WPKO building May 6, 2016
photo by Tyrone hemry
WPKO 1955 Rate Card
Mark Bayes replaced Phil as the morning man at WPKO. Mark went on to work for the Post Office. Mark passed away in his sleep December 5, 2010.
Mark Edward Bayes, beloved father, brother, grandfather and friend went to be with his best friend Jesus on Sunday, December 5th, 2010. Mark was born on January 1st, 1956, the son of the late Francis and Peggy Smith Bayes. He joined a circle of 3 big sisters who were amazed and delighted at this very "different" addition to their family. Another sister would complete the family four years after Mark's arrival, and the five siblings formed a tight loving circle throughout Mark's entire life. Mark delighted in making people laugh. He was a master yarn spinner and prankster. Starting in his middle school years and continuing through much of his adult life, he acted and directed in countless plays. He was the author and star of the play "Willy's Wishes," which was received to great success in our area. He was a 1974 graduate from Waverly High School of which he was Vice President. Mark was a retired rural mail carrier with many years of service out of the Chillicothe Post Office. His survivors include his wife Robyn (Brown) Bayes of Waverly, who he married June 1, 1975; their daughter Jennifer Bayes of Waverly; his two beloved grandchildren, Alexa Burdick and Cole Edward Maxson, both of Waverly; four sisters, Mrs. Ramona (Steve) Woods, Mrs. Ruby (Les) Neufarth; Miss Robyn Bayes, all of Waverly, and his baby sister Mrs. Tami (Rick) Hunt of Portsmouth. Also surviving are 7 nephews and 2 nieces and several great nephews and great nieces, along with many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Funeral services will be at 1:00 PM on Thursday, December 9, 2010, at the Botkin Funeral Home in Waverly, with ministers Carl Dunn and Dale Reed officiating. Burial will follow in Waverly's Evergreen Union Cemetery. Friends may call from 5:00 to 8:00 PM on Wednesday at the funeral home.
WIBO studio racks of tape recorders, monitors and remote control equipment.
WPKO building May 6, 2016
photo by Tyrone hemry
WIBO Tyrone & Gary Bear at the fair 1975
WPKO building May 6, 2016
photo by Tyrone hemry
July 1, 1979 the station was acquired by Crystal Communications Corp. owned by Gerald E. Davis. He then changed the call letters to WXIC and some time later was able to get the frequency changed to 660 KHz and do away with the directional pattern. A station goes a lot further at the lower end of the AM band. Example 5000 Watt 610 WTVN, Columbus covers all of Ohio and can even be heard into some of the surrounding states where as WMPO, Middleport, Ohio a 5000 Watt station on 1390 is good for about 40 miles or so. The only draw back to the frequency change was that WXIC has to wait to local sunrise to sign on but gained a vastly larger coverage area. He changed the FM call letters of WIBO to WXIZ 10 September 1979. Gerald added WXZQ on 101.1 MHz, with 6000 Watts ERP, 27 September 1996, licensed to Piketon, Ohio under the corporate name Piketon Communications. The Call letters WPKO are now in use by an FM station in Bellefontaine, Ohio on 98.3 MHz
A mention of some of the people who worked at WPKO & WIBO during the 1970s.
Bob Roof who did sales and sports when I came in 1970. I remember one night during a close Waverly tournament game at Dayton ,that we were broadcasting, our color man said, "Bob is so excited he is standing on the table." Bob was highly involved in raising money for a kidney transplant for a Jeff Potter. Bob moved on to WSPD in Toledo. The last I heard of him was in the latter 70's, he was working at a station in Wilkes Barre, PA.
Charlie Keen, as I recall while still a high school student at the time, worked the late afternoon shift as an announcer till sign off and I was the engineer on duty as he did not have a First Class license. After leaving WPKO he did some work for WNCI in Columbus.
Gary Baer worked as announcer at WIBO for several years and moved on to work at Ware Ever till they closed. He then went to work at WCHI for awhile and then bought it. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep up the payments and lost it. He passed away several years ago.
