This page updated
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
In the 1960s and 1970s,
Louisville, Kentucky was the scene of one of the hottest radio battles in the
country: Top 40 station
WAKY vs. Top
40 station WKLO. This Website is dedicated to the fans and former
employees of "The Big 1080: Radio WKLO."
(For WAKY lovers, go
here.) Thanks for
Bill Bailey: A Louisville Legend and WAKY Remembered for just $25, postage paid; You save $10!
September 11, 2013
Several cuts from WKLO's "Charisma"
jingle package from TM Productions have been added
April 29, 2013
We've posted an audio interview with
former WKLO DJ Bo Brady (Tad Murray)
October 14, 2012
Compliments of Tad Murray, there's a
new WKLO exterior pic on Photo Page 9.
October 4, 2012
Check out the cool 1974 WKLO Gary
Major Control Room shot on Photo Page 9.
August 22, 2012
Thanks to David Stockhoff for the 1962
pic of Paul Cowley at a WKLO Coca-Cola Hi-Fi Club Dance. Find it
July 10, 2012
We've added video from the 2012
here. A DVD version is also available.
June 14, 2012
A great big thank you to WHAS Radio's
Terry Meiners for sharing the aircheck of his
June 8, 2012 interview with
former WKLO DJ (and current CBS Radio President) Dan Mason.
June 7, 2012
Our appreciation to Tad Murray for the
cool 1973 exterior photo of the WKLO storefront studios. Find it
May 9, 2012
Thanks to Mark Steven Williams for the
much longer (by 7 minutes) great-quality 1962 aircheck of
February 29, 2012
Our first airchecks of
Jack Crawford are now
online, as Jack counts down the WKLO Top 100 of 1970. Again, thanks
to Michael Poole for his copies of the original recordings.
February 26, 2012
surveys have been posted (from 1960, '61, '62, '63, '64, '65,
'68 and '69) from the Leonard Yates collection.
February 25, 2012
We have our first WKLO aircheck of
Johnny Locke here, courtesy
February 23, 2012
Thanks to Gary Major for the 1975 pic
of him, Lee Gray and recording artist John Dawson Read, which you
can find near the bottom of Photo Page 9.
February 20, 2012
We've added a pristine-sounding
Bill Bailey aircheck from May
19, 1967, complete with unscoped newscasts and commercials. Thanks
to former WKLO PD Terrell Metheny for sending it our way.
January 14, 2012
The Duke of Louisville has left us.
Bill Bailey passed away this morning at the age of 81:
Bailey Tribute Page
December 2, 2011
Thanks to Bill Love for another great
early-70s shot of him in the WKLO control room. Find it
November 21, 2011
A big 1080 salute to ex-WKLO newsman
Michael Scott (Mike Wascher) for a whole bunch of cool WKLO
airchecks from the 70s, including audio from
Ty Meredith (love "The
Peytonians"), Mike Rivers
and Jonathan Stone. Plus,
there are three super-sized montages of
Michael Scott newscasts. Look
for the light blue backgrounds to quickly spot the newest stuff.
September 27, 2011
With the recent passing of legendary
WKLO DJ Paul Cowley, we invite you to visit (or revisit) our
Paul Cowley Page, as well as his bio on
the DJs Page.
July 18, 2011
Thanks to Tim England for
two new airchecks: Tim's
last WKLO DJ show, plus a April 1979 "Kentuckiana Week In Review"
show with Tim, Angie Murray and Woody Stiles.
February 7, 2011
We've added WKLO
surveys for November 1 and 8, 1968.
December 6, 2010
Thanks to Jason Hines, nephew of the
late Jonathan Stone, for the new pictures on Photo Pages
6 and 8,
additional info for Stone's DJ bio, and
a November 3, 1971 WKLO Music Survey.
Also, our appreciation goes out to
Gary Griffin for sending us the Courier-Journal account of
Lee Gray's death.
November 27, 2010
We found two WKLO jingles (circa 1960)
on a Richard H. Ullman-marketed IMM jingle demo. We're not sure if
they were ever used on the air, but you can hear them
November 13, 2010
Great to hear from "missing in action" 1969-70 WKLO newsman and
DJ John Irwin. Check out his updated listing
September 27, 2010
Thanks to Gary Griffin for the pic of the Montgomery Hogg WKLO
button, which you can see here.
September 24, 2010
Our appreciation to Tim England for the contribution of
two of his 1978 WKLO airchecks.
September 21, 2010
Listen to a scoped aircheck from the last night of Beautiful
Music WCSN (the former WKLO-FM) from 1979
here. Thanks to Ted Fleischaker
for the original recording.
