saturday Night Alive," a
show for teenagers that combines talk, music and interviews.
Playlist: 30 current singles in rotation with 600-700 older songs. The
station favors oldies (although many of them are only six or seven years old);
out of 15 or 16 songs in an hour, only three will be current. Popular artists
include Sandi Patti, Larnelle Harris, Steve Green, and Dallas Holm.
Format: 13 of the station's 18 daily hours are music. Butler describes
the station as "sort of a Christian version of WVEZ." The music is
"inspirational," which means it's "lighter" than contemporary Christian or
gospel; there's also some contemporary "praise and worship" music, similar to
the contemporary music you might hear in a worship service, and some of what
Butler calls "contemporized" versions of traditional hymns.
The station also works to develop air personalities. Butler, who's in the
afternoon drive-time slots, uses a group of fictitious characters, "just like
(WHAS' Terry ) Meiners does," including Wally Washensteimer, an old guy who
radios in from that station's non-existent traffic copter; Melon Melonhead,
who mans the station's "Traffic Trike"; and professional complainer Ben
"I've near seen a Christian station that's tried what we do," Butler said.
"Christians…have so few people who entertain them in a way that's clean and
healthy. …We're having a lot of fun, but we're also trying to keep the
ministry aspect of the station on the level."
The station is going after the "older demographic" as opposed to WXLN's
younger target audience. Butler sees nothing wrong with healthy competition
between Christian radio stations. In his view, stations, like churches, meet
different needs for different people.
WJIE signed on January 1. The station is "shielded north," which means that
the northbound signal is deflected to keep it from interfering with WNAS; that
makes the signal somewhat weaker in much of Louisville than it is farther
Data: 89.3 FM, Fourth and York streets, (502) 561-8640.
Owner: Louisville Free Public Library.
General Manager: Gerry Weston.
Signal: 100,000 watts.
Target Audience: 30 and older.
News: National Public Radio news programs "Morning Edition," 6-11 a.m.
weekdays; "All Things Considered." 5:00-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5:00-6:00
p.m. Saturday; and "Weekend Edition" 8:00-10:00 a.m. Sunday. Local news at
five minutes after the hour (and at six minutes after during "All Things
Other: "Good Evening with Noah Adams" at 6:00 p.m. Saturday; "A Prairie
Home Companion" reruns at 4:00 p.m. Sunday.
Playlist: Jazz weekdays, with 65 percent new releases; catalog of
Format: WFPL bills itself as the "Jazz and Information" station.
"But on the weekends we go beyond that format to include music commercial
radio here will not touch, but we are happy to. We believe in it strongly,"
"We're here to provide an alternative to commercial music. I've never thought
alternative means just jazz or folk. In Louisville it also means quite a lot
Saturday night features two locally produced, one-of-a-kind shows: Scott
Mullins' "Saturday Night Blues Part" at 10:00 p.m., and Cary Willis'
alternative rock show, "The Flip Side," at midnight.
Mullins' blues show has shown excellent ratings since it began two years ago.
Weston said "The Flip Side" hasn't had time to prove itself in the few months
it has been on the air, but Weston is confident it will do well, "because it
fills an important gap in local programming. Alternative rock fares well in
lots of other cities, and the initial verbal response I've gotten lets me know
that Cary's doing something people like here."
WFPL offers the area's only New Age programming, a 10 p.m. Sunday show called
"Totally Wired," and an 11 p.m. program, "Hearts of Space."
On Sunday WFPL features folk music, including taped broadcasts of the Lonesome
Pine Special series from the Kentucky Center for the Arts. That series has
been distributed by the station to public radio stations nationally, as have
programs taped at the annual bluegrass festival on the Belvedere, performances
from the Corn Island Storytelling Festival, and some Louisville Jazz
For several years the station also has taped segments of Louisville Homefront
performances and broadcast them later locally. Weston said the station will
distribute those nationally this year.
"Sometimes I have the feeling we're known better by people around the country
than we are here," he said.
Data: 90.5 FM, Stickler Hall, University of Louisville Belknap Campus,
Owner: U of L.
Program Director: Bill Underwood.
Signal: 3,500 watts.
Target Audience: No targeted audience, but station managers say that,
by the nature of the format, a large portion of the audience is older, better
educated, and has a higher-than-average income.
News: Broadcasts the "MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour" 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Monday-Friday; no local news.
Other: "Adventures in Good Music" with Karl Haas, 11 a.m. Monday-Friday
and 9:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday; complete Broadway musicals most nights; and
music from the U of L School of Music Saturday and Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
Saturday at 11 a.m. there is "The Band Hour," an hour of marching-band music.
"Time Out for Jazz," a program of traditional jazz, is 10:00-11:00 p.m. the
last Friday of each month.
Playlist: The station's library has about 10,000 LPs, 5,000 reels of
tape and 2,500 compact discs. Favorite artists include Leonard Bernstein and
George Solti; major orchestras such as those in Berlin, Vienna, Boston,
Chicago and New York; instrumentalists such as Vladimir Horowitz, Jascha
Heifertz, and Itzhak Perlman; and traditional classical composers.
Format: A mainstream classical repertoire from Bach through Stravinsky,
the works one is likely to hear in a concert hall. The station plays no
electronic music and little from the avant-garde (Phillip Glass' more
conservative pieces, such as his score for the move "Koyaanisqatsi," are
sometimes played). It plays only overtures and excerpts from operas, never
complete ones. Because the station has a small staff, the announcers are
Data: 91.9 FM, Fourth and York streets, (502) 561-8640.
Owner: Louisville Free Public Library.
General Manager: Gerry Weston; music director, Phil Bailey.
Hours: 5:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m.
Signal: 100,000 watts.
Target Audience: Adults 35-plus.
News: National Public Radio headline news and local news hourly
6:00-10:00 a.m. and 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Other: Operas Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (during July they're running the
Kentucky Opera's season); orchestra from various cities Monday-Friday at 9:00
p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 p.m. (The Louisville Orchestra is
broadcast during summer Sundays at 8:00 p.m.)
Playlist: The library contains about 8,000 LPs and 1,500 compact discs.
Format: "We're probably the easiest format on the dial to describe,"
said Bailey. It's mainstream classical or, in his intriguing phrase,
"hard-core classical." There's some early Baroque and Renaissance music, and
negligible amounts of avant-garde music.
Between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. the station mixes in some New Age music, primarily
acoustic guitar and piano. "We're trying to broaden our audience a little
bit," said Bailey. He sees the New Age strain, like '60s bossa nova, as likely
to be absorbed into other types of music: "I think what we have is revolt
against rock 'n' roll."
Data: 95.7 FM, 123 West Court Street, Jeffersonville, (812) 589-4400 (office),
(812) 282-9696 (studio line).
Owner: Otting Broadcasting, Jeffersonville.
Operations Manager: Terry Medert.
Signal: 34,000 watts.
Target Audience: Adults 25 and older.
News: NBC Source and the station's own news department give reports
every half-hour from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m.; there are reports at 3:50, 4:30 and
5:50 p.m. and hourly from 1:00 to 5:00 a.m.
Other: "Rock Line," Monday 11:30 p.m.-1:00 a.m., is a phone call-in
show with rock stars; "The 12 O'Clock News," at midnight Wednesday, plays
alternative artists outside the station's normal playlists; "In the Studio,"
Thursday at midnight, presents interviews about how particular albums were
recorded; "Weasel's Late Show," Friday at midnight, generally presents live
performances from the King Biscuit Flower Hour.
Sunday night is devoted to programs: "The Lost Lennon Tapes," at 7:00 p.m.;
"Live Wire," a talk show with host Medert, at 8:00 p.m.; Legends of Rock," at
9:00 p.m.; "Flashback," from 10:00 p.m. to midnight, plus music and other
audio footage from the late '60s and early '80s; and the "Amateur Hour," at
midnight, lets listeners take their shot at radio stardom.
Playlist: 45 or 50 current songs; library has more than 1,000 older
songs. Popular artists include Robert Plant, Van Halen, Steve Winwood, the
Beatles and Bruce Hornsby. Hot new groups include Midnight Oil and Kingdom
Format: ROCK 'N' ROLLLLL! (Or, at least, Album-Oriented Rock.) They
played "Best It" because of Eddie Van Halen and won't touch Michael Jackson's
other songs with a 10-foot pole - there's a straight line for zany morning
nutball Ron Clay in there somewhere - because Jackson doesn't fit the
"To a listener of an AOR station, Michael Jackson is not very hip, he's not
Robert Plant," said Medert. Is that because he's perceived as effeminate,
because he had plastic surgery or because he's black? "Probably a little bit
of all of those, not so much the last. He's too pop, two overexposed, too much
The mix of music is 60 percent classic cuts, 40 percent current; and many of
the currents are by classic album-rock artists such as Jethro Tull, Yes and
former Led Zeppelin frontman Plant. "AOR listeners are very product-loyal,"
Medert said, comparing them to country listeners in the way they'll stick with
an artist and style of music through the years.
But Medert says the station plays more new music than other stations, and "70
percent of that is stuff no one else will touch." It's one of the few stations
in town playing black singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," and it
also plays mildly alternative groups such as the Church and the Rhythm Corps.
The station prides itself on its sense of humor - embodied in Clay's morning
show, with its telephone pranks and "Joke of the Day" - and its in-house
production department, which comes up with the spots for fictional Weaselbrau
Data: 97.5 FM, 520 West Chestnut Street, (502) 582-7840 (station),
Owner: Clear Channel of San Antonio, Texas, which owns WHAS and more
than a half-dozen other stations around the country.
Program Director: Coyote Calhoun.
Signal: 100,000 watts
Target Audience: 25- to 54-year olds, with a strong showing among 18-
to 34-year-olds, especially women.
News: Local and national on the half-hour from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. and at
4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Other: Sunday morning Ralph Dix interviews local community leaders.
Playlist: 30-35 current songs mixed with 700-800 golden oldies.
Format: Calhoun calls country-music stalwart WAMZ a "highly researched
music station. My job is to find the best available music there is."
To find that music, the station uses trade magazines, and Calhoun calls other
stations around the country for judgments on new songs.
He also trusts his own instincts: "If you're in a competitive situation, you
want to play the cream of the crop, and that doesn't just mean songs with a
track record. Say there happened to be a real new artist with no background
but a really, really dynamite song. I'd be more included to go for that new
artist than a proven artist with a mediocre song. You have to trust your
Twice yearly WAMZ uses auditorium testing to determine which songs in the
"golden" category are sure-pleasers and which are suffering burnout.
Calhoun then feeds the titles of old and new songs, characterized by type and
type of artist, into a computer, which is programmed to "shuffle the deck," or
give each jock a daily list of songs he can play on his shift with a balance
of old and new, fast and smooth, women and men, etc.
"Anytime it's left to the jock to pick what he is going to play, there are
songs he's not going to play whether they're hits or not, whether the audience
wants to hear them or not," Calhoun said.
Combining local research with the computer system provides "flexibility within
a structure," he said.
WAMZ plays music by some local artists, "but it's going to have to be really
good product, something that can hold its own in our format in terms of
production as well as artistry. When Mike Lunsford cuts a record, it's going
to be quality, and there's going to be a lot of excitement. It's an asset to
my station to play it. It could be a detriment if I don't."