Jim Patterson worked as announcer for several years. A few years ago my daughter had Jim as a teacher for one of the computer classes she took at Shawnee.
Bob Garlits came to us in 1976 after he served 10 years in the Air Force. He worked as a news reporter, morning DJ on WIBO and in sales.. After about 6 months he concluded the military had more to offer if he got another 10 years in to get his pension.
Tom Taylor was an announcer at WPKO and held a First Class Radio Telephone FCC license. He was what we called a combo man because he had the First Class license so that he could also fill the requirement of having a engineer on duty. Phil Grisso was another combo man. It was typical for an announcer to take a few weeks course to get an FCC First Class license. These schools mainly just taught the answers to the FCC test. Phil told me he got the exact test that he had been studying and deliberately missed a few answers because he was afraid they would call him up and wonder how he got a perfect score. Phil married a girl from Circleville and eventually took a job there as a car salesman.
Some of the items we would give to our advertisers during the 70's
According to a Chillicothe Gazette story dated 10 June 2017 Dan Ramey, a former Waverly station alumnus, who for many years did a morning show on WBEX was to be replaced on the morning show by Joel Riley of WTVN as iHartMedia owner of the Chillicothe stations continues to go on cutting cost trying to stave off bankruptcy. Fortunately looks like Dan will still be at the station with other duties. Less fortunate last year was Mike Smith, another alumnus of WIBO, was cut from WBEX when it was the Dan & Mike in the morning show in a previous cost cutting mode. Dan said, "Gerry Davis gave me my start. First night on the air was on my 18th birthday in 1980. Phil Swayne was the best man at my wedding (he passed away two years ago this September." 2017
Linda Phillips-Bly Linda Brewster(me) at WBEX in Waverly Ohio.
Linda Phillips-Bly, "I just remember getting out of school in Mr. Terry's class. He had a radio in the class room and the everyone listened in and sent requests for songs.
The Waverly Watchman. I (Linda Phillips-Bly was appearing there with my Uncle Jim Hayes and Vic Newton. There were so many people there.
Part time WPKO announcer Sandra Coy, filled in when ever needed and during some bad snows worked the whole day.
Around 1961 & 62 a group know as the Scioto Entertainers had a Saturday afternoon program playing Country Music. The group included Pete Stulley MC & sang (Pete passed away 29 April 2010), Bill Wiseman on lead guitar, Shirley Bates at the piano, Dale Wiseman played base, And Carol Stulley, Pete's daughter, sang. This group faded away to be followed by Bill Wiseman & the Variety Boys in the late 60's playing Bluegrass music. The group included Autis Maynard on guitar, Don Jesse at the Fiddle, Bill Wiseman on Banjo, and Larry Flower guitar and sang. (This information courtesy of Bill Wiseman. He also told me that in the late 50s WBEX, Chillicothe, had a remote studio that was located above what is now Dixon Jewelers or the Prussia Valley Dulcimer Music Store. He said you went up the stairs that are between the two but can't remember which way you turned at the top.)
28 Jun 1979 The News Watchman
Linda Phillips-Bly, "I was also in Lew's magic act That's me with my head"
24 January 1971
March 1971 WIBO FM was put on the air at 100.9 MHz with a power of 3000 Watts ERP just in time to carry some of the final Waverly tournament games that year. I recall we had our fingers crossed that we would get permission form the FCC to start commercial broadcasting in time for the tournament games. The studios for WIBO were located at 118 East Second street in what is now Inside Out office across the alley from the Sheriffs office. The transmitter site is up in Ross County on divide hill. WIBO now WXIZ is the oldest FM station to be broadcasting in stereo in south central Ohio. WPAY FM had had stereo earlier but had turned off there stereo and was not using it. The call letters WIBO were originally used at a Chicago station and had been chosen by Walter. As of 3 August 2007 the WIBO call letters are not in use by any AM or FM station.