August 24, 2010
We've replaced the low-fi RealVideo clip of the 2005
WAKY-WKLO Reunion with a much better quality version, streamed
April 25, 2010
We've updated Jack Sorbi's bio on the DJ
Page with info on his 2008 passing.
April 8, 2010
Another goodie from Leonard Yates: a pic of a WKLO ashtray he
received in 1963. See it and read the story behind it
April 2, 2010
More information was added to the Toys
for Tots page. Our thanks to Leonard Yates.
February 27, 2010
Read bits from old Billboard magazines about WKLO on our new
Billboard Blasts page.
February 17, 2010
We switched our site search from FreeFind to Google Custom
Search. Now when you use the search box near the top of the main
page, it searches all of our radio tribute sites as once, not just
October 30, 2009
Gary Major spent six years at WKLO in
the 1970s, starting off as a night jock and eventually ending up as
the station's last PD. Listen to our hot-off-the-Ampex two-part
phone interview with Mr. Major
August 23, 2009
Thanks to Bill Love for the WKLO
aircheck of Ron Lake from December 1973. Hear it
July 28, 2009
Nice to hear from 1963/64 WKLO DJ
Larry Baker (today known as Jerry Baker). Check out his updated DJ
July 26, 2009
We've posted some early 1960s
Uncle's Furniture Outlet
commercials, voiced by Joe Holcomb. Our appreciation to Leonard
Yates for sending them our way.
March 13, 2009
Nice to hear from early 70s WKLO DJ
Mark Elliot (Rufus Hurt). Find out what he's been up to since his
1080 days here.
Old "What's New" Items
We invite you to check out our
LKYRadio.com salutes other
classic Louisville radio stations.
On this site you'll find WKLO material
from our personal collection, plus audio, images and information
contributed by former WKLO employees and listeners. Do you have any WKLO
material or information you'd like to make available to this
We'd be honored to
accept additional airchecks, photos, surveys and other pieces of
historic data to share with our visitors.
Thanks to all who've helped
preserve the memory of the "Big 1080"! --
John Quincy, Curator
From Billboard Magazine - July 13, 1959
Another recent format change took place at WKLO, Louisville, Ky.,
which introduced a new "Modern Format" July 4. The new format, an
around-the-clock pop music plan, involved the hiring of new
deejay-program director Barney Groven (formerly with KFDA, Amarillo,
Tex.) and new jocks Jim Dixon, KSYD, Wichita Falls, Tex.; Paul
Crawford, ex-KRGV, Weslaco, Tex.; Jack Grady, formerly with
KSYD, Wichita Falls; and Chuck Irvin, another ex-KFDA, Amarillo,
Tex. staffer. Long-time WKLO jock Paul Cowley will be heard from
7-10 p.m. nightly while other veteran WKLO jocks Tommy Downs and
Jimmy Lloyd split the midnight to 6 a.m. shift.
WKLO-WAKY 2006 Reunion Review Page
"As the manager who hired Mitch
Michael, Bill Hennes, Bill Bailey and many more from 1964-1976, I am
naturally most interested in your efforts to tell the WKLO story,
and very pleased. WKLO was a unique station that combined a great
rock format with some terrific personalities, plus deep interaction
with our younger listeners, and some genuine community service, all
done with a lot of fun." - Ernie Gudridge, Fort Myers,
"...we should not short change
Ernie Gudridge. Peter Drucker says: 'No enterprise can be more
successful than its management...' Ernie was the strong management
that allowed me to spread my wings, and also was able to correct me
when necessary without ever diminishing my enthusiasm...and, he's
the one who had the wisdom and courage to withstand the initial
dismay of staff, sellers, and advertisers when [Bill] Bailey came on
the scene. Few general managers of that day, most of whom
would have been concerned primarily with sales at the expense of
programming, would have understood, been as supportive or had the
wisdom and foresight of Ernie." - Terrell Metheny (Mitch
Michael), Van Buren, Arkansas (WKLO Program Director 1964-1968)
Comments from Allen Bryan (March, 2005)
tenure at WKLO was from 1960-1972, so I worked there before, during,
and after the Terrell Metheny years. My memory of the
competitive situation is different than his and I have a Hooper
rating sheet to substantiate mine. In the pre-TM days, WAKY and WKLO
were 1 and 2 in the market. Although WAKY was consistently number 1
overall, WKLO was strong in the mornings and mid-day. WAKY was the
leader in PM drive and at night. One important fact about WKLO at
night is that we had a very restricted signal pattern that was
imposed at sundown. We probably lost half of our coverage area at
night. Sometimes the signal was hard to get in parts of Jefferson
County. During that pre-Terrell period, all the rest of the radio
stations were tied for last place after WKLO and WAKY and had shares
that are similar to today's market (5-10%).