Data: 99.7 FM, 307 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard. (502) 589-4800
(office), (502) 571-4487 (studio line).
Owner: The owner has been Great Trails Broadcasting of Dayton, Ohio; it
is being sold to Stoner Broadcasting of Annapolis, Maryland.
Program Director: Chris Shebel
Signal: 50,000 watts
Target Audience: Women 18-34 are the primary target; women 25-54 are
the secondary target.
News: News at 20 and 50 minutes after the hour from 5:50 to 9:00 a.m.;
no other news except for breaking stories.
Other: "Saturday Night Hot Mix," with dance versions of the hits, runs
10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Saturday. "Kentuckiana This Week," a talk show, is
6:00-6:30 a.m. Sunday.
Playlist: No set number of songs. Current hits vary between 30 and 40;
library holds between 400 and 600 songs. The few oldies come primarily between
the last three or four years. Popular artists include George Michael, Pebbles,
INXS, Steve Winwood, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson (although "Dirty
Diana" was not a big song here).
Format: CHR, Contemporary Hits Radio. Where WLRS is a CHR that
emphasizes rock, WDJX skews toward dance music. "If it's a choice between a
hard-rock song and a dance song, we'll play the dance song," said Shebel.
The station avoids rap - the last rap song it played was LL Cool J's ballad "I
Need Love." And it might play "Parents Just Don't Understand" if the song gets
bigger (it's currently 28 with a bullet in Billboard).
The station sticks closely to its targeted demographic. For example, rocker
Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" is a national Top 10 hit, but you won't
hear it on DJX. "We may be wrong in not playing that, but I see no evidence
that women 18 to 24 want to hear it," Shebel said. Conversely, the large
number of teenagers who listen to the station don't pull the weight the key
group does. "If I get a bunch of teenage males who don't like a song, I don't
care about it, because they're not my target audience, and they're still into
that head-banging stuff."
"We've found most people don't care about cutting-edge music," Shebel said. He
decided the station should play Ziggy Marley's "Tomorrow People," for
instance, but it hasn't done very well.
Data: 101.7 FM, 10213 Linn Station Road, (502) 425-3444 (business),
(502) 571-1017 (hit line).
Owner: Louisville Radio Partnership, a group of local and out-of-town
Program Director: Tony Fields.
Signal: 3,000 watts.
Target Audience: Adults 18-34.
News: Hourly 6:00-10:00 a.m.
Other: "Quiet Storm," slow and mellow songs, 10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.
Monday-Thursday; a dance party Saturday 10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.; jazz Sunday
10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Playlist: 40 current songs; popular artists include Keith Sweat, Sade,
New Edition, Bobby Brown, George Michael, and Al. B. Sure!
Format: Urban contemporary - "right in the mainstream of urban,"
according to Fields; the mix of music is 70 percent black, 30 percent white.
It's what Fields calls a "current based" station; it plays no more than 30
percent oldies, most of which go back no more than five years or so. The
station uses quite a bit of research, not only on which songs to add but
following them throughout their life to make sure, for example, that the
station doesn't drop a song too quickly. One song, the Deele's "Two
Occasions," has been on their playlist for almost six months, an extraordinary
length of time.
The station, which avoided rap a year or so ago, now plays cuts like
Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It" and Doug E. Fresh's "Keep Risin' to the Top." "When
rap first came out, it had a stigma like rock 'n' roll did - it was the guilty
music," said Fields. "We were scared of our own music for a while. No urban
station wanted to be linked with rap, because it was, quote, 'bad music.'
"But all of sudden rap has crossed over to CHR; rap has crossed over to MTV.
Rap is part of the norm right now…. Now you got a lot of those kids that grew
up with the Sugarhill Gang and the rest of them that form your target demo."
Data: 102.3 FM, 800 South Fourth Street, (502) 585-5178 (office), (502)
571-7625 (rock line).
Owner: Henson Broadcasting, a local company that also owns WLRS-AM.
Both stations are in the process of being sold to Radio One, a new company
owned by Tomey Brooks, a former Sandusky Broadcasting executive who may move
Program Director: Lisa Lyons.
Signal: 3,000 watts
Target Audience: Adults 18-34.
News: ABC Rock Radio network news hourly 6:00-9:00 a.m.; local news at
20 after the hour 6:00-10:00 a.m. and at noon.
Other: "Live from Phoenix Hill" Wednesdays at midnight. Tom Wills and
Bob Domine give weather and sports reports during morning drive time.
Playlist: 40 currents. Popular artist include Robert Plant, Whitney
Houston, INXS, Steve Winwood, Huey Lewis and the News.
Format: Top 40 or CHR, leaning toward the rock side of the equation.
That's the station's history - when it went on the air in 1974, WLRS was the
only FM rock station in Louisville; observers used to compare its influence
among local teenagers with the Catholic church in the Middle Ages.
Facing stiff competition from upstart WQMF, it switched to CHR in 1984,
becoming the first such station in the market. "The market was thirsty for
it," Lyons said. "Michael Jackson was really hot (with "Thriller"), yet none
of the rock stations were playing the album.
At one point in 1986, for about five months after an especially low Arbitron,
the station tried to be more progressive in its music selection, adding new
music more quickly. No large changes were made, Lyons said, and many listeners
might not have even noticed. But WLRS started moving such groups as R.E.M. and
David and David into heavy rotation.
The succeeding rating was the station's lowest in years. "It showed us that
people didn't want to hear unfamiliar music; if they were listening to us,
they wanted to hear popular songs they were familiar with."
The station has some difficulty because people associate it with its rock
past. "You want to get a nice balance…so that you don't sound like either an
urban station or a solid rock station or an adult contemporary station," Lyons
said (there's very little crossover from country onto the charts). Among raps,
the station plays the comical "Parents" but not Salt-n-Pepa's licentious,
danceable "Push It" because the song "didn't test well." They also get heavy
requests for the Christian rock group Stryper and such heavy-metal groups as
Poison and Gun N' Roses.
Data: 103.1 FM, 1001 Linn Station Road, (502) 423-9752 (office), (502)
Owner: Capitol Broadcasting, a Mobile, Alabama company that owns 10
stations and the Alabama Radio Network.
Program Director: John Robertson.
Signal: 3,000 watts.
Target Audience: 25- to 49-year-olds, with daytime programming skewed
toward females and night to males.
News: On the hour and half-hour from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. with newsbreaks.
Other: Sports at 10 before the hour from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m.
Playlist: Station has split format. From midnight to 7:00 p.m. it's
adult contemporary with 25-30 new songs mixed with oldies. Popular artists are
Whitney Houston, Chicago. Lionel Richie, and Huey Lewis.
From 7:00 p.m. till midnight it's "Classic Hits" oldies from the '60s and
'70s. Catalog described as extensive. Popular artists include Rolling Stones,
Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Paul Revere and the Raiders.
Format: "It's hard to be a station with a split personality," Robertson
said. But positive listener response to WRKA's decision in May to begin
programming classic rock oldies at night indicates that it may be wise.
"So far, the response has been great. Plus the chain owns a station in
Birmingham that did the same thing, and they've just had a whole bunch of
By day Robertson is program director for the adult-contemporary half of the
station. He selects the 25-to-30 current songs for the station's playlist by
checking industry trade publications and what's doing well at local stations
and around the country. He also listens to the advice of Bill Thomas, national
program director for the Capitol chain. "He's…extremely good at channeling
ideas. Each of the stations in the chain is locally controlled, but we all
listen to what Bill recommends because he's such a good support person."
Robertson said some songs get on the air "out of the box," based on the
performer's track record, "like any Whitney Houston song." But he said he's
not looking to break in new artists.
"I came here from a CHR (Contemporary Hits Radio) station, and it's a very
different perspective. In CHR you're looking for what's happening now, what's
hot, what's faddish. With Adult Contemporary, we look at records to play that
you might want to hear nine months from now."
At night he's looking for records you wanted to hear nine or more years ago.
The "Classic Hits" format leans heavily on rock and pop music from the '70s
and, to a slightly lesser extent, the '60s. Most of the programming is done
locally with a smattering of syndicated shows, including Saturday and Sunday
"Super Gold" programs.
Data: 103.9 FM, 410 South Third Street, (502) 571-0436,
Owner: Radio 900, Incorporated, the local arm of a Washington, D.C.
partnership, owns XLN and its sister station, all-talk WFIA.
Program Director: Tony Tabor.
Signal: 3,000 watts.
Target Audience: Adults 25-54.
News: ABC Contemporary Network news hourly 6:00-10:00 a.m., every other
hour after that.
Playlist: 30 current songs, plus 10 to 18 light songs being introduced
into the rotation. Popular artists include Sandi Patti, Larnelle Harris, the
Winans, Amy Grant, Terry Gibbs, and Kelly Nelon Thompson.
Format: Contemporary Christian station - adult contemporary in sound,
Christian in lyrical concerns. Closer to mainstream pop than WJIE; black and
Southern (country) gospel songs appear only when they cross over. Some lighter
Christian rock and inspirational music also makes it. Talk programs - a mix of
preaching and topical shows - are broadcast 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 7:00-10:00
WXLN strives to be non-denominational. "The hardest thing about programming a
station like ours," says Tabor, "is that we deal with so many different
Christians from so many backgrounds - some of them will get on us for running
a tampon commercial.
"We're not going to play a song that glorifies Mary. We're not going to play a
song that tells you to speak in tongues, that you have to be baptized to be
saved," he said, but rather songs praising Christ and the creator, ones that
emphasize church unity or loving one another.
A number of artists well-known from popular music show up on XLN: Al Green,
Dion Di Muci, Phillip Bailey, and Mark Farner of Grand Funk.
WKX-FM & AM
Data: 105.7 FM and 1600 AM. P.O. Box 194, Eminence, Kentucky, (502)
222-7200 (station and requests)
Owner: Stewart and Marty Bass.
Program Director: Johnny Randolph.
Signal: AM, 500 watts; FM, 3,000 watts.
Target Audience: AM: over 20, primarily in Shelby, Oldham and Henry
counties. FM: adults 20-40, 60 percent female, in eastern Louisville,
Middletown and Shelbyville.
News: AM: local news every hour. FM: morning news capsules.
Other: AM: obituaries and farm reports. FM: morning news capsules.
Playlist: AM: 40 currents plus 1,400 oldies and "recurrents" - songs
that have recently fallen off the playlist. FM: 20 current pop records, and
some oldies drawn from a catalog of 600-700 titles.
Format: WKX-FM is the area's newest station, having hit the airwaves
July 4. Legendary Louisville disc jockey Johnny Randolph (his first broadcast
was in 1965) is the program director behind the "grown-up rock" playlist the
station will offer. He and his wife, Fran, also choose what is played on WKX's
more bashful AM country station.
The AM station reaches only to the very eastern edge of Jefferson County, but
can be heard in Shelby, Oldham and Henry. The country-music format favors new
traditionalists such as Randy Travis, George Strait and Dwight Yoakam; it
competes with bigger country stations broadcasting out of Louisville by
offering lots of local news and information, including obituaries.
