This link will be devoted to people who we all remember or have heard of. Kind of like blasts from our pasts. People who we have wondered about through the years. I may post info about these people as I find it out on my own, or will post info from people I have shared e mails with. If you know of anyone who made an impact on our community or our lives please feel free to share it here! If you were once a resident here and want to reconnect with us, we would love to hear from you!
MR LARRY JAMES (LJ THE DJ), FORMER COLUMBUS DISC JOCKEY
A friend told me about your website and that several of my former fans of WDAK'S "Larry James Late Date Show" had written in about how they used to enjoy the show along with shows of other Columbus deejays.
I want to thank everyone for remembering those great old days when I was spinning 45s by Elvis, The Platters, Bobby Rydell, Brenda Lee, Fats Domino, Bobby Vee, Chubby Checker, The Beatles, James Brown and countless others.
I had several idols I looked up to when I was on the air right out of Jordan High. Jimmy Deere, Bill Bowick, Dick Weiss, Don Edwards, Johnny Dart, Bob Carr, Dr Jive (Ed Mendel), The Deuce (Rudy Rutherford) and others I can't think of at the moment. These men inspired me to do better. I had the pleasure of working with some of these personalities and it was a wonderful experience. I agree with one of your writers who said any of these guys could have easily been in major markets if they had wanted to. I even got to work with Cuzzin Al. I did the 6pm to midnight shift at WDAK and I loved radio so much I would stay up there all night long til Cuz would arrive, always late. He would say "go on home boy" in his gruff manner. I always suspected he wasnt really gruff and I found out later that was the case. About 1966 I had to work from 6pm til Cuz came in and I was really tired. This was to be for a week. On the first morning when Cuz came in at 5:15 I asked if he could get there when his theme song "Panhandle Rag" came on because I was tired by then. He said "just play my music til I get here boy". I did for a couple of days but Wednesday morning I was really tired so after his theme song ended I opened the mike and started talking like Cuz. Many had said I did a great impression of him. I cleared my throat and said "Dogged if it ain't early in the mornin'....man, I shore hated to turn-a loosa than mattress this mornin'...I dont think I got my nap out. Let's git the music goin' and in a little bit we'll see what ol' Snuffy's doin' up in Hooten Holler". I then cleared my throat as Cuz did and said "Here's Th' Supremes" and played something like 'Baby Love". About six or seven minutes later Ol Cuz came barreling in ordering me to git. I said 'well I asked you nicely to get here by 5am...I just went ahead and gave them Cuz at 5...." The next two days he was in at 5am ordering me out. Years later I would go down to his Cuzzin Al Record Shop and we would have great talks, reminiscing about that week. He laughed about it but back then I dont guess he saw the humor in it. He always seemed to like me after that. I wasnt making fun of him, I thought he was a genius on the radio. Most people dont know but on the afternoon show when he was supposedly guzzling a Nehi Orange Drink it was actually a Nehi bottle full of water from the water fountain down the hall! I miss those days around Cuz and Jimmy Deere. After I left WDAK I went over to WCLS and actively sought young listeners, taking teen listeners away from WDAK in droves. The station went from #6 in Columbus to #2, right behind WDAK. They still commanded the older adults so we never hit #1. Bernie Barker, the PD kept working hard to outdo us on the music but WDAK played twice as many commercials as little WCLS did.
