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We Fondly Remember...

WOKE Radio 1340
Charleston, South Carolina

On this page:

Bob Gillchrest Remembers
John Bledsoe Checks In
A WOKE Announcer Remembers  
A WOKE Engineer Remembers

WOKE Listeners Remember
WOKE History

WOKE's Music Policy
 

This site was created by and is managed by Charleston radio archivist John Quincy. A special thank you to Wally Momeier, Jeff Flowers, Jackson Douglas, Chris Holman, John Busbee, Richard Erickson, Robert James and Gil Kirkman for their contributions of WOKE audio and images.
   

 

WOKE was a radio station like no other in Charleston -- perhaps in the state of South Carolina. Owned and managed by the late Harry C. Weaver, WOKE injected its airwaves with an unusual variety of "good music", sports, paid religion, frequent, extended weather reports, and generous doses of dead air. Listening to WOKE was like going back in time. Even in the early 1990s, WOKE sounded like it hadn't changed since the early 1960s, complete with corny-as-heck jingles and stilted-sounding announcers.

Retired newspaper editor and Charleston radio buff J. Douglas Donehue said this about WOKE's GM and owner: "He went under the names of Harry Weaver, Buck Clayton and Tennessee Weaver. He wanted people to think he actually had three different announcers, even though they all sounded the same. Harry had the lowest overhead in the market."

Allison Davis writes: My memories are so wonderful of WOKE. Harry C. Weaver was my granddad and a very special man in my life. I remember going to the radio station with Nana to see if granddad would like to have lunch at Wendy's which was next door to the station. Most people go to work on Monday and at the end of the day go home thinking, "One day down and four more to go". Not granddad. He went to work and came home thinking, "I can't wait for the next four days". His heart and soul created such a wonderful environment that it was a second home to him, not a place of business. I can remember getting so excited when he would ask me to sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on the air with him. Or the Tweety Bird; boy, being able to push the button to make that bird sing was so much fun. I was so very blessed to have such a wonderful granddad in my life and I was glad to see so many other people remembering him as well.

Who can forget Harry Weaver's editorials with their Les Nessman-style intros and closes? How about the Saturday afternoon sports scoreboards? The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on Sunday afternoon? And what about that Will Kit commercial?

WOKE is no more. The station was sold to Charleston advertising agency owner (and former WOKE employee) Gil Kirkman in November of 1994. The format changed to all-sports and the call letters became WQSC. The aging equipment and studios were abandoned, and several years later WOKE's vast record library was auctioned off. The Sam Rittenburg Boulevard building that housed WOKE's studios and offices since 1976 was completely remodeled and became a State Farm Insurance office in 1999. Harry C. Weaver passed away in 2001. (Read his obituary.) But WOKE is fondly remembered here. 


 

From the July 12, 1948 edition of Broadcasting:
Telephone Troubles

Harry C. Weaver, commercial manager of WATO Oak Ridge, Tenn., just about had an atomic explosion of his own a few nights ago when an ambitious telephone operator finally put his call through. Mr. Weaver had been attempting to contact a potential sponsor in another town by telephone for several days, but to no avail. When the attempt failed each day the operator canceled the call. However, the last time the call was placed it was not canceled. You guessed it, in the early hours of the dawn Mr. Weaver's phone rang and there was the potential sponsor on the other end of the line. It took some fast talking, but everyone is happy now, Mr. Weaver reports.

Before WOKE came to Charleston, Harry Weaver helped launch a radio station
 with the WOKE call letters in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Below is a photo and article that appeared in the October 22, 1951 edition of Broadcasting
:

\
Celebrating the opening of WOKE are (l to r) Messrs. McReynolds and Weaver,
the Rev. Robert Sala, and Messrs. Daly and Corbett

WOKE ON Air
Weaver Heads Tenn. Outlet

WOKE Oak Ridge, Tenn., 1430 kc with 1 kw daytime, began broadcasting Sept. 29, with formal opening taking place the following day. Studios are located on Oak Terrace, Grove Center, Oak Ridge.

Members of the Air Mart Corp., which owns and operates WOKE, are Harry C. Weaver, president-general manager, who is half-owner of WGAP Maryville, Tenn.; Owen H. McReynolds, vice president, Washington, D.C.; Harry J. Daly, director, Washington, D.C., and Frank H. Corbett, secretary-treasurer, who is general manager and also half-owner of WGAP.

General Manager Weaver announced appointment of Gene Callahan as sales manager and Edward Craigmiles, as program direct. Mr. Callahan, now sales manger of KOEL, Oelwein, Iowa, will assume his WOKE duties Nov. 1. Mr. Craigmiles, known professionally on the air as Ed Craig, has spent the past decade at WBLJ Dalton, Ga., and WDXB and WVUN (FM) Chattanooga, Tenn.
 

Today the WOKE call letters belong to a religious-formatted FM station licensed to Garrison, Kentucky. When you consider the amount of religious programming that WOKE in Charleston carried, as well as Mr. Weaver's strong faith in God, I bet Harry would be happy about where his beloved call letters landed.

WOKE Excerpt from "Charleston On The Air:
A History Of Radio Broadcasting In Charleston, SC" by J. Douglas Donehue

(Used by permission)

Then there was Harry Weaver, also know as "Buck Clayton" and "Tennessee" Weaver, owner of WHAN (which later became WOKE and remained WOKE until Weaver sold the station in the mid-1990s). Weaver, who bought WHAN from J.B. Fuqua of Augusta, was the only station owner in Charleston who was also an on-air personality. He took over the morning show on his station from Jeff Warner, whose real name was Elmo Litchfield. Weaver is well remembered for his poetry readings, which he did each evening on WOKE just before the station signed off the air.