Randolph said the new FM station will offer music "oriented to women in the
20-to-40, financially upscale demographic," and should be picked up in what he
calls Louisville's "metro-east," which extends as far west as St. Matthews.
"Basically we'll be a modern-day rock station that doesn't play Michael
Jackson or rap. We'll take the songs we can utilize from the Top 40 hits in
the trades. Something like 'Mercedes Boy' we wouldn't play because it's too
But music from Huey Lewis, John Cougar Mellencamp and the "Dirty Dancing"
soundtrack are likely to show up on WKX.
Randolph said neither station would use a consultant to determine what to
play, but owner Stewart Bass confessed: "There is a gypsy in Okolona we call
from time to time to see what to do."
WVEZ-FM & AM
Data: 106.9 FM and 790 AM, 558 Fourth Avenue, (502) 589-0107 (office),
(502) 571-3270 (requests).
Owner: Federal Communications Partnership, a Rhode Island company that
also owns two radio stations there.
Program Director: Chris Cox.
Signal: FM, 24,500 watts; AM, 5,000 watts during the day and 1,000
watts during the night.
Target Audience: Adults 25-54; 60 percent female.
News: Local news at 20 after and 10 till the hour from 6:00 to 10:00
a.m. AM simulcasts WLKY television news at 6:00 p.m. nightly.
Other: AM and FM simulcast identical broadcasts except for the 6:00
p.m. WLKY news, Cincinnati Reds baseball, and Indiana University and Western
Kentucky football, which are on the AM band.
Playlist: 75 percent oldies from the '60s through '80s drawn from a
1,200 song library. Popular artists: Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Lionel Richie,
Kenny Rogers, and Barry Manilow.
Format: "Really what it's about with the station is instant
gratification," said Cox. "Somebody's got to turn on the station and hear what
they want to hear, something they're familiar with." Cox defines the oldies
his stations play as "soft songs, not meant to jangle."
Cox tests songs three times a year with an audience in an auditorium and also
checks trade publications and what's already popular at other local stations
to make up the playlist. He makes the final decision.
"I don't mind taking a chance on a song I know is going to be a smash, but
we're not in the market to break new songs. If it's a Michael Jackson ballad,
we know it's going to be a hit and will add it right away. But on most
currents we wait to see how they do elsewhere," he said.
Cox said his stations are most often listened to in offices. The station
emphasizes the quality of music over personalities or special programs.
Programming is done live by on-site jocks 6:00-10:00 a.m. and 1:00-9:00 p.m.
weekdays and on weekends. Satellite broadcasts are used 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
and 9:00 p.m.-6:00 a.m. weekends.
Scanning the AM dial
Data: 620 AM, 162 West Broadway, (502) 583-6200 (station), (502)
Owner: Locally owned by Lee Stinson and son, Lee Stinson, Jr.
Program Director: E.J. Clark.
Signal: 500 watts.
Target Audience: Adults 25-65, predominantly male.
News: Hourly during morning and afternoon drive time, with a local
Other: Live stretch calls from Churchill Downs and Ellis Park during
their meets, and instant race results and the live broadcast of the first and
last race each day at the Downs, plus exclusive race broadcasts from
Keeneland. The station carries live all major stock-car races from NASCAR from
February through November (about 35 annually).
Playlist: 55 currents plus oldies drawn from a 2,000 title catalog. Mix
is 60 percent currents to 40 percent oldies. Popular artists include Alabama,
k.d. lang, Dwight Yoakam, Buck Owens, Sonny James, and Marty Robbins.
Format: Lee Stinson Jr. said, "My daddy likes to talk about the day
this little old gal and her manager came in the station with a new record, and
we decided to take a chance on it, even though no one had heard of her or it.
And that's how Louisville met Loretta Lynn."
That's part of the history of WTMT, which is the city's oldest country station
and, according to the junior Stinson, "one of the oldest continually running
country-music stations in the U. S. of A."
Artists don't break into the playlist anymore by dropping by the station with
a new product, however. Program director Clark makes the playlist based on the
trade publications, calls to local records stores, listener phone calls and
requests, and recommendations from station disc jockeys.
"The ultimate criterion of a record, though, is we've got to think it's pretty
good before we play it," Clark said.
Clark said WTMT plays more oldies than most country stations, including Lynn's
more obscure records and artist such as Dotsy, Mel Street and Dickie Lee. The
station also likes new artists such as Lyle Lovett and land. Clark said some
pop songs make it, including Bruce Hornsby's latest.
"I felt the lyrics were strong enough to relate to our audience. We play some
of the Eagles' big hits too, although obviously not 'Hotel California' or 'One
of These Nights.'"
WTMT also plays music by local artists with some commercial name recognition
from previous releases or club work.
"It may be a good song that a local artist brings in, but that doesn't
necessarily warrant our playing it on the air. We aren't star-makers anymore,"
But both Clark and Stinson said that if a sponsor can be found, they'd like to
begin a weekly hour featuring local country talent.
"You never know where the next Elvis or Willie Nelson or Alabama is coming
from," Stinson said. "Back in '55 or '56 somebody went out on a limb and
played that guy from Tupelo, Mississippi. If they hadn't, where would we be
Data: 790 AM (see listing for WVEZ 106.9 FM).
Data: 840 AM, 520 West Chestnut Street, (502) 582-7616 (station), (502)
Owner: Clear Channel of San Antonio, Texas, which also owns WAMZ in
Louisville and more than a half-dozen other stations around the country.
Program Director: Gary Bruce.
Signal: 50,000 watts clear-channel (which means no one else in the
country is on the frequency at night). Station is area's strongest, reaching
up to 32 states at night.
Target Audience: Adults 25-49.
News: Nine full-time news staffers provide a minimum five-minute
newscast every hour each day.
Other: Van Vance sports talk show 7:00-9:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and
Milton Metz call-in show 9:00 p.m.-midnight Monday-Friday. Sunday sports
roundtable 6:00-9:00 p.m., followed by a new phone-in consultation show with
psychologist Dr. Stanley Frager.
Playlist: 20 currents plus oldies. Popular artists: Huey Lewis, Toto,
and Whitney Houston.
Format: Bruce describes WHAS as "full-service, providing news,
information and entertainment, plus music." The music constitutes about 25
percent of the station's programming. Music can be heard primarily during the
9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. time slots; on Joe Donovan's locally produced classic
oldies show midnight-5:00 a.m. weekdays; and on the station's "Classic Hits
"We try to lean toward a younger audience than many stations like us," Bruce
said. "We see our typical listener as being about 32. We lean away from
middle-of-the-road songs, and you won't hear any Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra
here. Our feeling is that people who are older will tolerate the music of
younger people better than the other way around."
But Bruce said his station doesn't break in new songs. "Our responsibility is
to reflect the audience's taste. We usually wait to see how a record performs
in the market on other stations before we play it here."
Music isn't the drawing card for the station. "News is our most important
element. That's what we hang our hat on. We have the largest news staff in
"Personalities are our attraction," Bruce said. The station's personalities
include Wayne Perkey from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. and Terry Meiners from 3:00 to
Data: 900 AM, 410 South Third Street, (502) 583-4811.
Owner: Radio 900 Incorporated (see entry for WXLN-FM).
Program Director: Tony Tabor.
Signal: 1,000 watts day, 250 night.
Target Audience: 35-54.
News: USA Network news at 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Other: "Point of View" 2:00-3:30 p.m., a live phone-in talk show from
Format: An all-talk religious station, WFIA focuses on teaching and
preaching, with some topical programming.
Data: 970 AM, 725 South Floyd, (502) 589-0970 (office), (502) 571-9797
Owner: Henson Broadcasting, a local company that also owns WLRS, Both
stations are in the process of being sold to Radio One, a new company owned by
Toney Brooks, a former Sandusky Broadcasting executive who may move to
Program Director: Allen Brown
Target Audience: Adults 35-plus
Signal: 5,000 watts.
News: Four-person news staff plus meteorologists John Belski and Tom
Wills. Station is affiliated with the Kentucky News Network. Local news
broadcast on the hour and half-hour. NBC national news is broadcast at various
times during the day.
Other: UK basketball and football and Louisville Redbirds baseball
games, the Kentucky News Network's sports call-in show, a nationally
syndicated financial advice and a national call-in talk show.
Playlist: Won't give playlist figures, but catalog includes 1,000-1,500
songs. Station plays soft oldies and standards and some current hits. Featured
artists: Beatles, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac,
Doobies, Police, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, and Andy
Format: "I always think of the radio market as a magazine stand. Our
station is probably more of a Time or a Newsweek than a Spin," said Brown.
Brown said WAVG is 60 percent news and talk and 40 percent music. "Really, the
music on our station is what goes on between more important things. It's the
bridge." Music is a part of the programming from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily,
then sports and talk shows prevail.
Brown characterized the WAVG audience as "maybe a little more 'Murder She
Wrote' than 'Miami Vice.'"
He said the fact that a large segment of the audience is over 55 means the
music tends to be less rock.
To add current hits, Brown and music director George Lindsey choose from Radio
and Records' Top 20 chart songs that are not "too raucous, too hard."
"We consider how it will play next to Stephen Bishop or Sinatra. You've got to
avoid becoming the Whitesnake/Frank Sinatra station," Brown said.
Johnny Hates Jazz, Brenda Russell and Billy Ocean are artists whose current
work shows up on the station. Brown said WAVG was among the first in
Louisville to play the soft jazz of Kenny G.
Brown and Lindsey make the final decision about what goes on the air, using
call-out surveys, requests and listeners' letters to help. "We don't use our
personal taste in music. If I did, the sound would unusual and primarily
unmarketable," said Brown.
Data: 1080 AM, 307 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard, (502) 589-4800
(office), (800) 262-2525 (requests).
Owner: Great Trails of Dayton, Ohio; but WCII is being sold to Stoner
Broadcasting of Annapolis, Maryland, a company that owns 14 stations.
Program Director: Gary Major.
Signal: 10,000 watts.
Target Audience: 25 and up, with an emphasis on adults 35-45, 60
News: Satellite broadcast of national news on the hour 6:00-10:00 a.m.;
local news at 10 and 40 after the hour.
Other: Larry King show 11:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m., Cincinnati Bengals games
Playlist: Catalog of 5,000 oldies, 18-20 songs played each hour, with
no song repeating with 18 hours unless requested.
Format: WCII plays only songs from the '50s, '60s and '70s, which Major
describes as good time rock 'n' roll."
He said, "We don't play 'soft' oldies, like the Carpenters or David Gates and
Bread - the type of stuff that as teenagers, if you weren't in love with
anyone at that moment, it just didn't mean anything to you."
The station does play songs that were hits in their eras and songs by
significant artists, including Buddy Holly, Elvis, the Beatles and other
British Invasion acts, plus Motown hits and a smattering of New Orleans
rhythm-and-blues and early soul.
Most of the station's programming comes from the Satellite Music Network,
based in Dallas. Major says SMN chooses what to play based on marketing
surveys but also includes music recommended by affiliates. The station has
strong affiliates in Memphis and New Orleans, as well as here, and that may
explain the unusual emphasis on quality early-Southern R&B.
"If I call up and say I've got a list of 20 records that were all big hits
here and in the South, they'll do whatever they can to work them into the
format," Major said.