The architect of the early WKLO period was a guy named Barney
Groven, who was PD when I got there in May of '60, and was still
there when I was drafted and went to the Army in December of '61. In
the 2 years I was gone there was a big turnover including the GM,
Barney, and most of the jocks. Ken Rowland, who had been news
director, was named PD. During that period in '62-'63 they may have lost a lot of
ground with WAKY, but when I came back from the Army in December of
'62, Barney Groven was back, and they were competitive again. (Ken
was a fine News Director, had a long career in local TV news, and
was recently named to the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.)
There's no question that the arrival of Terrell was the key to the
greatest period of success at WKLO in the mid and late '60s. There is
also no question that TM put his stamp on virtually every aspect of
the on-air sound of the station. While he was able to recruit some
very good talent, there was a lot of turnover (mostly guys going to
better gigs), but the success was in the format. As Terrell noted in
his interview, even the great unique style of Bill Bailey was
successful because it was captured within the format, and Bill
learned how to suspend his train of thought in his stories between
records, commercials, newscasts, etc.
One of the greatest conflicts that happened when TM arrived was the
conflict between a news-dominated station and a music-and-format
oriented PD. The evolution of the news product under his PD-ship was
very interesting, and I was on the front line of that evolution as
News Director. I think it helped that I had been a DJ and was much
more interested in sound and format issues than Ken Rowland had
been. I always thought of Ken as being from the Walter Cronkite/Ed Murrow school of broadcast journalism.
Prior to TM, WKLO was a news-dominated station. Our AM and PM drive
times were essentially all news and commercials. Not much music. We
did 2 five-minute newscasts per hour during AM and PM drive. We had no real
limits on the number of commercials. We ran as many as the sales
staff could sell. The sales department also took precedence over
programming in things like remote broadcasts. If they sold it, we
did it -- regardless of how it affected the format.
When TM showed up, his first priority was the stuff between the
newscasts. It took a little longer to start working on the news
on-air sound. I could talk about the changes for hours, but will
save that for later. Lots of changes occurred in the presentation of
the news on the air.
TM memos, I was interested in his references to the news.
It was obviously a high priority, and newsmen had the right of way
when it came to traffic reports and breaking news. News was a vital
element of WKLO's success. I never actually saw those memos at the
time, but I knew what the policy was about the newsman's authority
to get on the air. Another interesting thing about this from a
programming flow point of view is that the DJs had to always be
very quick and flexible in changing course to accommodate the news
guy. Some of them resented it and were pretty ugly about it,
essentially trying to intimidate the newsman to keep him off the
air, but most of them followed the format and were very
For the newsman...especially in drive time with two newscasts an
hour...it was a very busy and hectic routine. This was especially
true in afternoon drive when there were a lot more traffic condition
reports, and a lot more breaking news. The PM drive news shift was
very demanding both physically and mentally. During one period where
I was working on a new style of writing and delivering the news, I
would often go into a PM drive newscast without any typewritten
copy. My stories were mostly handwritten notes with the bare facts
of the story which I would adlib around. Only there was nothing
about it that sounded adlibbed. It was quick paced, and tight.
One of the most unusual experiences I had was when we moved to 307
W. Walnut, Terrell decided that he wanted me, as News Director, to
share an office with him. I think he thought this would help
integrate news and programming. There was some benefit, but
eventually he decided it wasn't working, because he needed the
privacy to talk with jocks, make phone calls, etc. So we eventually
During the years I was with WKLO, I started as the 6p-12m newsman,
moved to doing afternoon drive news and the 9a-12n DJ show at the same
time, then to nighttime teen DJ, then back to news, and then I was appointed
News Director. I worked morning drive doing news with Bill Bailey for
a couple of years, then went off the air as Sales Marketing Manager, then
a dual role as Manager of News and Information which included the
news department. I finally left in December of 1973 to go to work
for the Mayor of Louisville. I never went back to radio after that.
though it was 30-40 years ago, it was still probably one of the most
interesting and exciting times of my life...and I was young enough to
enjoy it. However I always approached my work as a
professional....not as a kid in a candy store...because my dad had been
in radio all of my life, and this was a profession, not a game.
It has been great in the past few years to reestablish contact with
some of the guys I worked with and to realize that we all agree how
special the WKLO experience was.
totally agree with what Terrell Metheny wrote about Ernie
Gudridge...he was by far the best boss I ever worked for (other than
my Dad) anywhere in any situation in my 50 years in the workplace.