Janie Osborn reports, “I worked at WPKO, substituting for a regular employee, for a couple of months in 1964 before I graduated from WHS. I wrote copy for the news broadcast. Most fun job I ever had.”
Susie Speraw Rodmaker Thomas supplied this information, “Our Dad had a Saturday morning show there that was broadcast from the Sugar & Spice Restaurant when I was about 5 or 6 then from Lawson's”
From the Broadcast Yearbook
Bruce Harrell At WBEX on Pohlman Road, Chillicothe
Norman Gene James
Please email additions or corrections to email@example.com.
Or mail to Waverly City Guide, 455 Hay Hollow Road, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
Owl Creek Ramblers Band
Back row left to right: Marty Eblin, Clarence Minnix and front left to Right: Roy Broughton and Virgil Drummond
photo by William Stubbs curtsey of Jim Henry collection
Vic Newton in 1939 at his home playing a 1936 guitar
photo curtsey of Bill Wiseman
Here is a couple music groups with some Pike county people in the groups
Vic Newton upstairs in the WBEX studio in 1952
photo curtsey of Bill Wiseman
Band playing on the street in front of the upstairs WBEX remote studio which was above Hollberg Jewelry (present day Dixon Jewelry Store) in 1952
photo curtsey of Bill Wiseman
WXIC, WXIZ, and WXZQ building on Rt. 220 West taken 30 Aug. 2008
photo by Tyrone Hemry
Memories of WIBO by Bruce Harrell
I worked at WIBO and a bit at WPKO while on a break from Ohio University between 1976 and 1978 as "Uncle Bruco", running what I called the "Polyunsaturated radio show." My indirect association with WIBO/WPKO preceded my stint at the stations and continued at least until some point in 1982 when the stations were known as WXIC/WXIZ. I maintained a presence in Waverly as recently as 1997 when I worked in the circulation department of the Chillicothe Gazette.
My first contacts with the Waverly radio stations came in 1972.spacerun: was
working as a camera operator for TELCOM channel 2 in Chillicothe when the Scioto
Society was formed. In the spring of 1972, all of the radio stations in Ross and Pike counties teamed together for a telethon to raise money to build the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheater. Dave Eshelman was part of that effort. I recall him doing some announcing duties with his hand cupped over his ear in the same manner I had seen Gary Owens doing on a few years earlier. I later talked with Mr. Eshelman at his office at the old WPKO studios on Ohio 104… one of many General Managers in Southern Ohio I had contact with over the next 8 years or so. It may be interesting to note that WIBO alumni Joe Murray later went on to become public relations director for the outdoor drama.
I went to work in radio at WBEX, Chillicothe for the first time in December, 1972.One of my fellow board operators was Gary Baer who was working at the same time at WPKO.
I believe that it was Gary who pointed me in the direction of WIBO in the summer of 1976. As it turned out, I maintained a semi-close relationship with him for a number of years. He went to one of the Cincinnati stations (WCKY ?) for a short while, returning to Waverly before returning to Chillicothe to run and later lease WCHI before Bill Burchett pulled the plug. He later ended up driving a truck for a short while before his weight caught up with him. He passed presumably due to complications related to diabetes.
Gary was always easy going which seemed to be the order of the day at WIBO during my tenure there. The humor was always low key and clean. One thing he did do was to protect us from ourselves by scratching out the "B" sides of the records we procured for airplay. He quite literally took a nail and ruined the "B" sides so that they couldn’t be played. (Apparently, one of us had a nasty habit of slapping the "B" sides on the station turntables and playing them.)
I came to WIBO in the summer of 1976 with the idea of being able to sell radio time.
It became apparent to me within a month that I was not comfortable with the assignment and was moved to an on-air position where I stayed until I left. There was a short time in the winter of 1977 when I worked for WBEX, but that situation didn’t pan out, so I went back to WIBO until December, 1978.