Major occasionally preempts the satellite selection to play oldies from local
bands such the Monarchs or the Rugbys, or regional hits such as Joe Stampley
and the Uniques' version of "All These Things." The station plays eight
requests hourly, and the toll-free line operates 24 hours.
Major said his station is a little more popular with men than women, and he
thinks that's because "men generally want to live in the past. High school was
great for guys. They didn't have any responsibility."
Data: 1249 AM, 321 Guthrie, (502) 581-1240 (office), (502) 571-1240
Owner: Full Force Corporation of Atlanta.
General Manager: Elder Higgins
Signal: 1,000 watts.
Hours: 5:00 a.m.-midnight.
Target Audience: Adults 18-55.
News: National Black Network news hourly, except during paid program
Other: The half-hour show "Southern Gospel" runs six times daily.
Playlist: 30 albums. Favorite artists include Shirley Caesar, the
Reverend Milton Brunson, the Angelic Gospel Choir and the St. James Choir,
whose album "Come Unto Jesus" has been one of the station's top records for
Format: A mixture of gospel music: soul, Southern (or country) and
contemporary gospel. They try to run two sections of slow songs and two of
fast songs every hour.
Higgins said that the station makes a particular effort to broadcast new
music. It they add a new album, the announcers take it as their responsibility
to play several cuts every hour; Higgins says any new album is played
completely twice a day when it's being introduced.
He said he recently played a hard-to-find older album of songs and prayers -
one so rare he refused to tell the name - and received more than 40 calls that
hour, so many that "I didn't get to do my log the way I should." One caller
said, "You turned on me, Elders! That's the way we do it back in my home in
Data: 1350 AM, 2549 South Third Street, (502) 636-3535 (office), (502)
Owner: Johnson Communications of Chicago.
Acting Program Director: Angel Canessa.
Signal: 5,000 watts.
Target Audience: Adults 18-34.
News: Sheridan Broadcast Network news runs eight times between 6:50
a.m. and 7:50 p.m. Local news runs hourly 6:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Other: A rap-music show is broadcast 6:00-9:00 p.m. Saturday; "Quiet
Storm" airs 1:00-3:00 a.m. weeknights.
Playlist: About 55 current songs. Popular artists include Freddie
Jackson, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Sade, New Edition, and Bobby Brown.
Format: Urban contemporary, with a strong emphasis on current songs.
Canessa estimates that the station plays 95 percent current songs, with oldies
confined to Brenda Banks' 25-minute "Memory Lane" segments at 10:20 and 11:20
Canessa said the station plays so many current songs, and has a larger
playlist than most of its competitors, because the black audience has a strong
appetite for new music and the songs move up and down the charts more quickly
than other forms of pop music.
The station tries to get new music on the air quickly. Canessa said that when
he heard Al. B. Sure!'s "Night and Day" on an advance cassette, he put it on
the air right away. "I didn't miss a beat; I try not to miss a beat."
Data: 1450 AM, 214 Magnolia Avenue, Jeffersonville, (812) 283-3577
(station and requests at (800) 992-8922 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday
Owner: Sunnyside Broadcasting Incorporated, a group of 10
Program Director: Ron Shelton.
Signal: 1,000 watts.
Target Audience: over 40.
News: Local and national news each half-hour 6:00-9:00 a.m.; on the
hour and half hour 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Other: Broadcasts live games of Jeffersonville, Clarksville and New
Albany high schools and IU football and basketball games.
Playlists: Local morning show draws from catalog of 2,800 songs;
satellite shows have large but unspecified catalog. Popular artists: Barbra
Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence, and Engelbert
Format: It's called the "Stardust Format" and includes
middle-of-the-road hits from the last five decades. Shelton said that means
"no Beatles or the more raucous tunes of Elvis, although we do play some of
Shelton is also the morning air personality, with a gentle wake-up show
6:00-9:00 a.m. Monday-Friday. He plays a mix of mellow memories, including
balladeers such as Joni James and Eddy Arnold or Western Kentucky's
Hilltoppers. Shelton's show is followed at 10:00 a.m. by an hour-long
rebroadcast of one of the "Your Hit Parade" programs from 1938-1958.
The rest of the programming is supplied from the Satellite Music Network
division in Chicago. More contemporary songs are mixed with big-band hits from
the '30s and '40s, which Shelton said are the most popular music with his
"It's amazing how many people clamor for big-band music. They identify with
it. Unlike many stations, we have several people in their 70s and 80s who
listen to us religiously - and attend our dances."
The station sponsors big band dances in the region every three months or so;
the most recent was at Iroquois Amphitheater at the end of June.
Data: 1570 AM, 2013 West Broadway, (502) 776-4213 (office), (502)
Owner: Agape Communications of Louisville.
Program Directors: Ed Sears and Archie Dale.
Hours: 6:00 a.m.-midnight.
Signal: 1,000 watts.
Target Audience: No target group.
News: National Black Network news hours hourly 2:00-7:00 p.m.
Other: A variety of religious programs from local churches and
Playlist: 50 albums, playing one or two cuts off each. Popular black
artists include the Winans, Shirley Caesar, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the
Sensational Williams Brothers, and James Cleveland; popular white artists
include the Hensons, the Cathedral Quartet, and Reba McEntire.
Format: WOBS is an unusual hybrid; it splits its day between white and
black gospel programming - white from 6:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., black from 1:15
p.m. to midnight.
The white segment includes about three hours of music a day; the rest of the
time it broadcasts talk programs.
Black program director Dale - a local gospel artist himself - was on WOBS from
1974 to 1981, in a similarly split format, before moving to now-defunct WDGS.
After that station went under, he returned to WOBS, taking over the portion of
the station's time that wasn't sold to sponsors.
Dales said he programs roughly equal amounts of contemporary and traditional
gospel. He sees the traditional style coming back after a few years in
In selection music, "The main thing we try to look for is the message and then
the beat," Dale said. The station also tries to coordinate its playlist with
what's selling at local record stores that specialize in gospel.
Dale tries to program a good number of local gospel groups, such as God's
Girls, Jimmy Ellis and the Riverview Singers, and Herb Mays.
Data: 1600 AM (See listing at WKX 105.7 FM).
WHAS Loses Second Place In Radio Ratings to WDJX
This article appeared in the Courier-Journal on July 26, 1989.
Tom Dorsey, TV-Radio Critic
WHAS has been toppled from its No. 2 ranking
in the latest batch of Arbitron radio ratings. WDJX is the new runner-up with
all listeners over 12 years old. WAMZ continues to dominate the top spot with
a firm grip in the spring survey, while WHAS fell to third place for the first
time in years.
Since radio rating surveys break down into mountains of data by age and sex
groups, several stations can always claim victory in some category. The
over-age-12 category, however, is used the most for overall ratings.
The Arbitron poll taken in April, May and June shows: 1. WAMZ; 2. WDJX-FM; 3.
WHAS; 4. WQMF; 5. WLOU; 6. WRKA; 7. WVEZ; 8. WLRS; 9. WAVG; 10. WLSY; 11.
WXVW; 12. WTMT; 13. WXLN; 14. WDJX-AM; 15. WLLV; 16. WWKY; 17. WLW.
The dramatic DJX surge has the radio community buzzing. There's a general
feeling that the Louisville radio market is due for more changes in the near
future. Here's a look at how the top 10 stations are doing compared with the
winter '89 poll:
WAMZ - There's not much left to say about the country music fortress
that continues to beat all contenders. Coyote Calhoun continues to be the No.
1 afternoon radio personality. Added together, DJX-AM and FM - which broadcast
identical, simulcast programming - are just a point behind AMZ with all
listeners. But AMZ is way ahead in the important 25-54 age classification,
widely used for selling commercials.
WDJX-AM-FM - The champagne corks were popping at DJX when the ratings
came in last week. "We feel pretty good about this," said Chris Shebel, DJX
programming director, who stands to get a bonus for passing WHAS.
"They've got all kids," said Skip Essick, WHAS program director.
DJX does dominate in teen-age listeners, more than doubling WQMF, its nearest
competitor in that grouping. But DJX's current-hits programming is also No. 1
with 18- to 34-year-olds.
WHAS declined in both those age categories, which might indicate that it isn't
attracting many new, young listeners for the future.
WHAS still leads WDJX with 25-to 54-year-olds, which is WHAS' target audience,
but its ratings are also down there. Meanwhile, DJX-FM/AM is No. 3 with that
age group and breathing down WHAS' neck.
WHAS - The 50,000-watt powerhouse is far from down. Even taking some
hard hits, it remains a bulwark with solid ratings. No small part of that
credit is due to Wayne Perkey, the morning personality who remains the most
popular Louisville disc jockey with all listeners. But WHAS seems to be
slipping in the afternoons, where some of its ratings are down.
"That doesn't mean we have problems," says Essick. He says the station has
lost ground, but insists the reason is that competing stations have improved,
not because of any internal shortcomings at WHAS.
DJX's Shebel agrees that WHAS isn't doing anything wrong. "It's that AM radio
is in trouble," he said, something Essick hotly argues, especially where his
station is concerned. "We're still beating most of the FM stations in
Louisville," Essick said.
WQMF - The good news for QMF is it's up slightly with 25- to
54-year-olds in morning drive time and holding steady with that age group
during the day. The bad news is that it took a huge drop with 18- to
34-year-old men, which has been its strength. It also suffered a big setback
with 12- to 24-year-olds, which it insists it doesn't cater to with its
off-color jokes. QMF also dropped in all listeners over 12.
WLOU - One the area's oldest most consistent performers remained in
fifth place with listeners over 12, a sizable feat for a station that programs
to a basically black audience. It's obviously picked up white listeners to
maintain that ranking.
WRKA - There probably wasn't a lot of cheering at RKA, which was down
in several ratings categories. The most disappointing showing has to be in
morning drive time, where there was a decided drop with 25- to 54-year-olds.
The station has high hopes for John and Jeff Ramsey, its a.m. team, and has
invested much of its promotion effort there. Ironically, RKA was up in
afternoon drive time, where it expended considerably less effort.
WVEZ - It wasn't a good survey for WVEZ either. It was off in several
rating categories and time periods. "We would have like better numbers, but
we're not concerned," said general manager Frank Iorio. He added that during
this survey the station was still fine-tuning its format, although it was
basically the same music as before.
WLRS - After some hard times, it looks as though the new rock sound on
LRS is taking hold and the station is coming back. It was up in almost ever
age and time category. Other station managers think LRS will continue to climb
in the ratings.
WAVG - WLRS' sister station, which is due to switch over to a full time
satellite service Aug. 1, dropped slightly with all listeners. It also lost a
little ground with listeners between 25 and 54, the baby-boomers category at
which its music is aimed. Whether the loss of live personalities and local
news coverage will result in future drops is unknown, but station management
claims it can no longer make money without going automated.
WLSY - Rounding out the top 10 is WLSY. The station opened for business
in January with its "light and sunny" format, which some say is the modern
version of "beautiful music." It's moving up in almost all categories, with
impressive gains. LSY more than doubled its 25- to -54 and 35- to 64-year old
audience. It also scored big with jazz enthusiasts on its "Jazz Lite" show
Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., gaining more than six rating points with 35-
to 64-year-olds, according to program director George Lindsey.
