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  • Writer's pictureDoak Turner

Radio in the 70's Charleston, WV

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

Great memories of great music! A local station in Charleston, WV had a contest back in the 70’s as a couple of the Southern Rock bands were coming to town that month, "September is Southern Music Month on WKAZ". If you were the correct caller and could say that phrase, you won tickets to the concerts - CDB, Wet Willie "Keep On Smilin", Marshal Tucker Band, Goose Creek Symphony, Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, The Winter Brothers, etc.

The best music – Top 40 was all genres of music played back to back on the same station.. Great on air personalities – WKAZ – Big Al Sahley, Frank George, Super Duper Charlie Cooper and other great Djs keeping us entertained and taking requests,

WCHS news and sports, WCAW playing Country and Western songs

Don’t we miss local radio with jocks in the studio taking your calls all day and especially at night - you'd make a request and tune in to hear your call and your friends calls on the air! Sometimes we would make dedications to friends for the song.

The next day at school, "I heard you on the radio last night" and everyone in school heard it too! Maybe you won a prize in a contest such as a pizza for saying, "Graziano's makes the best pizza" or "Two all beef pasties special sauce, lettuce pickles tomatoes on a sesame seed bun" and won a Big Mac from McDonald's.

I won a clock radio from WKAZ at Christmas for submitting a letter for a Christmas gift you'd like to win. I remember hearing my name and prize going to bed on Christmas Eve.

Families would listen to the local stations in the morning, while getting ready for school and work. The morning shows were usually funny, lots of personality, local news, weather and sports. You would go to work or school talking about what you heard on the radio.

I used to call Mary on WVAF, which was the Album Rock Radio – AOR on Saturday afternoons and talk to her for an hour at a time, win albums and other prizes such as camping kits and sunglasses. “Be caller #1 and win… and I figured it out, if they gave away something at ten past the hour, the next hour they would do the same. I would dial all the numbers on the rotary phone, and hold the last one, till she said the magic words, “Be Caller #1”… and let the dial go. She would pick up and sometimes say, “You again”!

Dave Alley also worked at WVAF and was a cool guy to talk with about music. We would talk about Robin Trower, Frank Marino and Mahogany. Pat Travers and other artists you did not hear on Top 40 radio.

WVAF would have the "Midnight Album Hour" of which they would play a new album that just came out, sponsored by Budget Tapes and Records. I would buy :90 minute blank cassettes and record some of those favorite albums. The Budget Tapes and Records commercial would run as they were switching from side 1 to side 2.

Sometime in the late 70's, our WVAF album rock" station turned to Top 40 and the listeners went crazy. Someone even shot a bullet through the radio station window, located above a drug store in Kanawha City. Protests in front of the radio station. That led to another radio station switching formats to play our beloved "Album Rock radio".

I was a "guest dj" one Sunday evening at FM 105 the new "Album Rock Radio", playing songs I wanted to hear on the air - that was pretty cool as I put together songs I wanted to play for an hour "on the air". The station was in St. Albans and that was a fun hour of life.

Oh, The great years of radio, before they replaced the live in the studio air personalities with “voice tracking” of people’s voices that have never been to your market, no local news or what is going on in the community.

I was fortunate to be alive in the era of call ins on the radio, when you wanted to meet the local “Disc Jockey” at a remote and feel radio is part of your world!

I know there are a couple stations that broadcast perhaps a morning show and maybe another air shift live, but usually 1/2 of what you hear is not someone sitting behind a mic, playing songs, giving the news and weather, the local happenings in your area and broadcasting from a studio somewhere in your area - so sad.

So, those times in the 70's of loving listening to the radio and the music that hit me in the heart, to eventually being part of the radio market let me to some of the funnest times in my life with great memories of being a great part of a new radio station and leading sales to going to the top of the Charleston, WV radio market from 1982-1987 with Super 102 WVSR .. then to Charlotte 1987-1991 Lite 102 that switched to KISS 102 WCKZ . Another crazy adventure in my journey of life for another story in time.

Thankful for the 70's era and the radio that influenced my life and the memories that turned into treasures.

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