In the spring of 1978, I resumed taking classes at Ohio University in Athens. My day was somewhat hectic, driving from where I lived in Chillicothe to Athens for a day of classes, then across the Appalachian Highway to Waverly to WIBO for my on-air shift starting at 6pm. I recall being watched, so to speak, by the Pike County Sheriff’s department. One evening, one of the deputies came knocking at the door to the radio station. He informed me that he had clocked me on radar doing 85 in a 55 zone as I was passing Beaver that afternoon, then informing me that since I seemed to be late for my shift, he would let the matter pass.
I eventually left WIBO to pursue what remained of my time at Ohio University, working in Parkersburg, West Virginia, graduating in August of 1979.
In the last months of working at WIBO, there was a bit of uproar due to the fact that the station was up for sale.Walter Bennett came down from Chicago to visit the place.I was on the air at the time of his visit.I recall him coming into the studio and asking what I was doing at the moment… I told him that I was in the process of making him money while starting a commercial. He later called from the airport in Columbus asking about his hat. Sure enough, he had left it in the studio. We spent a few minutes making certain that his hat would be mailed to him in Chicago Several suitors came to view the station that summer… the sale of the station was announced to the staff on my last day at WIBO.
A few things need to be mentioned in regards to WIBO. For one, it is my understanding that the call letters originally belonged to what was then known as Chicago radio station WIND. Apparently, Mr. Bennett’s first job in radio was at WIBO/WIND. It was his decision as to the call letters of the Waverly radio station. It should also be noted that WIBO was the first radio station in the Pike/Ross county area to broadcast in stereo. WIBO was part of the ABC Contemporary Network during the time that I worked there. The station aired the Paul Harvey News on weekdays…actually becoming a contributor at one point when a fellow named Jack Bartley was in the Sundry Store when it was robbed. The thief superglued everyone’s hands to a counter before making the getaway, therefore gaining attention from Mr. Harvey due to the uniqueness of the theft! Jack, by the way, worked for the station at some point after I had left… he had also worked for a period of time for WBEX-FM (before it became WKKJ).
The owners of the stations after Mr. Bennett were quite amenable to this soul. I recall making it a point to visit the stations several times while passing through in the mid ‘80s. I was hit with a feeling of déjà-vu on the occasion of one of my last visits – at the new studios for WPKO (WXIC) was a Gates "Yard" broadcast mixing board… the very same mixing board which I had used when I was working for WBEX ten years earlier! It had been purchased, refurbished and sold to WXIC at some point in the early ‘80s.
All in all, the experience I had during my short tenure at WIBO was one I recall fondly to this day. Although I am a thousand miles removed from Waverly, I do make it up that way from time to time. Don’t take any nickel nickels and see you out there!
Rick now works for Daywind records and lives in Nashville area.
News and information from former employees.
Betty Gildow writes: "Don Kinker was at the radio station when I was there but no one seems to know what happened to him. I believe he was an engineer. Warren Cooper was owner or part owner and he has since passed away. Not sure who was the secretary that trained me. After me was Bea Hawhee, wife of Coach Hawhee, somewhere after that was Vivian Howerton, now Adams. We must not forget to mention Clay Booth, one of my favorites. His radio name was Hal Clay. He has been dead for quite a long time now. We visited them down at Cherokee, NC sometime after he retired. He was an older man. He was a DJ and played music I believe in the afternoon sometime." "Another DJ during my time at WPKO was Donald Dick. He came down from Chillicothe. He was a wonderful person and played in an orchestra in and around Chillicothe. He also has gone on to his reward. Not sure how much longer he worked at the station."
