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.