Ratings show WDJX dropping as WVEZ surges ahead
This article appeared in the Courier-Journal on
October 23, 1990.
The big news from the latest Louisville radio
ratings is the fall of WDJX, which had been on a roll.
WVEZ surged ahead, taking over the No. 3 spot from DJX with all listeners over
12 years old, according to the latest Arbitron poll, taken from June through
mid-September. DJX lost nearly half of its ratings in some age-group
breakdowns compared with the spring survey.
Radio ratings are often like the weather though. Wait a few months and you'll
see another dramatic change.
WAMZ and sister station WHAS continue to play musical chairs with the top two
positions with all listeners over 12, but WAMZ was firmly in the catbird seat
in this poll. Although AMZ occassionally slips to No. 2, it always floats back
to the top. There are few stations anywhere that are consistently at the top
as that station.
WHAS, while holding on to the No. 2 spot in the summer poll, took a decided
drop, while AMZ widened the gap. Summer has been WHAS' Achilles' heel before.
In the all important 25-to-54 age group that most stations covet, AMZ wasn't
too far from doubling WHAS' share of the audience.
Two new stations will soon increase the local radio competition and
fractionalize the audience even more when they come on the air, probably
within the year.
One of them may adopt AMZ's country format on FM in an attempt to take a bite
out of the leader. Meanwhile, WWKY's country sound on AM is improving its
WDJX's new morning drive-time due -- Todd
Brandt, left, and
Peter B. -- has lost a third of its audience.
DJX, which passed up WHAS last summer, took
the biggest overall hit. It appears that WVEZ and newcomer KISS (WZKS) divided
the spoils in the battle for the light, adult-music audience.
KISS, which wasn't on the air during the first three weeks of the survey, made
an impressive start. It broke in the top-10-rated stations in its first
survey, tying WLOU for ninth place with all listeners over 12. The station,
which occupies WXLN's former dial slot at 103.9-FM, made its strongest showing
with women 18 to 34 years old.
"We couldn't be more pleased for openers," says KISS general manager Jon
Horton. He credits the station's extensive TV ad campaign with attracting
listeners. "You can have the greatest station on the air and be talking to
yourself if you can't find a way to tell people you're on the air."
A closer examination shows KISS growing stronger as the survey period
progressed. Projections indicate that it might even make a run at VEZ in the
DJX slipped in several age categories, and there's evidence that the breakup
of the morning duo of Peter B. and Joe Caruso last spring contributed to its
The station lost a third of its audience share during morning drivetime hours
in the 18-to-49 age group. DJX said it wanted to refocus its morning show when
Todd Brandt joined Peter B. in July. It takes time to develop any new team,
but right now DJX's vision appears to be blurred.
VEZ, which has been building, made a strong showing, coming in just behind
WAMZ with 18-to-49-year-olds. WLOU may be losing audience to another neophyte,
WGZB, which made its debut earlier this year and wound up a surprising No. 6.
Although GZB is not a strictly black-oriented station, it's playing much the
same music as LOU.
Oldies music may have peaked. WRKA and WAVG, the two stations showcasing that
sound, both declined. WXVW's big-band sound, however, continued to stay in the
Here's the full station rankings for all listeners over 12:
9. WZKS (KISS) and WLOU tied
14. WLSY and WTMT tied
The (Wise) Crack Of Dawn
You've gotta get up
early to grab the attention of radio listeners.
And these folks get up very, very, very, very early.
This article appeared in the Courier-Journal Scene on March 23, 1996.
By C. Ray Hall
Rocky & Troy
(WQMF 95.7 FM, 6-10 a.m.)
People searching for cheap symbolism might
note that Louisville's earthiest morning radio show originates in the very
bowels of a tall building in DuPont Square. Above, doctors and other grown-ups
tend to adult afflictions. In the sunless regions below, characters named
"Rocky," "Troy" and "Danger Boy" run amok. Their laughter bounces off the dark
gray studio walls the way bullets ricochet in cartoons.
After a recent four-hour "Rocky & Troy" laugh marathon, one of the stars
settled into a chair to complete his morning ritual.
"This show is not officially over until I've had my Aunt Fanny's cherry pie,"
said Rocky Knight, who began life 42 years ago in Hopkinsville, Kentucky as
(People in search of more cheap symbolism might note that Louisville's
raunchiest show ends with a Fanny-chewing.)
A wisecracking visitor remarked that Rocky doesn't look exactly like a Rocky.
"See, you're thinking Rocky Balboa, not Rocky Squirrel," he said. "This name
was laid on me in the '80s when I was working in Nashville. I worked for one
of those program directors who wanted no one using their real name. He wanted
a real catchy superstar Hollywood name. 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' was
the No. 1 cult film. He said, 'You are Rocky Knight.' I found out about this
at the urinal on my first night there…reading the memo."
A couple of weeks back, "Rocky & Troy" introduced the concept of the "front
butt" to Louisville radio. On one level, it's about, well, preschool girls
"touching themselves inappropriately" to use Troy's term. On another level,
it's about a father's horror and helplessness over problems not covered in the
Ward Cleaver parenting manual. And, like much of the show's material, it's
ripped from the pages of real life.
"A lot of people ask us 'how do you keep coming up with ideas?'" Rocky says.
"It's very simple. You just keep your eyes and ears open."
"When you're in this business, every waking hour, you're preparing, if you're
any good," says Troy Roebuck, 29. "You're observing. You're making notes. If
something makes you laugh or you find some idea or thought compelling, log it,
use it on the show."
Front-butt jokes and other effrontery are
some of the show's milder musings. In recent days, the show featured…a Jimmy
Stewart-type character pondering necrophilia with Minnie Pearl…a takeoff on
British radio in which the words "fag" and "butt" were thrown around with gay
abandon…and running dyslexia jokes.
"Everyone laughs when the joke is about someone else," says Troy. "When it's
about them, the humor is lost."
Even so, Rocky says, "We do have a lot of subjects that are very taboo, even
to us. We don't do cancer jokes."
"People suffering from HIV, there's simply nothing funny about that," says
And if you want to use "Rocky & Troy" as a gauge of What This World Is Coming
To, consider this: "Rocky & Troy" recently found a subject too raw for radio.
The source: the slick pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.
Rocky and Tory have been knocking, and mocking, around Louisville radio for
about a dozen years - the past 3 ½ together.
"They fired me from MIX (WLRS) because I didn't have a kick-ass attitude,"
Rocky says. "I'm playing Lionel Richie here. Come onnnn."
Rocky, because of bad fortune, needed a job. Troy, because of very bad
fortune, needed a partner.
"Ron Clay died of cancer in '91. He had been my mentor and a great friend,"
Troy says. "I was one of the few people he let into his little world."
Rocky got a 30-day tryout to work some a.m. alchemy. By the third day, he had
"When he got here I was a wreck," Troy says. "He came in, replacing a guy who
was essentially a legend in this town. He was very patient. Waited for me to
get through the psychosis."
"Still waiting," Rocky remarks, honoring what seems to be an unwritten code
between the two: No thought should end without a punch line.
Some of the punchier lines come from producer Jim Bullitt, known to listeners
as "Danger Boy."
By day, Bullitt used to sell refrigerators at Charlie Wilson's Dixie
Appliance. By night, he was a stand-up comic. He talked his way onto the
"Rocky & Troy" show.
"I'd call them every single morning and say put me on the radio," Bullitt
"Finally, he said, 'I'll do anything,'" Troy says. "Rocky and I got together
and came up with a list of these crazy things we didn't figure anybody would
"We have sent this guy out on some so-called 'missions' you would not
believe," Rocky says. "One of my favorites was when we bandaged both his hands
as if he'd been in a burn accident and then sent him to public restrooms
asking for help from other guys."
"He got help at the bus station," Troy reports.
"Rather eager help," says Danger Boy.
(People in search of cheap symbolism might note that one of "Rocky & Troy's"
most inspired stunts led to public restrooms.)
Troy's old Male High School classmates knew him less as a humorist than simply
the silent type. "I think to do the show the way we do it, when you were
younger and growing up you probably weren't the clown," he says. "You were
probably more of an observer."
One thing he's observed: "People with a sense of humor are happier. They're
more content. More productive. Have you ever met somebody who doesn't laugh?
What a miserable existence that must be."
Another thing he's observed: the truth of the adage "dying is easy, comedy is
"I know," he says. "I almost died. I took a four-story fall in 1984 and broke
70-odd bones. I fell through the (skylight) roof at Moore High School…I had no
business being up there. I was lying there and I was bleeding to death
internally. That was easy. Writing a character bit, that's tough."
Troy spent more than a year in a wheelchair. "Comedy is still harder than that
entire year," he says. "I had to grow up real fast. Pain is a great way to
grow up. I think it gave me a maturity perhaps beyond my years. When I was 22,
23 years old and finally healing up, I looked around and most of my friends
were 35 to 40 years old. I just seemed to identify with them."
"A wisdom born of suffering," he says, full of self-parody. (No thought can
end without a punch line.)
Sometimes, your wisdom comes from other people's suffering.
"I think there's a large segment that gets up every morning, and most people
don't want to go to work," he says. "I'd say more than half the people on this
planet don't like what they do. It's nice for them to laugh going in. I think
it makes not just the morning more tolerable, but their entire day.
"Maybe that's seeing nobility where there is none. But unless you see some
nobility in what you're doing, you might as well not be doing it, and I think
making people laugh is an honorable thing."
Laughter In The Morning: It
Bob & Tom
(WTFX-FM 100.5, 6-10 a.m.)
Every weekday the "Bob & Tom Show" wells up
out of the Heartland and beams from sea to shining sea: from Charleston, South
Carolina, to Louisville to Sacramento, California.
It's not so much sight as sound. Not so much a great majestic air ship casting
its shadow over the land as, say, a giant whoopee cushion blowing away
pretense and propriety.
This is probably not what Ronald Regan, the Great Communicator and former
radio announcer, had in mind when he declared, "It's morning in America."
Consider a few tips the "Bob & Tom Show" mined for humor recently:
- Aerial oral sex
- Fat women
- Old age and senility
- Ejaculation, human
- Ejaculation, hog
- Artificial testicle implants in dogs
- Coffee enemas for gay guys ("La Cage Aux
And, of course, that new classic comic foil,
the Muncie, Indiana woman whose foot so offended her that she blasted it off
with a shotgun.
Sure, this kind of stuff might play in the show's hometown, Indianapolis. But
what about Fort Wayne or Evansville? Or Louisville, where it's been on the air
Scott Pritchett, general sales manager for Louisville's WTFX, says,
"Financially speaking, they are a success in the morning. They're stronger
than anything we've had there in the morning."
Since Bob and Tom came aboard, WTFX has moved from seventh to third (behind
perennial heavyweights WHAS-AM and WAMZ-FM) in the local morning drive-time
ratings among 25- to 54-year-old audiences.
Drew Carey, director of network operations for the "Bob & Tom Show," tells how
it's playing in Fort Wayne:
"The morning show was rated 13th in the market with a 2.1. The next rating
period (with Bob & Tom), they were No. 1 with a 12.5. The station went from
13th to third."