I had worked in markets like Jackson, Mississippi , Mobile and Jacksonville, Florida and in 1975 my dream of someday working at the legendary WBT in Charlotte came true. I held down the all night show which was heard in 22 states and Canada. And, yes, my proudest moment was in 1978 when Johnny Cash announced on the CBS telecast of the CMA awards that I had been chosen Deejay of the year. I had had the privilige of emceeing a show with Johnny and June just two years before that. So it meant a lot that he was the one that made the announcement. In 1980 I had a very slight voice cracking problem. The doctor said it was minor and he would scrape my vocal cords promising that after two weeks of silence the new tissue would result in my having the "best voice I ever had". Something went wrong and he ruined my on the air career. I came back to WDAK in 1981 and it was then called K-Country. My voice was just wasnt't good enough anymore and I wound up back in Mobile again. In order to still remain in radio I had to get off the air and into production. I would take the deejays voices and mix it with music and sound effects for a production. Commercials, copywriting, promos, I did it all but I no longer had a radio voice. In 1991 I got another wonderful break. The top station in Dallas KPLX, now known as The Wolf, wanted me to come as Creative Services Director. That was July 1, 1991 and I was feeling very happy and very sad all at the same time. Michael Landon, my favorite actor, whom I had met in Mobile in early 1975, had passed away. Dallas is a wonderful place to live except for one thing...traffic jams. And I finally accepted my on the air career was over. It was okay because I loved production almost as much. So, after Columbus, I guess you could say I had three dreams come true. I got to be on the air at WBT, I made it to a top five market and through an old Jordan classmate, I found the very first girl I had ever been crazy about. We were both single again so I emailed and she remembered when I used to play Pretty Little Angel Eyes in the summer of 1961 when we dated. Later I called her on the phone and we arranged to meet. It has been almost four beautiful years and we still have a storybook romance. In the fall of 1960 I had a huge crush on her and would try to walk as close to her in the halls of Jordan High hoping she wouldnt see me. I was painfully shy. Later in 1961 when I got my own radio show I got up the nerve to call her. She was a listener but had not known me at school. We dated all that summer but I think I got jealous of some guy and my pride wouldn't allow me to call her back and she was not allowed to call boys. We lost touch for 41 years!!!! So I thank The Good Lord and this wonderful woman for making my life incredible again. If there are folks reading the website that would like to e-mail me, they can get me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear their fond memories, whether it was listening to the show or their favorite drive in restaurant or theatre. I am so glad I had the privilige of growing up in Columbus, Phenix City and Smith Station. We had it all back then. Just a fabulous place to grow up. Thanks to everyone who sent in their memories of LJ the DJ.
PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A NEW EMAIL ADDRESS FOR MR JAMES. IF YOU HAVE TRIED TO CONTACT HIM AND HAVE NOT HEARD FROM HIM TRY THIS NEW ONE. I KNOW HE WILL LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
MR JAMES E MAIL IS email@example.com
MR JOE LUNN, NATIONAL SOAP BOX DERBY WINNER
I have traveled around the world after Baker courtesy of the U. S. Navy. I retired in 1979 and live in Charleston, SC where most of my navy career was spent. I fell in love with Charleston when I received orders to Charleston Submarine Sqdn. 4 in 1960. I have spent some time at the Submarine base in New London Ct. and feel privileged to have spent 4 years teaching NROTC at the Univ. of Louisville Ky.(great duty for a "Sea Dog" with 12 years sea duty at the time)After Louisville I returned to my beloved Charleston and served the remainder of my Navy career aboard submarines.
After retiring I learned that a submarine that I had served aboard was coming to Charleston to be included in the naval museum, Patriots Point. I had to go see my old boat and while helping with the tour route aboard USS Clamagore (SS 343) I was offered a job at the museum and worked there as the submarine rep. and various other capacities until 1989 when Hugo came and put a lot of people out of work for quite some time. I enjoyed talking to people from around the world about the history of the ships at Patriots Point that also includes the aircraft Carrier Yorktown and I had been studying to be a registered tour guide for Historic Charleston, so I took the test (I had not studied this hard since Baker) I do tours of the city on a 25 passenger bus and still enjoy meeting people and telling them about Charleston. We have been judged the 3rd tourist destination in the country so we are kept pretty busy.
I met Linda 12 years ago and we will be celebrating our 10th in April. Linda is a Charleston native and is one of the treasures I have discovered in Charleston. I have 2 daughters, Camelle and Jeannine from a previous marriage. Joe Lunn
JOHN GILBERT- SAVES THE BRADLEY
John Gilbert did everything in his power to save and make a go of the old Bradley Theater. His story about the Bradley, his memories of local Drive In Theaters and other stories he has written are on Columbus Georgia On Line. They are wonderful stories that should not be missed. John now lives in the Atlanta area and hosts movies on a TV station there. Below are pictures of the Bradley Theater and the Edgewood Drive in where john once worked.