Ken Cardew has added the following, "It was neat to see the pictures of the building as I knew it. Also a shame to see it in such disrepair. I was hired by Art "Layne" Showalter in October of 1954. Art has since passed away. I had been "let go" at WBEX in Chillicothe where I had worked during the Summer of 1954. WBEX was my first radio job after finishing school. I consider WPKO my first real job because along with the Army, I was affiliated with WPKO for five years. I worked the "Up And Atom" morning show, some programming mid-morning till after the noon news and farm reports. "Ken Comes Calling" followed the Country Show at 2:30. Dave Winslow was the First Class Engineer on duty. He later left to open a station in Hillsboro (WSRW). I was drafted into the Army in December 1955. After taking basic training, they trained me in Transportation, but when I got to Korea, I transferred to Radio Broadcasting. I was a "disc-jockey" in Pusan for 18 months and then returned to WPKO in December 1957. I took over as Program Director after Art Layne left when I got back from the Army. I was there until December 1959. During that time
Warren Cooper, one of the first owners secured a guard house from the Goodyear plant and had it put behind the stands at Waverly High School. From there I broadcast by tape delay many of the "Tigers" football games. I don't remember the year, but I noted on the Waverly Website pictures of flood waters around the station. There was a flood while I was there and I remember going out to the station in a boat to survey the damage. The water was inside the building, but we had moved much of the equipment, including the transmitters to higher places in the building. Some of the other people who were connected to the station was Bob Cordray and his wife who did a morning "Coffee Klatch" program. They also opened a restaurant later. I also remember the Ross Brothers who had a Sunday afternoon Country Gospel Program. As for secretaries, I remember Betty Gildow, Vivian Howerton, now Adams and yes, Bea Hawhee. I can't remember the order. When I left WPKO I went south to Portsmouth where I worked at WNXT from January 1960 till November 1960. From there I came to Indiana where I have been since. I had stops in Columbus, North Vernon and here in Lafayette and also in Frankfort. Other jobs that I have held include Newspaper Circulation, Material Handler in the Peter Paul warehouse in Frankfort and finally Bus Driver here in Lafayette. When I had a detached retina in my right eye, I was officially retired in February 1999, which brings us to where I am currently." "As I continue to mull over the events while I was in Waverly. There was a part-timer by the name of Larry Barker. He was a high schooler who worked some while he was in school and a little while after. He went on to become a college professor and taught here in West Lafayette at Purdue for a short time." "I just remembered the name of the fellow who took over when I went to the Army. That was Clay Booth."
Frank Eugene Swearingen worked for a short while for Crystal Communications Corp., shortly after Jerry Davis purchased the station, died 6:15 a.m. 9 August 2007. He was a veteran of the Korean War, having served in the Air Force. Frank was the News Anchor for the Waverly City News Channel at the time of his death.
Larry Roberts, originally from the Chillicothe area, his dad owned a repair TV shop there, wrote that he worked for a short time in 1960. He writes: "Don (Pfeifer) had an afternoon show, daily Monday thru Friday, about an hour on WPKO where he played gospel music. That would have been in the summer of 1960. He operated his own control room console and spun the records and talked in between. What a nice man he was." Don passed away November 25, 2007 at 4:15 p.m. He is the father of John & Candy Pfeifer of the gospel singing group The Pfeifers. Larry also adds, "One day as I was driving to work, I was listening to Don on the air, music was played and he was talking on the phone, not knowing his mic was open. I kept my fingers crossed hoping he wouldn't say something that might ruin his career." Larry also added an interesting side light about Arrowood Jewelers, that just recently closed. "I remember another fine gentlemen who owned a jewelry store, Arrows or Arrowhead on some corner in downtown Waverly. I was getting married and bought a wedding ring there, I remember he only asked for ten dollars down, and told me I could pay weekly as I could afford. Funny thing, he never did any paper work. I just told him I worked at the radio station. My, how times have changed?" Larry anchored the news at Channel 4 in Columbus in the early 80's and then he returned to Channel 4 in 2000. Larry after retirement in Texas has since move back to the Chillicothe area.
At the OAB engineers meeting 29 Nov. 2007 I talked to Charles Steger an engineer now with WEEC. He worked at WPKO from March of 1961 to June 1964 and left there to go to Bryan, OH. He informs me he worked as an engineer, the days of course you had to have a first class engineer on duty all the time, and also did an air shift one of which was called Cousin Chucks Show during which time he played country music. The programming then is what is called block programming, a couple hours of one thing and a couple hours of something else etc. He recalls another engineer at the time was Bob Meyer.
