The Courier-Journal - Tuesday, May 14, 1991
WDJX is giving up on its
Tom Dorsey - TV-Radio Critic
WDJX is tossing in the towel on its AM-1080 outlet.
The station, the home of WKLO radio from 1948-1979, will rent out its
1080 dial position to WXLN, a Christian broadcast station. The new
operators eventually want to convert the station to religious talk
News of the deal comes as the winter Arbitron ratings show that WDJX-AM,
which simulcasts its FM sister station's signal, has fallen to 18th
place in the rankings. It has less than 1 percent of the audience.
Contractual details are still to be worked out, but Debra Kaiser, XLN
general manager, said that the transfer could take place June 1 if
everything goes right. WDJX FM-99.7 will remain unchanged.
"We're just glad somebody is finally going to be able to make some use
of that strong AM signal," said Bill Wells, DJX general manager. The
deal shows how tough it has become for AM stations to survive.
Few people in radio are surprised that DJX is giving up its AM
affiliate. Some, however, are disappointed or angry - such as WHAS
morning personality Wayne Perkey and program director Skip Essick. They
say many stations have neglected their AM outlets by making them echoes
of their FM stations. That's a certain path to oblivion, said Perkey,
who owns WHIR-AM and WMGE-FM in Danville, Kentucky.
Industry critics also charge that government deregulation of the 1980s
allowed people to buy stations one week and sell them the next for a
Stations saddled with huge takeover debt had no money left for
programming. Critics say the Federal Communications Commission's
procrastination in approving stereo for AM also hurt.
"There's one big AM dog left in every city, and WHAS is it in
Louisville," said Wells, who indicated the rest of the AM outlets are
scrambling after the leftover scraps. The most recent ratings appear to
back him up.
WHAS radio rose to No. 1 in the winter Arbitron survey and became the
most-listened-to station in town, with more than 17 percent of the
audience over 12 years old.
WLOU was the only other AM outlet in the 10 top stations. The six
lowest-rated outlets were all on the AM band. WHAS remains a leader
because it offers the only 50,000-watt, clear-channel
news-information-sports station in town. Strong personalities, like
Perkey and Terry Meiners, cement the station's success.
Nor is WHAS program director Essick worried about the large number of
plus-50 listeners the station attracts. He points out WHAS is also No. 2
in the 25-54 age group. WAMZ is first in the 25-54 age category,
followed by WHAS, VEZ, RKA and QMF.
WAVG, another AM station that mainly plays hit tunes from the 1940s,
'50s and '60s, showed a significant audience jump, probably boosted by
some University of Kentucky basketball broadcasts. The WAVG gains also
came after WLSY, which also broadcast a soft-music format, went off the
One of AM radio's best hopes may lie in talk radio shows such as the
ones WWKY has recently acquired. "We've sold out (advertising) in midday
with 'The Rush Limbaugh Show' for the first time anybody can remember,"
said Frank Iorio, general manager.
The station, which now has a 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. talk block Monday through
Fridays, is negotiating for two other discussion programs. But Iorio
notes that the talk lineup costs more than music and needs more
advertising and listener support to make it
WWKY is also on the verge of returning TalkNet radio to Louisville. The
hang-up is over the nights the station would have to pre-empt "TalkNet"
for baseball games under a previous commitment.
The ratings show country-music station WAMZ again trading first place
with its sister station, WHAS. WQMF shot up sharply, undoubtedly helped
by the demise of rock competitor WLRS.
LRS, once a Louisville powerhouse that now calls itself MIX-102, took a
nose dive as it tried to compete with WVEZ, DJX and KISS (WZKS) for the
younger listener with a contemporary hits format.
WVEZ is clearly winning that battle, but WGZB has taken a bite too. DJX
has slipped in the 12-years-old-and-up category but still does well with
its 18- to 34-year-old women target audience, Wells said.
The rest of the stations' shares of the audience remained about the
same, moving up or down less than 1 percent.
The 12-year-old and up listener breakdown shows:
WDJX-AM planning a
old DJs to mark its demise
Tom Dorsey - TV-Radio Critic
The Courier-Journal - Wednesday, June 19, 1991
Those were the days my friend; they thought they'd never end; but they
are about to.
The end for WDJX-AM will arrive Sunday when its 1080 spot on the dial
will be turned over to WXLN, which will begin a new era with Christian
radio the next day.
Before the microphones go silent, the people who worked there over the
years are going to throw one big, bad bash this weekend.
The DJX-XLN lease-transfer arrangement winds up almost 43 years of pop
and country music going back to November 1948, when WKLO went on the
air. It would later become WKJJ and WCII before winding up as WDJX.
Bill Wells, WDJX general manager, wanted to transform what might have
been a wake into a nostalgic celebration. Listeners can join the
time-warp trek with the people who have been heard over the years at
1080 on the dial. A marathon reunion will run from 6 a.m. Friday until
"We want them to do their thing and just have a lot of fun before the
memories fade," Wells said.
They plan to talk a lot, cry a little and play oldies that really are
old before the lights go out.
Bob Cline, alias J.R. Kennedy (1974-83) is one of the organizers. He's
trying to talk Bill Bailey, who works for WVLK in Lexington, into
joining the stroll down memory lane.
"He's promised to send us a taped greeting, but we're still hoping
he'll be on live," says Cline. Cline also hopes to get Foster Brooks,
who once did a shift on KLO, to drop by.
The familiarity of other names will depend on the listener's age. They
include Big Bill Love, who called himself Brother Love on his show in
the 1970s. Carl Truman Wiglesworth, now with a station in San Antonio,
Texas, also will be here. "Remember, no matter what anybody calls you
it will never be worse than Carl Truman Wiglesworth," he always
reminded his audience.
Mighty Mitch Michael, who was Terrell Metheny off the air, is on the
reunion roster too. He's remembered as the first program director ever
to beat the invincible WAKY in the ratings.
Paul Cowley, who initiated the Hi-Fi Club (1958-1964), will call in,
and so will Lee Gray, who worked three stints at the station over the
Tad Murray, who was Bo Brady behind the microphone, will be heard
from, and so will Bill Hennes, now a station manager in Battle Creek,
Michigan. Jimmy Osborne, who played country music on the station in
the 1950s, will be on hand. Count on Bob Ryan, the Smiling Irishman,
"These guys were legends in their own time, and there are lots of
people out there with fond memories of their heydays on that station,"