Downstate, the numbers are almost as striking. Larry Aiken, owner of WGBF-FM
(94.7) in Evansville, says, "They took us in one year's time from No. 7 in the
morning to No. 1 across the board."
How? Talent and hard work to hear Aiken tell it.
"They are both extremely well-educated…with a fairly rich background of
comedic writing," he says of Bob Kevoian, 45, and Tom Griswold, 42. "My
impression is they're very serious about the craft of comedy. As good
entertainers should, it sounds rather routine and easy for them. But doing 20
hours of live anything today in radio and television is a very difficult task.
"They are unique. They sometimes, I think, are unfairly compared to Howard
Stern. But their exercise is more about humor than self-flagellation."
Aha, but what about the public? Aren't Hoosiers, too, well, conservative for
chatter about coffee enemas with their morning coffee?
"We've had three letters (of complaint)," Aiken says. "It surprises people
sometimes to find out about the low level of complaint. But really when you
compare Bob and Tom to the other media out there today, from outdoor
billboards to television (which) is certainly on the cutting edge all over the
band, Bob and Tom - I'm not being an apologist for them - I don't think they
are obscene or dirty."
Neither, apparently, do image-conscious advertisers.
"We have picked up in the neighborhood of 150 advertisers," Aiken says, "from
the glossiest international corporations down to the local bait stores."
If not for a chance meeting in a Michigan tavern 16 years ago, Bob and Tom
might be working in local bait stores. Tom Griswold, an Ohio native
disenchanted with the restaurant business, had dabbled in radio in Florida.
Visiting in Michigan, he sort of lolled by a tavern pool table. He overheard
Bob Kevoian, a Los Angeles native, mention his job in radio. Griswold asked to
come to the station to scan the trade publications for jobs. The station hired
Bob and Tom will have another tavern meeting tonight, though not by chance.
They'll be bringing their show to the Phoenix Hill Tavern for a sold-out
But to continue the history of Bob and Tom: "They got fired from that station,
and went across the street to another station," Carey says.
"We were on a 100,000 watt station up there," Griswold says. "The station had
hired a consultant….The consultant came in and she said, 'You guys are
terrible. You talk way too much and you're not funny.' The absolute very next
day, the ratings came in and we destroyed the competition."
"They blew everybody away in Petoskey," Carey says. "There were so good that
the competition sent a tape of them out to all these other radio stations."
They took the first offer, from WFBQ-FM (103.1) in Indianapolis. They've been
there 13 years, practically a lifetime in radio.
"In radio, you have a great show one day, you come back the next day there's
nothing interesting happening and you can't be funny," Griswold says. "To me,
the big work is trying to come in every day, and take something in the news,
try to have some fun with it….
"I think in my head there's a little interest meter going on. Is this
conversation still interesting? Is this person funny? Are these jokes still
interesting? We've been pretty lucky so far being able to keep that meter
going pretty quickly."
Even a show that pokes fun at practically everything can have serious side
effects. "I had a psychiatrist write me a letter one time," Griswold says. "He
said he just wanted to thank me because he had a couple of patients that were
having a problem in the morning with severe depression - not that we are a
cure for that, certainly - one the things he said was you need to start your
day off with a laugh. Why don't you try listening to Bob and Tom?"
Why morning matters
Scott Pritchett, general sales manager
for Louisville radio station WTFX-FM (100.5), says, "This is a
foundation of radio wisdom; Every successful radio station has a
successful morning show….
"Almost invariably across the country, no matter what the station, no
matter what the market, the No. 1 listened-to hour is 7 to 8 a.m.,
followed by 8 to 9.
"The other theory is that if you're listening to a morning show they
keep you chuckling on your way to work, you get back in your car that
evening and you're still on.
"If you listen to something on your way to work that makes you chuckle,
you get the water-cooler talk started, and you get other people to
sample the radio station."
estimates for fall 1995
(5-9 a.m. weekdays, 25- to 54-year olds)
| 1. WHAS-AM 840
| 2. WAMZ-FM
||Bobby Jack Murphy
| 3. WTFX-FM
||Bob & Tom
| 4. WQMF-FM
||Rocky & Troy
| 5. WDJX-FM
||Peter B. & the
| 6. WVEZ-FM
show starts Monday)
| 7. WRKA-FM
| 8. WGZB-FM
| 9. WLRS-FM
||Leesa & Lindsey
|10. WHKW-FM 107.7
||Bandy & Bailey
(WHAS-AM 840, 5-9 a.m.)
Despite the crackling, unpredictable, high
energy of morning FM radio, practically every sizable town has an institution
on the AM side of the dial. In Louisville, the Institution is Wayne Perkey,
who has dueling the dawn on WHAS for 26 years.
Perkey, 58, eases into the day, with rarely a discouraging word.
"There's a real good reason why they call Howard Stern a shock jock. When
Howard and those guys first started having some impact, I decided they were
taking the easy way out - that you can be funny without being blue and
resorting to bathroom humor and doing penis jokes….
"Folks who've been here awhile have an image of this radio station and the way
it ought to be. Sometimes you do things that are fun and different, but
sometimes it just clanks. Just jars rather than ringing."
Arbitron's fall 1995 ratings had Perkey's show rated eighth in the nation for
Although Perkey has a theoretical four-hour workday, he says, "I think of
myself as a sponge. I spend 20 hours a day soaking up information and then
four hours in the morning squeezing it back out."
Longtime listeners probably think they know him, but do they?
"The thing that would surprise people the most is my life is so damned boring.
I mean, I go to bed at 9 at night. How exciting can it be? I've seen
'Seinfeld' about four times and I've watched 'Friends' three times because I
ought to know what people are talking about."
You'd think after a quarter-century, Perkey would have the timing down. Not
"Barney Arnold was the farm director of this radio station for 25 years. He
and I were out together one night. Somebody said, 'Barney what time do you get
up in the morning?' and then the guy said, 'Well, I guess you get used to it,
right?' Barney said, 'Man, I've been doing this 25 years and you never get
used to it. The reason is because the rest of the world works on a normal
"I'm one of those guys who slides under the tag every day. I used to get up at
4 and I'd get to the station about 5 till 5, 5:02, just enough to drive
(overnight DJ) Joe Donovan crazy. 'Is he coming?'
"I thought, 'I don't need this kind of stress, racing to the station every
morning, trying to beat the red lights.' So I moved my clock back to 3:45 and
I'd get in at 5 till 5, 5:02. Now I get up at 3:20 and I still get in at 5
till 5, 5:02."
The worst moments come when Perkey and crew go out of town following the
University of Louisville Cardinals basketball teams, as they have the past
"My nightmare happens at least once when I'm on the road. I don't sleep well
in hotels. I'll wake up three or four times during the course of the night to
check on the clock, and at least once I'll wake up with that cold-sweat
feeling. 'Oh - they didn't call me and I'm an hour late.' I'll think they've
been on the air for an hour and I'm not there. An in reality, it'll be about 3
"I've been doing this 26 years at WHAS Radio, and I have that nightmare."
Giving a town that many wake-up calls can give you a perspective on a place.
"Louisville is really an early town," he says. "I guess it always has been,
but it particularly became an early town when they consolidated the schools,
and kids started waiting for the buses at 6 o'clock in the morning…
"People really do get up early here. We still have a lot of that country
culture, I believe. Louisville, big as it is, feels like a small town in a lot
of respects. People are friendly. It doesn't have a big-town, cold feel."
(with George Lindsey, WLRS-FM 102.3 5:30-10 a.m.)
Many of the voices you hear on morning radio
are as deep as sleep.
Not George Lindsey's.
And definitely not that of his partner, Leesa Mitchell, who claims a share of
local radio history.
"George and I, when we started out three years ago, we were the first
male-female team," she says. "I wasn't the news bunny. I wasn't his sidekick
who just laughed… We were the first, really true, equal male-female teams. But
as time went on, we noticed more and more of them popping up… They weren't
just newswomen and bit players."
Mitchell, a self-declared non-morning person, was accustomed to being up at 4
a.m. But not getting up at that hour. ("The hours are tough," she said. "Some
days I am so tired. My coping mechanism is to take tons of vitamins.")
"I used to think I wanted to be in television, and I've done commercials, but
I think you have more freedom doing a morning radio show," she says.
"Morning shows are very important to the station. If you don't do well, you
don't have a job. You make a little bit more money…. It gives you a chance to
really talk to people and have fun, whereas a lot of other shifts, you're
basically pushing buttons and talking four times an hour. This gives you a
chance to really be a part of the community."
One thing you learn: To be such tiny vaporous things flung into the air, words
have a lot sticking power.
"It amazes me how much people pay attention," she says. "When you meet
somebody out on the street, they'll say I remember that day you were giving
your partner George h-e-double-hockey sticks."
Double hockey sticks? How can anybody who talks this way survive in the
rough-and-tumble of early morning FM radio?
"Every now and then something will pop out of my month," she says. "It's not
really blue, but it's kind of racy. The powers that be think it's a little too
racy for mom driving to work with their kids in the car dropping them off at
school. They're probably right….We try to have fun and be spicy, but not be
"It might be fun to be loud, obnoxious cuss-head. But why? Why do you want to
do that? There are other ways to laugh at life."
(with Dave Marcum, on WRKA-FM 103.1, from 5:30-10 a.m.)
"No one knows this, but I'm like Wayne
Perkey's weird brother that no one talks about."
There, in a few words, is self-analysis from John Ramsey of the "Breakfast
"We're on the air at 5:30. I'm up at 3:30. It really stinks."
There, in a few more words, is Ramsey's version of the morning man's lament.
Here's another version: "Someone told me it's the lowest ebb of the human
soul, about 3:30 or 4 in the morning when we get up, and it is. And nobody
gets used to it. You've got to want it. I still love my job."
Here's the upside of being up that early.
"I really get a kick out of it when people say, "You make my morning easier.
I'm dragging out of bed or I'm having a hard time. I've got to take out the
trash in my pajamas and you make me laugh.' That's a big kick.
"When you're getting older, you hope your life's work has some redeeming
value, that you're not just digging ditches….
And honestly, I'm not going to lie to you. It's the only place, other than
afternoon drive time, where you can make any money in radio."
Now, about that Wayne Perkey's Weird Brother persona.
"A lot of times I think out loud and reveal a little big too much of myself,"
Ramsey says, "I think a lot of people like to keep this image thing. I'm like
Wayne Perkey's weird brother with an edge…Wayne's a good guy, but he's got
this image. I don't think he reveals a lot of himself on the air, which has
probably made him very successful. I tend to think out loud….I've got a little
bit of an edge to me."
Though less than he once had, in a previous incarnation on WLRS a decade ago.
"I'm still paying dept for some of the reputation I had at LRS with Rocky," he
says. "People liked it, but they thought, 'Hey, this guy is doing some pretty
crude stuff,' which now I don't do at all.
"If I had to say one thing I did right, it was I decided to stay with an
adult-based format. I'm glad I decided early in my career, 10 years ago, to
play to that (grown-up) audience. The leopard-skin Spandex that I was playing
to when I was doing rock 'n' roll with Rocky, it was fun and we got crazy. It
was good when I was young. But now I'd be embarrassed to do some of that
stuff. Don't get me wrong. I laugh at some of it. But then I catch myself
going, 'My God, if I had a kid in the car…"
Not that kids, necessary, should be the arbiters of FM radio. "Louisville," he
says, "is a good place to raise adults."