Another former employee that we have now heard from is Paula Foreman who worked as a secretary and is trying to recall the years that she worked there, probably late 50s. She says she was very proficient in short hand when she graduated from high school but they would not let her use it when she wrote down obituaries as she took them over the phone.
Out of the blue, on a different matter, I had a call from Jack Edwards (real name Jack Shaw) and found he is living in the Dayton area.
Recently found out that Gene James had worked at WPKO in the early 60s and was on air for about two years. Gene for several years had James Printing. The building where he had his printing shop is now a beauty shop. From his obit: " Rev. Norman Gene James, 74, of South High Street, Waverly, Ohio died Friday September 9, 2011 at his home. Gene was a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Waverly, a 1955 graduate of Waverly High School, a graduate of the Course of Study School at the Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio and served as pastor to the following churches; Alma, Omega, Massieville, Minford, Ironton Christ United Methodist Church, and Associate Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church.
Mike Smith, a WIBO announcer, has been a newsman at WBEX, WCHI, WKKJ Chillicothe for many years. Other announcers that I recall were Joe Murray, Jim Sager, Jack Edwards (stage name), and Steve Norman. Steve went to WKEE for a while after WPKO and is now out, I think, in Iowa.
"Big Al" worked as a part time fill in announcer and was a school teacher. He filled in once and a while at AM 660. He lives in West Union. Other part time announcers include Rob Lemon, Ted Wheeler, Gary Pfeifer, and the lateTerry Nickel. I got Terry a sales job at WIOI where I was working as Chief Engineer in 1980. From there he moved on to a job at the A Plant. Terry has passed on.
Gordon Williams, a part timer, did sports for us. He usually did the taped delayed games. Gordon passed away not to long ago. Dale Hamilton another part time sports announcer is now a part time sports announcer at WNXT in Portsmouth. Randy Heath, another part time sports announcer, lives in
Jackson and November 2007 was elected mayor of Jackson, OH. Bill Hartley also another one of our fine part time sports announcers.
Grace Neal, who passed away 16 March 2007, was secretary when I came in 1970 and went on to work at the A Plant about 1972 or 73 eventually retiring as an executive secretary. Becky Purpero followed her as secretary and was also an excellent copy writer. About the time that the station was sold she went on to work for the Piketon school system for 23 years and is now retired. Nellie Arnette and her daughter Denise Ison were added as secretaries. Nellie after leaving the station worked in the title department at the court house and Denise, last I knew, was working as a secretary at one of the prisons in Chillicothe
Charlie Keen at WPKO 1969 or early 1970 at the Gates console. (looking at the VU meter looks like dead air.)
The floods caused us twice between 1971 and 1975 to unhook one of the towers and get permission from the FCC to operate at 500 Watts. Not sure which time this was taken.
The WPKO building 30 July 2007
photo by Tyrone Hemry
In a conversation with Alan Fish, he said the copper thieves had destroyed the interior of the building ripping out the copper wiring.; Building is even in worse shape since this picture.
Taken in the 1970s
photo by Tyrone Hemry
Obit of former DJ who worked at WXIC about 1980
David Edward Soummers Sr., 63, of Reno, Ohio, died Sunday (March 25, 2012) at Marietta Memorial Hospital. He was born on Thursday, April 22, 1948, in Chillicothe, Ohio, to the late Roy and Helen (Minor) Soummers.
He retired from the Ohio Department of Transportation in Marietta, after 23 years of service, where he worked as a radio technician. Dave served in the U.S. Army during Viet Nam in Panama and then in the Army Reserve. He had owned his own Radio and TV store in Waverly, Ohio and was a disc jockey at WXIC Radio in Waverly, Ohio, before moving to Marietta. He liked his guns, cutting wood and his beloved dog, Cinnamon. Dave enjoyed keeping busy and working on his land.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Cynthia A. Soummers, daughter of Frances Elliott and the late Charles F. Elliott; two children, David E. Soummers Jr. and Deborah A. Winstanley
(John Jr.); three grandchildren, Hannah R. Soummers, Joshua J. Winstanley and Kristen J. Winstanley, all of Reno. His sister, Janet Woodgeard (James); his brother, Jon Soummers; and several nieces and nephews of Chillicothe, Ohio.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his stepmother, Luly Soummers; and a brother, Jerry Soummers.
