Voices of Chattanooga: 20 years of radio (1962-82) in 7 minutes!

What you will see and hear below is a project that has been rolling around in my head for years.  Long before Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and this blog, I had collected radio airchecks from Chattanooga radio stations.  For a few decades my reel-to-reel tapes and cassettes sat on the shelves of my den, rarely touched.  I had recorded a few of my shows, and those from competing stations while I worked in radio in the 70s and 80s.  Somewhere around 2000, I started transferring them to compact discs as a way of extending their life.

Once I figured out a way to put them online, and share them with you, I started soliciting old tapes from like-minded radio fans.  A gentleman named Steve Farrington from Atlanta was kind enough to send me some invaluable radio airchecks from WFLI and WMOC in the early 1960s.  He has since passed away, but I’ll always be indebted to him.  When I was gathering material for my Chattanooga Radio & Television book, I was mostly interested in photographs, but picked up a few more tapes along the way.  Since that time, friends like Ben Cagle, Johnny Eagle, Rick Sharpe, Greg Barman, Kevin Wheeler, Bob Todd, Betty Benns, Earl Freudenberg, Dan Bowden and Ron Brandon (to name a few) have unearthed some long-hidden treasures on tape.

Search my YouTube channel, and you’ll find my radio station tributes to WFLI, WGOW, WMOC and KZ-106.  I have more material from these stations than the others.  I also have the earliest known recorded Chattanooga broadcast, from WDOD’s Chuck Simpson in 1940.  But I also had some other bits and pieces from stations like WDEF, WDXB, WAGC, WDOD, and clips I received after posting the earlier tributes.  I sure hated to leave those on the shelf.

So here’s a 7-minute trip back into time, mostly 1962-1982 that includes station top-of-the-hour IDs and jingles.  They’re in no particular order.  I did that on purpose.  It’s a mixed bag, and you never know what’s coming up next.  It includes my all-time favorite Chattanooga radio ID, voiced by Bill Nash at WDXB. It’s the one with a train approaching, and it’s in the first minute.

Although there are quite a few stations and personalities represented here, there are also many that are missing.  I’m only able to post the items I have in my possession.  Hopefully we can find more past radio treasures in the years to come, and preserve them too.

For now, enjoy a trip back into time: when radio stations were locally owned, and employed live announcers around the clock, seven days a week.  Those days are long gone, but hearing a few snippets from those days puts a smile on my face.  I hope it does the same for you.

About David Carroll

David Carroll is a longtime Chattanooga radio and TV broadcaster, and has anchored the evening news on WRCB-TV since 1987. He is the author of "Chattanooga Radio & Television" published by Arcadia.

19 thoughts on “Voices of Chattanooga: 20 years of radio (1962-82) in 7 minutes!

  1. Duane Broom

    David, loved the collection. Brings back memories of carrying around those little transistor radios and the “carry on your shoulder” boom boxes. If you can help me remember the name: my dad moved us to Orlando in the summer of 1965 and on my first day there, I turned on the radio and there was a DJ that had been on either WFLI or WGOW here in Chattanooga just before I left. I have no recollection of who that was. Thanks for memories.

  2. Susan Morrison

    It took years for me to forgive my parents for building a brand new house so far out in the country that I couldn’t listen to WFLI any more ’cause I couldn’t get a signal! The “country” area is well know now as Ooltewah! What great memories were stirred up while listening, thank you so much for posting the familiar sounds of yesteryear!

  3. Scott Miller

    Great compilation! The one thing I noticed was the sense of excitement in these breaks. You are compelled to listen or you might miss something! The Jocks sounded like they were having a blast. Isn’t that why we got into radio in the first place? Well, that and to meet some girls…..

    Scott Miller
    40 years behind the mic

  4. Andrew

    What a great visit to my past radio listening pleasures! I waited for it…and there it was — “Jet Fli, WFLI, now on we go…” Tommy Jett, you, Charlie, Gene Lovin, Luther, and even Dale and Gary! And the “doubled-u” pronunciation of “W”…Thanks David!

  5. rick wolfe

    I have lived here my entire life ( 51 & half yrs.) & it brings back great memories of days long gone. thanks Mr. Carroll for posting this

  6. Rich Phillips

    Hey Rock n Roll Kid,Thanks for the memories!Great job putting it all together.I have alway’s enjoyed working with a you!A real pro with a great since of humor. Rich

  7. Kent Teffeteller

    Back when Chattanooga radio was live, local, exciting and at it’s very finest. Every station was filled with personality, awesome music of varying kinds, and each station was unique in the presentation and style, and it’s never been the same since Big Radio took over. Thanks for that stroll down memory lane.

  8. Charlie Wilson

    Thanks David. Did I miss it, or was there a glimpse of Luther? I remember having a meeting with you once at the TV station, and I mistakenly went to the one on Broad Street. I told you I went there because I heard that you would be taking Luther’s place when he retired. You told me that you had started that rumor.

    When I came here the 2nd time in early 1974, I remember listening to Gary Mac. Was that on WDXB 1490? When I lived in Lanett, AL the only radio station for awhile was on 1490.

  9. Jack

    It was so great to find this & get to hear all of this again and remember! You know it was Gary Mac at WDXB and Mike “machine gun” Green at WFLI who taught me how to be a disc Jockey! It was so great to see you and the guys last year at WFLI David! I hope to visit again soon!
    Jack Roland

  10. Tanna Davis

    Thank you David ….It was a wonderful trip down memory lane ..I must admit it brought a tear to my eyes !! Your book was great but this even better …Excellent !


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