This page updated Saturday, October 18, 2014

 

 
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 visiting!


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What's New

October 18, 2014

Thanks to Mark Strauss submitting two early 1976 WKLO airchecks of him as "Mark Sebastian". Find them here.

July 2, 2014

Another WKLO legend has left the building. Big 1080 DJ and PD Carl Truman Wiglesworth passed away July 1. Listen to CTW WKLO airchecks here.

June 8, 2014

Sorry to hear of the passing of early '70s WKLO DJ Chuck Brady (Jim Felton). Remember how Chuck sounded on "The Big 1080" here.

December 25, 2013

Added a 2013 photo of four WKLO jocks from the 1970s here.

September 11, 2013

Several cuts from WKLO's "Charisma" jingle package from TM Productions have been added here.

April 29, 2013

We've posted an audio interview with former WKLO DJ Bo Brady (Tad Murray) here.

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 here.

July 10, 2012

We've added video from the 2012 WAKY-WKLO Reunion 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 here.

May 9, 2012

Thanks to Mark Steven Williams for the much longer (by 7 minutes) great-quality 1962 aircheck of Bob Lyons.

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

More WKLO 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 Michael Poole.

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: Bill 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 here.

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 Chuck Brady, Mark Elliott, Lee Gray, Bill Love, Dan Mason, 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 here.

November 13, 2010

Great to hear from "missing in action" 1969-70 WKLO newsman and DJ John Irwin. Check out his updated listing here.

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 from YouTube.

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 here.

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 this one.

Old "What's New" Items


We invite you to check out our LKYRadio.com as well!

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 project? Please contact us. 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, Florida

"...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)

'KLO Comments from Allen Bryan (March, 2005)

My 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.

Regarding the 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 accommodating.

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 split.


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.

Even 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.

I 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)

Back 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.

WAKY 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 beautifully!

Sheesh. If only it could be so much fun today.

Mike Rivers (Real Name: Ralph W. Wright, Jr.) passed away September 13, 2004.

About the Curator

Even though he was born 15 years earlier, Lexington, Kentucky native John Quincy [Real name: 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 WAKY (WKLO's 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 teacher told 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 WNKT. Subscribers 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 News-Talker WTMA in Charleston. Along with his radio work, he does regular mobile DJ gigs plus creates and maintains Web sites including tribute sites to Charleston radio stations WTMA and WOKE, as well as pre-1990s Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky radio

Cool Links

WAKY, Louisville Tribute Site
LKYRadio.com (Louisville and Lexington Radio Tribute Site)
WCSC, Charleston Tribute Site
WOKE, Charleston Tribute Site
WQAM, Miami Tribute Site
WTMA, Charleston Tribute Site