Memorial services and visitation will be held on Wednesday (March 28, 2012) at Hadley Funeral Home Reno Chapel, 1021 Pike St., Marietta, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and services by the family and friends start at 5:30 p.m.
WBEX went on the air September 1947 with 1000 Watts day time and 250 watts night. It is now 1000 watts all the time.
Chralie Keen supplied me with the following concerning his life after leaving WPKO.
This is the Readers Digest version. I spent 6 months working for the BBC on Kings Road in London England as part of an internship while at Ohio University. In 1974 I went to WNCI and produced 2 public affairs shows daily. For What It's Worth and Two Cents Worth. Later I added booth announcing at WBNS 10 TV. Thanks to former Wakefield resident and weatherman Joe Holbrook. Fritz, the Nightowl, Perrenboom, and I were the only two booth announcers. In early 80's I worked at WEBN Cincinnati and did freelance TV voice overs for Fifth Floor Studios in Cincinnati lending my voice for a number of area TV commercials. In or about 82 or 83 I came to Southwest Florida and was assistant Program Director and afternoon drive at WOOJ (Orange 107) then in 86 went to Beasley Broadcast Group becoming Program Director for 96 K-Rock and did afternoon drive. Later I was Group Program Director for Beasley Broadcast Group and handled 19 radio stations at the time. I did the startup of a number of radio station in Southwest Florida including 96 K-Rock, 99X WJBX, B103, 105.5 The Beat. Dick Tyler Productions did voice over work for radio and TV stations around the country and for Fox TV and a couple Australian stations. I was forced into retirement recently due to an aggressive form of Paget’s, and severe arthritis leading to multiple joint replacements and a mostly new titanium spine
Dave Eshleman was hired as manager when Bennett Broadcasting took over the station. Dave had been working at WBYO in Boyertown, PA. Dave was station manager till early 1975. He
had a station that he was trying to get at Broadway-Timberville, VA. Very shortly after he came to Waverly he was able to get it and eventually instead of running it at a distance moved to VA to
manage it. Dave and I both graduated from Bob Jones University and in fact were room mates one summer in summer school. Dave was a year ahead of me and was in the radio announcing and production end of the courses and I was in Broadcast Engineering classes. I was working at WBYO also before coming to Waverly. After Dave left I (Tyrone Hemry) became manager until the
station was sold. I was at WPKO a total of 10 years.
The announcer, Lew Ridenour is cutting his birthday cake in 1952. To his left is Vic Newton, back row from right to left: Charlie Ross, Margie White, Roy Ross, unknown, unknown, and Paul Grooms, One of the three unnamed men is Baskin Sturgal. Picture taken in the WBEX remote studio at Waverly. If memory serves me right Margie White was involved in a competing application to get a radio station in Waverly.
photo curtsey of Bill Wiseman
NEW RADIO PROGRAM
Starting, July 19, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. a new meet and greet your friend radio show will be broadcast from the sidewalk in front of Hollberg Jewelry store, with
personal interviews with Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public. The show will be MC"D by Marge White in full western regalia while member of the Pike County Ramblers will alternate on subsequent programs, each Saturday morning, over station WBEX, 1490 on your dial.
10 July 1952 The Waverly Watchman
Marge White for a time served as remote studio director fro the "Pike County Hour" originating from Waverly. She left Waverly in September 1953 to go to Columbus WVKO as sales representive and promotions director.