The more, shall we say, mature image also helps Ramsey land commercials for
car dealership and fitness centers.
"Image is really important to me for longevity," he says, "plus my mom listens
to the show."
Ramsey once went to Kansas City to work, then returned home.
"In my business," he says, "you can stay somewhere and develop a following and
get where (advertising) clients buy the station because of you. Or, on the
other hand, you move every two or three years….
"You get where you're embedded and they can't get rid of you. That's the only
kind of security you really have is the fact that clients are buying the
station because they like you. I'm kissing a lot of butt lately."
And not the kind encased in leopard-skin Spandex.
Regular Guys With A Cool
(with Marc Beasley, WGZB-FM 96.5, 6-10 a.m.
A recent giveaway on the "Breakfast Brothers
Show" produced this exchange.
Breakfast Brother: "Congratulations, Lamont. You won."
Lamont (in a faraway barely audible voice): "I won!"
Returning to the phone, the caller explained he was announcing his good
fortune to his breakfast-shift colleagues at Dairy Queen.
The real winners were probably in the studio, though.
"We're just regular guys with cool jobs," says Timm Jherard, who's been
sharing the morning shift with Marc Beasley the past four years. The Breakfast
Brothers play nine to 10 songs an hour - lots of smooth, romantic stuff that
might make good background music for snuggling and snoozing.
No luck for Jherard, who rises about 2 a.m. to give him time to prepare the
show. ("I have an alarm clock that's set across the room, so I have to
physically get out of bed to turn it off.")
"I come in, make a post of coffee and get to work," he says.
While the city snoozes, Jherard looks for material.
"If I see nice things, or silly things we can talk about, those are better
days than when I see the front page of the newspaper and it's all death and
Do the Breakfast Brothers ever think of becoming the Blue Brothers?
"Not really," Jherard says. "We want to appeal to the broadest possible
available audience. At the same time, I have a 5-year-old and it's nice to
have a 5-year-old that can actually listen to you on the radio."
With a name offering infinite spelling challenges, Jherard says, "I think my
favorite misspelling on a piece of mail we got was 'Jarhead.'"
(WKJK-FM 98.9, 6-10 a.m.)
Country-music fans occassionally bring
breakfast to Moby the morning man at WKJK, which has its studios on Broadway.
Thereby missing Moby's mouth by, oh, over 400 miles.
Moby, aka James Carney, holds forth from Atlanta. But the production is so
slick and seamless, you can't tell Moby's voice bounces around in space before
falling to Earth.
"Sounds local, don't it?" he says in a voice as round and Southern as a Moon
pie. "Sounds the same way in Northern Michigan and South Texas and Vero Beach,
Moby is syndicated on 15, maybe 20 stations; he's not quite sure.
"Being syndicated has been a big thing for me," he says. "It's why I left rock
'n ' roll…Because I was controversial. Back in the '80s, I was one of those
shock jocks. I knew I could never, ever expect to be successful outside the
South, just sounding like I sound. I'm a Tennessee boy. I tried for years to
get rid of my accent and finally said to hell with that, this is me, and I'm
not going to try to put on any airs."
When Moby meets his mob, he says, "You have to allow people to meet the same
people they met on the radio that morning with the same attitude. So you gotta
So, he's really Moby, and not just a guy playing Moby on the radio?
"God, no," he says. "Who would try to fake this crap?"
Moby, who once could rise at middays and slip comfortably into his afternoon
shift in Houston, now arrives at 3:50 a.m. with a Georgia moon overhead. Pain
"Any of the radio stars are on the morning show," he says. "And I like being a
Besides: "My job is wonderful, because by the time I wake up, I've only got
about 30 minutes left (to work)."
Some shows are music-driven. Others are personality-driven. Moby's is
"I have a Starbucks mug. It's a 20-ounce mug. I drink that thing full 8-10
times a morning."
That's five to six quarts of coffee. Enough to make a man an expert on, well,
"We've got a $4 million -- $4 MILLION - radio station and there's one bathroom
out in the hall from the studio. Couldn't we have got a boys' and girls' room,
a two-holer, maybe?"
Moby may not be putting on the feed bag in Louisville, but he's getting the
feedback in Atlanta.
"I get quite a bit of entertainment out of the people that absolutely detest
me," he says." They'll call up raising the dickens with me. I love it. What're
you gonna say? You can't make 'em any madder. They're already mad. If you
wanna fuss, we'll fuss.
"I don't want anybody to turn on the radio and listen to me for a succession
of days and turn it off and go, "Oh, he was all right.' Either love me or hate
me, one or the other. I don't like middle-of-the-road people."
One of Moby's public tiffs is with Travis Tritt. Moby says it's because he
won't treat the singer - or anybody else - like a star.
"I wouldn't treat Garth like a star. I wouldn't treat Elvis like a star. Sit
down here and let's just be folks.
"It's not important to me to have great affiliation with the individual
artists. The artists that get deluded into thinking they are the product are
setting themselves up for failure….
"It's the music that is the product, not the artist that creates it. Now if
they're gonna be nice people, I'll respect 'em and enjoy their company….
They're no better than the guy who opens up the lube rack at 6:30 in the
morning. If they have a misconception that God likes them more because they're
who they are, they're wrong."
Confused by all the
buyouts, sellouts and format changes
in Louisville radio? Here's the guide you've been hoping for.
This article appeared in the Courier-Journal Scene on
February 15, 1997.
|WTMT (620-AM) Fans who have
been missing around-the-clock sports talk can find it on TMT's
Chicago-based "One on One Sports Network." The former country-music
station airs a heavy schedule of horse- and auto-racing events.
WXKN (680-AM) This station feeds the audio version of
television's Cable News Network, as well as various high school football
and basketball and University of Louisville Lady Cardinal games. The
station recently was sold to Gone Overgaard Broadcasting Inc. of Chicago
but expects to maintain the news format.
WWKY (790-AM) This is the address for such non-stop daytime talk
shows as Stew Williams (6-10 a.m.), Dr. Laura Schlessinger (2-5 p.m.)
and Joe Arnold (5-7 p.m.). It also carries an extensive schedule of pro
football, basketball, baseball and national college sports, including
Notre Dame football on weekends.
WHAS' Wayne Perkey
WHAS (840-AM) The home of
diverse on-air personalities, including Wayne Perkey, Rush Limbaugh and
Terry Meiners. Lots of weather, news and talk and not much music except
after midnight when Joe Donovan plays hits from decades gone by. Also
airs U of L and University of Kentucky basketball and football games.
WFIA (900-AM) Christian talk programming, featuring the Rev. Bob
Russell of Southeast Christian Church and national programs on the
family and Christian living.
WCND (940-AM) Simulcast of WTHQ's country programming.
WAVG (970-AM) The longtime "Easy Listening Hits of the Past"
station was purchased by Pulitzer Broadcasting of St. Louis and will
switch to an all-news format this spring when it becomes WLKY radio.
WKJK (1080-AM) This station calls itself "The Real Country" by
offering "less Garth Brooks and more Merle Haggard." Expect to hear
mostly country hits from the 1970s and '80s with George Jones and some
Patsy Cline mixed in.
WLLV (1240-AM) Gospel music and talk.
WLOU (1350-AM) Gospel music.
WXVW (1450-AM) The "Music of Your Life" format that will be
missing from WAVG later this year is now, and will continue to be, heard
at this dial address, which also broadcasts Indiana high school, college
and professional sports.
WBUL (1470-AM) Simulcast of WXLN (1570-AM)
WXLN (1570-AM) Southern gospel, official voice of the National
WJIE (88.5-FM) Non-commercial adult contemporary Christian music,
featuring such artists as Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman and Susan
Ashton. Morning and afternoon drive-time news and weather reports. Some
talk programming. Operated by Evangel Christian School.
WFPL (89.3-FM) Best known for its National Public Radio weekday
"Morning Edition" (6-10 a.m.) and "All Things Considered" (4-6 p.m.)
newscasts. The station airs a variety of other news, business and public
affairs programs, including "Car Talk" on Saturday mornings at 10.
WUOL (90.5-FM) The area's only classical music station, featuring
University of Louisville concerts, "Adventures on Good Music with Karl
Haas" and a variety of classical works.
WFPK (91.9-FM) The home of the album adult alternative sound
features music that ranges from Joni Mitchell and Joan Osborne to Tori
Amos and Lyle Lovett during morning and afternoon drive time. The
station continues to play traditional jazz at noon and 8 p.m. weekdays
as well as other times.
WRVI (94.7-FM) "The River" plays a variety of older and softer
rock 'n' roll favorites, such as the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Phil
Collins, with a blend of such modern artists as Hootie & the Blowfish.
WQMF (95.7-FM) The Louisville veteran rocker has fine-tuned its
classic rock format a bit, but it's still the place you're likely to
hear The Who, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. It's also the home base for
Rocky & Troy weekday mornings from 6-10.
WGZB (96.5-FM) Tony Fields and the B Morning Crew (6-10 a.m.)
hold forth on this urban contemporary station, which is always jamming
with such artists as Brandi, New Edition and Whitney Houston.
WAMZ's Bobby Jack Murphy
WAMZ (97.5-FM) The perennial
top-rated station in town is the home of Coyote Calhoun and plays
current country hits by such artists as Shania Twain, Brooks & Dunn and
WHKW (98.9-FM) "The New Hawk 99" plays newer, just-released
country music, with 12 songs in-a-row sweeps, featuring such singers as
Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire and LeAnn Rimes.
WDJX (99.7-FM) DJX bills itself as the "Top Popular Hits Station
of the '90s" with some '80s songs sprinkled throughout. You're likely to
hear Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette and Toni Braxton if you tune in
Peter B. & The Gang from 5:30-9:00 a.m. weekdays.
WTFX (100.5-FM) "The Fox" bills itself as the place to hear
current rock hits by such performers as Van Halen, AC/DC and Pearl Jam.
"The Bob & Tom Show" from 6-10 a.m. weekdays is the station's big
WMJM (101.3-FM) "Magic 101" plays urban contemporary smooth
rhythm and blues and classics by such artists as Luther Vandross, the
O'Jays and En Vogue.
WTHQ (101.7-FM) This Shelbyville, Kentucky station bills itself
as "Hot Country" and features such top-of-the-charts superstars as Garth
Brooks. The 9 a.m. Saturday "Tradin' Post" is one of the most popular
shows. It also broadcasts University of Kentucky basketball and football
WLRS (102.3-FM) Leesa and Lindsey hold worth weekday mornings on
this station that mixes a blend of adult contemporary hits from the '80s
and '90s. It's also known for its "Saturday Night Party" (7
p.m.-midnight) and is the home of Casey Kasem's top-20 countdown Sundays
from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WRKA (103.1-FM) The oldies address in Louisville plays hit songs
from the 1960s and '70s, such as the Beach Boys, the Beatles and Motown
artists. The Ramsey brothers (Jeff and John) do their funny, but clean,
routines for weekday morning drive time from 6-10.