DOROTHY BARKLEY FREE
Sunday, September 20, 2006 I received the most wonderful e mail from Dorothy. Please read her story below. It involves one of our most beloved local television personalities, Miss Patsy (Patsy Avery). Many of us will never forget Miss Patsy and her local children's show Miss Patsy's Playhouse. Miss Patsy is still very active and does local commercials. This is a very moving and inspirational story. I am very grateful to be able to share it.
My name is Dorothy Barkley(Free now). I found your site looking for information about Miss Patsy's Playhouse, and Mis Avery that was known as Miss Patsy. Back in 1964 she helped me. My step-dad was stationed at Fort. Benning at the time, anyway, she helped me when they wouldn't (at first). I had gotten Rocky Mt.Spotted Fever and lost both my legs, they said because he was my step dad that they wouldnt pay for my prosthetics. She began taking up money for me and the whole town began to help. She called it the "cradle fund" because when she came to visit me , she asked me if there was anything that I wanted and all I wanted besides to get well, was a cradle for my dolls...lol.
Finally the Army decided to help me, and all the thanks goes to Miss Patsy. I have had a wonderful life, despite the loss of my legs. Over the years, I lost touch with her and I was wondering if anyone knew how to get in touch with her. I called the TV station which was WTVM Channel 9 at the time and they didn't know who I was talking about....so..I am on the search for her, just want to thank her and the whole town for all the gifts and help and incouragement that was given to me. I am enclosing a photo, so if anyone remembers me, please let me know, or if they know how to contact her. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can visit my website and drop me a line. http://www.originalsforyou.com
Thank you and God Bless!
ps...The first picture was taken a couple of years before I got sick. The second one is a terrible picture of me, keep in mind that I had been very sick. You can see the cradle in the backgorund. It is of me, my mother and sister. The second one is of me and Miss Patsy, from a newspaper clipping.
THIS IS THE SECOND E MAIL I RECIEVED FROM DOROTHY
Yes, I did get to talk to her and yes she is a very nice lady! She is just wonderful! The encouragement and help that she gave to me was beyond what I could have ever imagined someone doing for another person. Her love and strength that she gave to me has helped me all through my life to be a better person. I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best others can do, but the best you can do. "I'm a lot more than my legs." I have tried for so many years to find her so I could tell her how much I appreciated all that she and the whole town did.
She told me on the phone that she had never seen the town respond to someone like that. That even little children would set up lemonade stands and then send the money to her for me......isn't that amazing! It even reached President John F.Kennedy, his wife sent me a letter and a picture of them. Like I said it has helped me to be a better person, to not just be concerned for myself but to be concerned for others as well. I have raised 4 beautiful children and worked a full time job. I now have 10 grandchildren and am amazed at how fast time flies.
And yes it is ok to post on your website. I told Mrs. Avery that I had been wanting to thank her and everyone for all the help and she asked me if I would consider coming to Georgia to do a follow up story. I told her Yes..of course! So, that is in the works, and hopefully I will get to say thank you, in person.
ANOTHER FORMER COLUMBUS DISC JOCKEY MAKES GOOD...REAL GOOD
I received this message from former Columbus Disc Jockey Scott Shannon. I am so proud to be able to post it. We have had some really great DJ's that have gone on to some wonderful careers! I will be more than happy to forward any e mails to Mr Shannon, just let me know.I have no doubt many of you will remember him!
HI, MY NAME IS SCOTT SHANNON, A DEEJAY WITH A DEFINATE CONNECTION TO COLUMBUS. I WORKED AT WCLS/1580 RADIO IN THE MID TO LATE 60'S, AND I HAD A GREAT TIME.