To Appear On WJEH
A Barn Dance Road show unit from the Waverly Studios of WBEX, will appear in a half-hour radio show, a half-hour public appearance show and play for an hour of square dancing, Friday June 20th at Radio Station WJEH in Gallipolis. The troupe managed by Vic Newton will go to Gallipolis to assist in the two-day celebration of the anniversary of the station. Radio Station WBEX and Station WJEH are owned by the same personnel. Mr. Newton will take ten local entertainers on the trip.
19 June 1952 The Waverly Watchman
Mike Corwin, owner of Diner 23, worked at WPKO as a combo man (Announcer & Engineer). It was through Roy Ross that he got the job at WPKO. Mike went on to join the military and then on to work for the FBI and tells of his work on the Patty Hearst kidnapping case back in the 70's. Also served as Waverly Police officer in November 1969 and retired as Police Chief in October 2001. As a holder of a first Class license he was also able also to repair the police radios.
October 1968 the station was bought from, Ohio Quests Inc. owner of the station since June 1, 1960, by Bennett Broadcast Company, principles being Alfred Dinert (in Philadelphia) and Walter F. Bennett (in Chicago), executive producers of the Billy Graham Crusades and also operated an advertising agency. The station had been on hard times and after the purchase a new ground system had to be put in and a new RF proof of performance had to be done. This was not a cheap expense. At the time of the purchase James B. Denton was president, general manager, program manager etc. and Jim Duty was chief engineer. Chief engineer was listed as James Smith in 1969.
During the 1970's WPKO could sign on at 6:00 a.m. with 83 watts and then go to 1000 Watts at local sunrise and sign off at local sunset. Because WPKO was a
directional station the FCC rules required a First Class Engineer be on duty while it was on the air. The Gates console (audio mixer to the lay person) pictured above in the original program
schedule was still in use when I came to the station in June 1970. While there I converted it over to using solid state amps. The original transmitter was no longer in use but still set in the
building next to the newer Gates BC 1G. The format at this time was country Music and a few religious programs.
Roy Ross and The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys
Left to right: Don Jesse, Charley Ross, Roy Ross, Autis Maynard, and Roger Ross
The mandolin trilling Roy Ross's group backed up the famous bluegrass bandleader Hylo Brown on his recordings for the Rural Rhythm label done in 1968. Roy had been around for awhile before this, recording a series of singles, collaborating with country singer Bill Darnell for the Coral label. He had led a band known as Roy Ross and His Ramblers in the '40s, which recorded several singles for Decca, backing up Red Foley in his early days.
WPKO went on the air Sunday 11 July 1954 as a 1000 Watt daytime AM with a two tower directional antenna owned by Hi-Kinco Broadcasres. Principles being Warren Cooper and Don Kinker. The major lobe of the directional pattern shot out in the direction of Omega and the minor lobe out the back. The small lobe out the back was to protect the signal of a station on 1380 in Winchester, KY. It was my understanding the PKO part of the call letters was chose for "Pike Kounty Ohio" (WPCO was already used by another station). All stations east of the Mississippi start with W in the call letters accept for three early stations that were grand fathered in, they are KDKA and KQV in Pittsburgh, PA and KYW Philadelphia, PA.
Betty Gildow informed me she worked as a secretary
after graduation from June 1956 through December 1957.
She is the pianist at Omega U. M. Church. Her graduation
picture showing what she looked like at the time she worked
at the station.
During the 1960's Roy Ross worked as a DJ from about 1964 or 5 through December 1968 as he had been elected Sheriff in November and quit to take office in January. He served as sheriff for 12 years. He passed away 9 November 1998. According to his sons it sounds like he worked just about the whole day as DJ and they are not quite sure the year he actually started. Prior to working at the station around 1955-56 he had a radio show called the Ross Brothers and featured Roy and his brother Charley and played all Gospel music. After that show in about 1959 or 1960 he then had a program called Roy Ross and the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys and played a mixture of Blue Grass and Gospel Music. Some of the members of this group at various times included Don Jesse, Bill Wiseman, Charley Ross, Autis Maynard, Roger Ross, Dewey Steppe, Denzil Atkins, Roy's wife Mazel Ross and of course Roy.