WASE (103.5-FM) This Elizabethtown, Kentucky station also picks
up some Louisville listeners with its '60s and '70s oldies format
featuring Elvis and the Supremes. The station also airs U of L sports.
WSJW (103.9-FM) The new kid in town is the address for the
"Smooth Jazz" format that offers music by such artists as Kenny G, Anita
Baker and David Sanborn.
WXLN (105.1-FM) Soft Christian favorites with such artists as
Twila Paris, Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patty.
WMPI (105.3-FM) Located in Scottsburg, Indiana, this station
picks up some Louisville area audience by playing country hits. It also
airs Scottsburg and Austin, Indiana high school basketball games.
WXLM (105.7-FM) Soft Christian favorites. Weekday wake-up show
with Andy Haynes and Olympus Zarris and news, weather and traffic
WHTE (105.9-FM) This new hits, top-40 station plays such artists
as Gin Blossoms and Sheryl Crow.
WVEZ (106.9-FM) Adult contemporary hits make up the "soft rock"
menu played by Diane Williamson, Kelly Richards, Joe Fidele and others
on this station, where singers like Michael Bolton and Mariah Carey are
WSFR (107.7-FM) Superstar hits and artists of the 1970s and '80s
such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Rod Stewart, are some of the
people on the play list of this newcomer that calls itself "Star 107."
The Radio Revolution
Deregulation started it about a year ago.
And while the buying frenzy
appears to be over, the real winners are still in doubt.
By Tom Dorsey
TV & Radio Critic
John Hauschildt of Louisville doesn't like
what conglomerates have done to his radio listening.
"The main changes in Louisville radio recently have made me mad and left me
frustrated," he wrote in a letter to WAVG and The Courier-Journal.
The station was recently sold to Pulitzer Broadcasting of St. Louis, which
owns WLKY-TV. Pulitzer plans to drop WAVG's "Music of Your Life" format for an
all-news format when the Federal Communications Commission approves the sale,
probably this spring.
"It appears the owners don't care about many of (their) regular listeners,"
But Ed Henson, whose family once operated WLRS and WAVE (now WAVG), said
Hauschildt's concern is unfounded.
"When you have as many stations as you have now in Louisville, basically
people should be able to hear just about anything they want," he said. "With
the refinement of formats, there really should be more listening variety than
there used to be."
During the past year, 20 radio stations in the Louisville area have changed
ownership. That's the biggest revolution in the 75-year history of local
radio. But Louisville is not alone. The changes mirror what is happening
nationally since the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which
eliminated many of the regulations restricting multiple ownership of stations
in one market.
While change was expected after deregulation, the pace has surprised even
those in the business.
"I could have never dreamed of all the changes," said Bob Scherer, who manages
the local stations owned by Clear Channel Communications of San Antonio,
Clear Channel and Jacor Communications of Cincinnati are the biggest winners
in the round of local radio sales. Clear Channel owns seven stations,
including the market's No. 1 and No. 2 stations, WHAS and WAMZ. Jacor owns six
stations, including its leaders WDJX and WVEZ, No. 4 and No. 6 in the
The other big players are Cox Communications Inc. of Atlanta, whose leading
station is WRKA at No. 5, and Blue Chip Broadcasting of Cincinnati, which owns
WGZB and WMJM, which are rated No. 3 and No. 11 respectively.
With Clear Channel claiming 44 percent of the listeners and Jacor claiming 20
percent, the total share of the audience for the two conglomerates adds up to
almost two-thirds of the over-12 audience, according to the fall Arbitron
If you combine their totals with the three stations owned by Cox
Communications and the two owned by Blue Chip Broadcasting, you have four
owners with probably more than 80 percent of the audience.
The four companies own or operate 18 of the 28 stations ranked in the Arbitron
survey. Just a few years ago there were 18 station operators in the
metropolitan area. Today it is dominated by just four.
"It's amazing; a year ago no one in the city owned more than two stations,"
Local station executives contend that the listening audience will be better
off for the revolution.
"It's going to be a very exciting time for listeners," said James Beard, vice
president in charge of Jacor's Louisville properties. "They're going to have a
great variety of better stations than they had before."
Independent radio analyst James Duncan Jr. president of Duncan's American
Radio Inc., a national research firm in Indianapolis, agrees.
"I don't think the listener will be hurt in any way and should see some
improvement in programming," he said. "People don't care who owns a station
just as long as it plays what he or she wants to hear."
Scherer and Beard said that a lack of competition will result in better
Henson also buys that idea, explaining, for example, that when rock and
country stations used to go head-to-head, people were likely to hear the same
music on two stations.
"What that means is that WTFX and WQMF, which used to compete with the same
rock, are now broadcasting different segments of that music under Clear
Channel ownership," Henson said.
The same is true for country-music programming, where WAMZ, WHKW and WKJK now
appeal to various segments of the country audience.
Jacor has taken over much of the adult contemporary territory directed at
women, which is divided into diverse music segments.
"This means that the money we used to spend competing and protecting our turf
can now be used to better serve listeners," Beard said.
"Radio stations are going to be more like magazines," Scherer said. "They'll
be tailored to specific listener needs on each station. Right now I can't
think of a format that isn't being heard in Louisville."
"In terms of public service I think the jury is still out," Henson said.
He recalls a day when various Louisville families owned most of the stations.
They were committed to the community and sponsored events and raised money for
That doesn't mean the new owners won't get involved. "It all depends on how
attentive they are to the community," Henson said.
Scherer thinks having seven stations means there will be more local public
service opportunities for Clear Channel.
"We will now have seven radio stations to promote the WHAS Crusade for
Children instead of two," he said. "The University of Louisville will find it
easier to promote games with multi-station groups. We have lots of marbles to
play with," he said.
"I can see the amount of public service not only continuing but moving to a
higher level," Beard said. "Jacor stations are doing more now than they ever
Radio analyst Duncan thinks the stations not only will do more, but that they
can't afford to do less. "It's very important for radio stations to remain
local and stay in touch with their communities.
"If a station doesn't have its roots firmly planted in community service, a
competitor will sense that weakness and go after them. Jacor has a history of
attacking opponents which are vulnerable."
Last month's sale of WLRS to Jacor may have been the end of the buying frenzy,
at least for now. WLRS was the last major station still up for grabs.
But there are still questions for the future.
The Telecommunications Act says that no one owner can control more than seven
stations in a metropolitan area the size of Louisville. Clear Channel is at
Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department is making noises about not allowing one
owner to earn more than 50 percent of the revenues in a market. Clear Channel
might top that figure in Louisville.
"That might raise issues for Clear Channel," Duncan said. Jacor, for example,
was forced to sell a station in Cincinnati last year because it controlled 57
percent of market revenues in that city.
Jacor is jockeying with Clear Channel nationally for the ownership of the most
At last count the two were neck and neck, with Clear Channel owning 118 in the
United States and Jacor close behind at 113. Both are still buying stations as
fast as they can write checks.
Jacor could still acquire one more Louisville station under the
Telecommunications Act, but no one is guessing which one that might be since
all the desirable frequencies are now controlled by group owners. And it
almost always is the strength of the signal that companies are interesting in
buying, not the stations' programming format. The exceptions are stations with
a strong reputation, such as WQMF or WVEZ.
Ironically, if Clear Channel was ordered to sell a station by the government,
Jacor might be the buyer.
Cox, which wants to be major player in the Louisville area, only owns three
stations. Would Cox sell those stations and go to another city where it has a
better chance of acquiring more frequencies?
"We have absolutely no intention of leaving Louisville," said Brent Miller,
general manager of Cox's local stations. He said there are stations that
aren't for sale but may be in the future.
There are few possibilities at present, however.
"But of course all of this could change again tomorrow in today's business
climate," Miller said.
Who owns what:
Clear Channel Communications
Blue Chip Broadcasting
WGZB's Darrell Pebbles and Tony Fields
WGZB's ratings campaign
paid off. It's No. 3
WGZB, which calls itself "B-96," has made a
beeline to third place in the latest Louisville radio ratings - no small feat
considering it was No. 6 last winter.
The urban adult contemporary station (at 96.5 FM), which plays such artists as
Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and Brandi, has climbed to a runner-up position
behind perennial rating leaders WHAS and WAMZ.
It was a year ago that Blue Chip Broadcasting of Cincinnati bought out the
locally owned outlet.
GZB had been a successful station from its start in 1988, but the new owners
began an aggressive multilayered campaign to boost its standing and ensure its
place in the new era of giant owners.
"We did extensive promotion and ascertainment in this community," said Jeffery
Goree, GZB general manager. "We found out what people wanted and gave it to
GZB ratings, when combined with sister station WMJM, account for a 9.3 share
of the area's listeners. Goree said he is "extremely pleased" with the results
in the latest Arbitron ratings.
"But one survey doesn't make the whole game, and we intend to keep at it," he
Goree credits his "B-96" morning team with much of the success.
"There's no doubt that Tony Fields and Anjaili McGuire have captured a lot of
listeners for us," Goree said.
Fields is a familiar voice from his days at WLOU in the 1980s when that
station was the primary music outlet for Louisville's African-American
community. GZB, under former general manager Rod Burbridge, quickly took that
title away. That signaled the beginning of the end for WLOU, which has since
switched to gospel music.
Although "B-96" undoubtedly has the largest number of African-American
listeners in the area, it knew that wouldn't be enough to be a winner.
"We knew what we had to do when we came in here because the African-American
populations (12.5 percent) was not going to be large enough by itself to get
us where we wanted to go," Goree said.
He estimates his listenership now at about 52 percent black and 48 percent
The station is particularly strong among 18- to 34-year-olds, who are less set
in their ways and more willing to go with something new. But Goree says that
it was increases in the 35- to 44-year-old category that helped boost GZB in
this latest poll.
Goree has no doubts about how hard it will be to stay where the station is
"There's no question that the Clear Channels and Jacors have come into this
market and made us all take note by creating very stiff competition," Goree
How they rate
The Arbitron Company, which surveys
radio audiences nationally, polled 1,526 households in the Louisville
metropolitan area between September 19 and December 11. Here are the
results, based on all listeners over 12 years old, with the numbers
indicating the share of the audience for each station.
1. WHAS 16.5
2. WAMZ 15.2
3. WGZB 7.7
4. WDJX 6.5
5. (tie) WTFX 5.0, WRKA 5.0, WSFR 5.0
6. (tie) WVEZ 3.8, WAVG 3.8
7. WSJW 3.0
8. WQMF 2.7
9. WHKW 2.3
10. WLRS 1.7
11. WMJM 1.6
12. WWKY 1.5
13. WHTE 1.3
14. WKJK .9
15. (tie) WLLV .8, WRVI .8
16. (tie) WTHQ .6, WXLN (FM) .6
17. (tie) WTMT .5, WASE .5, WLOU .5
18. (tie) WXKN .4, WMPI .4, WFIA .4
19. WCND .1
Ratings for WXLM were not available.
Ratings for WXLN-AM and WXVW did not register in the survey. WBUL of
Shepherdsville, Kentucky, came on the air after the survey was
completed. Also, non-profit stations - WUOL, WFPK, WFPL and WJIE - are
not ranked with commercial stations in this Arbitron poll.