He gave me many opportunities to do different things at WKLO, and
was always supportive and at the same time he demanded excellence.
'KLO Comments from the late Mike Rivers (August 14, 2003)
in the early to mid 70's, we sped up the tables at WKLO, Louisville
by 4% (exactly a half-tone). The turntables we used didn't have a
pitch control, so we had to manually lift the platters off and put a
precisely measured length of 1/4" splicing tape around the 45 rpm
section of the turntable capstan. This increased the size of that
part of the capstan just enough to pitch it up 4%. I also have
perfect pitch, so this little assignment was left to me. I'd have to
replace the capstan tape about once a month.
The one song I remember really benefiting from this treatment was
"Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie Flu" - at normal speed it
seem to really drag. Up 4% and it cooked.
Our chief competition, WAKY never did speed theirs up, but I knew
some of their staff and they always complained about how the music
sounded "so much better" on our station than on theirs. I don't
think they had anyone over there with ears keen enough to figure out
what we were doing. We also varisped-up our jingles by 4% as well,
so there wouldn't be a pitch-clash.
purchased The Last Contest from Jack McCoy of KCBQ in San Diego.
KCBQ was extremely well-known for, among other things, "the shotgun
jingle" which TM distilled from this package. So when we culled our
OWN shotgun out of the package and used it against WAKY, THAT was
what stirred the pot. Of course, there wasn't anything TM or anyone
else could do about it - we'd BOUGHT the package back in its heyday.
BTW, you'll remember that WKLO ran a promotion against The Last
Contest - and won the ratings period - whereby we gave away cheesy
little $2.00-a-pop plastic chess sets and Bobby Fischer paperback
books on chess vs. all the prize packages they were "offering." But
Willie Hennes had me cook up a bunch of Jack McCoy-style
promos that were better than the prizes themselves - which
effectively blurred the waters enough that our superior air staff
was able to win the book for us.
Of course, The Last Contest was a success for WAKY in that it was
actually a self-liquidating merchandising promotion whereby tons of
sponsors paid to be a part of it and only one had to kick in an
actual prize, since the contest had only one winner at the end. WAKY
made money on it, but we won the war. Hennes played that one
Sheesh. If only it could be so much fun today.
Mike Rivers (Real Name: Ralph W. Wright, Jr.) passed away September
About the Curator
Even though he was born 15
years earlier, Lexington, Kentucky native John Quincy [Real
Ted Tatman] didn't really
discover Top 40 radio until he smuggled in a transistor radio to a
church camp outside of Louisville in the summer of 1970. After a few
hours of listening to the legendary
main competition) in his dorm room, he caught
the radio fever. Upon his return to Lexington and a visit to local
stations to find out how radio stations really performed that on-air
magic, he was hooked.
Shortly thereafter a high school
him about a Junior Achievement program being sponsored by WVLK-AM.
Every Wednesday night WVLK would turn over a half hour of their
programming to high school kids, who would sell, operate, and
program it. Quincy made sure he was one of the ones chosen to be one
of the teen DJs.
Between his junior and senior year
of high school, Quincy scored a summer job
working seven days a week at WBGR AM & FM in Paris, Kentucky. Most
of the time was spent running the board for Cincinnati Reds baseball games, but for
part of each shift he got to play DJ. While it was country music
(which was especially bad in the early '70s), it was radio. From
that point, Quincy never looked back.
There were stints in other Lexington area radio stations (WEKY,
WAXU, WCBR, WKDJ, and WBLG) before Quincy got the call in 1979 to
escape Lexington's awful winters and work in sunny Savannah, Georgia
(WKBX and WZAT). Then in 1981, Quincy moved up the coast to
Charleston, South Carolina to take on PM drive duties at rock
station WSSX. Later Charleston
gigs included AC WXTC (where he spent nearly 10 years as PD), All
70s WJUK, Country WBUB, Oldies WXLY, News-Talk WTMA, and Country
to Tom Konard's
Aircheck Factory service might remember Quincy
as one of the narrators of "Around The Dial" and various profiles.
Today Quincy is the
Program Director at
in Charleston. Along with his radio work, he does
DJ gigs plus creates and maintains Web sites including tribute
sites to Charleston radio stations
WOKE, as well as pre-1990s
Lexington, Kentucky radio.
LKYRadio.com (Louisville and Lexington Radio Tribute
Charleston Tribute Site
WQAM, Miami Tribute Site
Charleston Tribute Site