I WAS JUST GETTING STARTED IN MY CAREER AND USED THE NICKNAME, "SUPERSHAN", I DID WEEKENDS AND FILL IN SHIFTS THAT NOONE ELSE WANTED TO COVER. WORKED WITH RICH GALORE, TOMMY O'NEIL, CHRIS BRANNON AND OTHER FINE PEOPLE. RICH(KEN CARLILE) WAS ALSO THE MUSIC DIRECTOR AND HIM AND I BECAME GOOD FRIENDS, I STILL TALK TO HIM FREQUENTLY AND HE WAS A BIG INFLUENCE IN MY CAREER. OUR DUMPY LITTLE STUDIOS WERE LOCATEDD IN PHOENIX CITY, UNDER OUR BROADCAST TOWER. I TRULY DOUBT IF MANY PEOPLE REMEMBER ME FROM COLUMBUS, BUT I CERTAINLY REMEMBER THE GREAT TIMES THAT I HAD AND MANY PEOPLE THAT I MET. THESE DAYS I DO A MORNING SHOW IN NEW YORK CITY, WHERE IVE BEEN FOR SEVERAL YEARS, AND NEXT MONTH, ( I AM PROUD TO SAY)I WILL BE INDUCTED INTO THE RADIO HALL OF FAME IN CHICAGO, BUT BELIEVE ME, I WILL NEVER FORGET WHERE IT ALL STARTED FOR ME:..... AT A LITTLE STATION IN COLUMBUS, GA. SCOTT SHANNON
ANOTHER FORMER COLUMBUS DISC JOCKEY, BOB KENNON CHECKS IN!
Hi, My name is Bob Kennon..don’t know if anyone remembers me working at wcls in Columbus in 1967, I was stationed at ft benning, ga in the army and assigned to the 13th public information detachment.
I showed up one day at the station, which was originally in an old blockhouse type building at the transmitter site..and asked for and got a job doing weekends,,and whatever else needed to be done.I remember Rich Galore, the music director and on air personality..
I was also there when the station moved to the downtown area..and the shiny glass control room..I think it was on the second floor of a bank or office building.
Anyway, there was also a dj who called himself rip van winkle, who did overnights, and while the station was at the transmitter site..he actually slept in a sleeping bag for a while near the transmitter…
I remember Mr Charlie..his wife and I belive his daughter, who was an aspiring country singer..but names have left me.
Anyway to make a long story a bit shorter..I was ordered to Vietnam and served there in 68-69 (did not do any armed forces radio jobs,d espite having that job title in the army) serving on artillery hill in Pleiku for my tour,,as a clerk, and a perimeter guard..and covoy guard.
I got out in 69, and went back to college in at Pearl River Jr college in poplarville, Mississippi,,near my hometown of Bogalusa, La.,,after one semester I recontacted Rich Galore and was to come back to work at wcls..but during my trip up to Coulmbus, ga..I heard an old buddy on the air at why in montgomery, ala..
I had just gotten married and my new wife and I stopped at the station to see him, and lo and behold (those were the days) he introduced me to the pd and gm and they hired me on the spot,, I did on air work, and also became their ‘news director’ a rip and read guy. But that got me a call from Montgomery tv WKAB-TV..and hired away to do tv news, sports, weather or whatever,,then after a year there,,I got a job in Mobile, ala at WALA-TV..and spent 10 years there from 1970 to 1980..doing everything from general reporting, to midday anchoring, to assignment editor and them to executive producer for the 6pm and 10pm mon-fri newscasts.
I left Mobile in 1980 and wound up in B.R. La..where I am today.. Currently the assignment editor at WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, La..(after a tenure at 2 out o 3 of the tv stations here..and on air dj work at almost every radio station in the market..you know who we broadcasters can float about..
But I really remember the good times at great folks at WCLS..my first real radio dj job..
If anyone want to touch base with me..my personal email address is email@example.com
Great fun finding this site..
Jan, thanks for asking me to write this piece. It’s June 2008, and it’s good to look back at 43 years in broadcasting this summer. I started out working at WBTW-TV in Florence, South Carolina while still in high school back in 1965, starting as a dancer on an American Bandstand type of show. My friends think that's hilarious.
Although all of my time “on the air” was not in Columbus, Georgia, most of it was. The once-young and crazy Val McGinness is now 59, and still crazy.
I returned to Columbus a little over ten years ago, mostly to be around the children I raised, my grandchildren, and my friends. I consider Columbus to be my hometown because when you total it up, I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else.
My last time on the radio as a “live” announcer was at the end of January. I started at Cumulus Radio in March of 1998 here in Columbus. Clear Channel Radio, the largest radio corporation in the world bought them out a couple of years later, and I stayed with them through this past January. At different times, you could hear me yakking on “Rooster 106” with Bear O’Brian, “Sunny 100” in the afternoons, “Newsradio 540” in the mornings, “Rock 103” on live broadcasts, as well as on other stations in the company as News Director of the cluster of 8 stations. One wears many hats in the corporate radio world.
I recently went full time with what had been a side venture for several years, commercials. If you live within the Columbus, Georgia listening area, you’ve probably already heard me talking on radio and television commercials for businesses such as J.D. Kinder’s Furniture Showrooms, Summit and Moneyback convenience stores, the Muscogee County Humane Society, Thunder in the Valley, and several others. I also do national and regional voice-overs, and send them out by e-mail from my studio to places all over the U.S. I used to do the old Pant-A-Rama commercials back in the early 70s, although my genius friend John Suhr was the guy who did the original P.A.R. spots and came up with the ideas. What a talent!
Now, let’s go back… waaay back to 1972 when I first hit Columbus to be the new Program Director of the old WHYD-AM and FM “The Mighty Hydee”, so-named before I got there. We were all “Hydee Hands”. Ha! The FM is now WCGQ, and the AM is now WSHE.
When I started working with Hydee, Bill Bowick and Jimmy Deer were there. I was there to replace Bill, who had a new job pending with WRBL-AM as Program Director.
The late Jimmy Deer was one of my voicing heroes, having heard his commercials and promos at other stations outside of Columbus before ever coming here. My position technically made me the boss, but I couldn’t teach Jimmy a thing because he was the voice master in my book... the best voice around. I learned lots from him, and he was a very creative, nice, and smart man.
Even though Bill Bowick was well known at that time, he became even better known later in his career, mostly in the 80s, and picked up a lot of newer generation listeners. People really liked him and his character “Phillip Space”, which I understand came from the term “fill up space”. I’m glad to have had a chance to know, work with, and learn from both Bill and Jimmy.
Next was WCLS-AM, a bright-sounding "Top 40" radio station that I think will always be my favorite. I really enjoyed working there. Back then we were “The Rock of Columbus”. The late Charlie Parish and his then wife Ramona owned the station, and the late Chuck Harris was the Program Director. Ramona lives in Columbus, and is retired. I worked there 3 years as “McGinness in the Morning”. While there I worked with Stu “Records” Richards, Chuckie “Boo Boo” Barron, Barry Stone, Michael St. John, and others. ‘CLS was well known for it’s “Missing W” and “Missing Rock” contests, and its concerts featuring the likes of Sonny and Cher, and many of the then stars of pop music. On the “missing” contests, we would offer clues on the air and post them at our studio door, and at sponsor sites. Contestants would come by the station and write down the clues, or read them out loud into their tape recorders.
On the air, my “benchmarks” or regular remarks were “Playing the hits, whilst you’re spraying your pits!” Some thought that was somewhat naughty, but it was only about putting on deodorant. I swear. Another saying was “Are you naked?!” People liked to call up and yell “Yes, Val! We’re naked!”, then they would giggle and hang up. I also had a picture taken of me “naked”. It was a photo of me sitting in the WCLS control booth simulating nakedness. I actually didn’t show any skin except for my upper body, yet for whatever reason, we gave away 500 full color 8 by 10s of those “Are you naked?” pictures. We gave them out by request by mail and at personal appearances. It was the brainchild of the late Doyle Palmer who liked to involve me in sponsor-related promotions. Burt Reynolds had posed “naked” for Cosmopolitan Magazine that year, and I think that’s where Doyle got the idea. As late as 5 years ago, someone called from a law office and told me that an “Are you naked” picture was still on their office wall, in a frame.
One time Doyle decided that I should stay awake and stay on the air for as long as I could inside of a recreation vehicle, to promote an Open Road brand dealer off of Victory Drive near Riverdale Cemetery. Food was brought in for every meal from Shoney’s, people stopped in to visit from time to time, and people stopped by to party outside of the motor home each night. I stayed up for 72 hours, and then slept for 14 hours. I had an incentive to stay up, because Doyle raised my rate of pay each 12 hours, or so. A lot of people were offering me “speed”, but I only took some vitamin B-12 to help me with fatigue. I broadcast 2 times an hour night and day, except for my morning show when I went live for the whole thing from 7 to 10. By the way, Doyle Palmer later on left WCLS to convert WHYD-FM into WCGQ-FM, and had the power raised to 100,000 watts from 40,000.
I went to work for WDAK-AM as the morning man, but didn’t stay there long because the manager at the time was Bernie Barker, and my on-the-air orneriness didn’t sit well with him, so he would not let me work there any longer. They were a pretty conservative station, and I wasn’t very conservative at the time. During that stint, I relieved legend Cuzzin' Al, Houdie Brown at 7 o'clock each morning.
The next “gig” was with the new WRCG, formerly WRBL-AM, where I was their first midday announcer. We played music back then, and Harry Myers, a former WDAK announcer, did the morning show. As an update, I e-mailed back and forth with Harry not long ago. Today, he is the owner of an AM station in North Carolina, and works at another one on a morning show. Google him... that’s how I found him.
I went to Montgomery in ‘77, to Little Rock in ‘80, and returned to Columbus in 1981 to fill a mornings opening at WCGQ “107Q” a.k.a. “The Q”. After I left in 1983, Bear O’Brian took over mornings, and became well known in Columbus.
When I left 107Q, it was to become Operations Manager of WDAK-AM “K-Country” and WEIZ-FM “EZ-100”. Keep in mind, that most of these station changes were for more money. During that time, I was also the morning man at WDAK-AM with the late Charlie Tapley as the news and sports guy. Later, I took over mornings at WEIZ, along with my friend, sidekick, and newsman Jim “Diamond Jim” Devitt. Replacing me later on as EZ morning man was Bill Bowick, who also worked with Jim. Jim's now a local advertising agent.
While at EZ-100 I worked with British musician and singer Sue Shelley, Mike Shelton, and Allen Jackson. Allen worked for the Weather Channel for years, and is the voice you now hear on the Weather Channel’s “On the 8s” forecast.
I went back to Montgomery, then Milwaukee, back to my home state of South Carolina, and back to Columbus because I missed it, my kin, and my old friends.
Jim “Jimbo” Martin hired me at his WNKS-FM “Kiss FM” to do mid days with Bear O’Brian in the mornings, Alan DuPriest in the afternoons, and Bob McGee at night. Jimbo let Bear and I go, because he was about to start a new station, “Rock 103”, and wanted to hire some new staffers so it wouldn’t sound the same as Kiss. I was one who suggested he go with the Classic Rock format, and it backfired on me!
I then moved to Macon, Georgia where I stayed for almost 10 years. I was Operations Manager for two simulcasting FMs, one in Macon, the other in Warner Robins. We were using the slug line “Rock, Rhythm & Blues”, basically playing Southern Rock and its musician’s influences. The station owners in Atlanta couldn’t agree on what to do with the stations, so they sold them.
That’s when I returned to live and work in Columbus... and that’s where I am now. Maybe someday I’ll be back on the air somewhere. Who knows?
LINKS ON MY SITE
GOING GOING GONE
JUST PLAIN INTERESTING
ODDS AND ENDS
DO YOU REMEMBER
BEAUTIFUL OLD HOMES
THE WAY WE WOOFED
DID YOU KNOW
OTHER AREAS AND COMMUNITIES
OLD NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
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GALLERY OF ASSORTED PICTURES
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