Weaver was somewhat of a maverick among radio station owners and operators. A Tennessee native, he personally supervised every aspect of his radio station, WOKE, through all of the years of its existence in the Charleston market. He served as host for many WOKE programs, including the longest running Saturday afternoon football scoreboard in the history of Charleston radio.

Ned Webb recalls with delight the way Weaver handled the calls that came in to Scoreboard Show. "You could only heard one side of the calls," said Web. "You could not hear the caller who wanted a score. Weaver would say: 'Hello, Wonderful WOKE Football Scoreboard. Who? Oh, yes Michigan. Let's see now. Yes. Here it is. They won 24-12.' He wouldn't say which team Michigan was playing. I once heard him say 'Hello. Wonderful WOKE Football Scoreboard. Yes. Okay. New Mexico State. Let's see now. Okay, we have a partial score on our Wonderful WOKE Football Scoreboard. New Mexico State 18. Thanks for calling."

Many Charleston are residents were awakened in the morning by Weaver's "Happy Rooster," a sound effect of a rooster crowing. It was corny, as were quite a few of Weaver's gimmicks, but the truth is that they worked. Weaver and that rooster were cussed and discussed by Charlestonians for years.

Weaver was an innovator, although some of innovations were laughed at by people at other radio stations who thought they were corny or old hat. Weaver approved a promotions spot, done by Red Evans, which described WOKE as Charleston's number two radio station. He put the station promo, as they were called by broadcasters, on the air at a time when radio stations began to proliferate in the 1960s. Self-aggrandizement was the order of the day and quite a few of the stations began to run their own promotional spots, touting the claim that they were the number one station in the market, whether or no it was true. That's when Weaver's genius for understatement and simplicity came to the fore.

In the WOKE promo, which describes the station as Charleston's number two radio station, Evans paused ever so slightly and then said "We must be number two. All of the others say they are number one." Of all the station promos with the possible exception of WCSC's "1390 since 1930," Weaver's claim that WOKE was number two stands out this day as one of the most original and effective radio promos in the history Charleston radio.

WOKE was the first station to break the music-mold, although WOKE had adhered to old-tome radio programming more than any other station in Charleston. WOKE began to resurrect old radio broadcasts from the 1940s and 1950s which had been preserved on records and tapes. Such programming enjoyed a period of short lived popularity.

WOKE also doggedly stuck to its heavy schedule of sports, broadcasting play-by-play accounts of University of South Carolina and Clemson football and basketball games. The station even picked up network feeds of games played by the University of Alabama, Tennessee and Notre Dame. The audience for these games was extremely limited.

WOKE had the longest running telephone scoreboard show of any in Charleston. It was on the air each Saturday afternoon during football season for more than 30 years. Harry Weaver, the station owner, was the host of the show, of which he was immensely proud.

It was a tearful Weaver who went on the air the day the station went off the air and spoke about the many years he had operated WOKE after coming to Charleston from Knoxville, Tennessee. During a special tribute to Weaver, radio personalities from every other radio station in Charleston showed up to honor him.

Note: J. Douglas Donehue passed away October 11, 2006. He was a true friend of Charleston radio.

Bob Gillchrest Remembers
(Received February 19, 2006)

"My first job when I got out of the Navy in 1970 was working weekends and nights at WOKE. I endured the Saturday afternoon football scoreboard as the board operator while Harry Weaver and Jeff Warner read the scores and bantered with each other. Sunday afternoon and evenings were filled with local church preachers, musicians, and other religious programming. (Harry was a long-time member of First Baptist Church and a deacon at that historic church).

"The hardest job I had was trying to sell air time - our Arbitron ratings were not the best in the market so selling air time was next to impossible, especially trying to get new accounts.

"With its sale, it was truly the passing of an era. I've never met anyone like Harry Weaver either before or after (though I suspect there are always a few like him out there in the hinterlands somewhere).

"I left the station in 1972, just before I graduated from Baptist College (now Charleston Southern University). Fond memories of some great years in Charleston." - Rev. Bob Gillchrest

John Bledsoe Checks In
(Received September 8, 2005)

"I am enjoying immensely the WHAN/WOKE page and the photos. I was familiar with the station from its beginning. The photo at the top of your display is a much younger Harry Weaver, soon after his arrival in Charleston. The announcer in all of the other pictures is Traynor Ferrillo. The various others in the photos, I believe, are participants in the many live shows that originated at the station.

"I am somewhat confused regarding Doug Donehue's statement that Harry bought WHAN from J. B. Fuqua. My recollection is that WHAN was put "on the air" in 1949 by a group of Charleston businessmen made up of Harold Simons, owner of Simons Motors, another was Harold Butt, owner of Butt Electric Company...and I believe there were two others whose names I can't recall. Harry once told me that he bought the station for $10,000 and the assumption of $49,000 in debts.

"I believe Doug was thinking of J. B. Fuqua who owned WFAK and sold it to Lonnie Moore who changed the call letters to WPAL. WFAK was at 730 on the AM dial and today is WLTQ.

"I designed and produced the 'Wake with WOKE' logo that is on the website, did a number of brochures and other sales materials for the station, and like lots of others, I covered many broadcast shifts for WOKE. Harry Weaver was a wonderful man and a great friend with a refreshing brand of old-time radio in an era when good radio had fallen by the wayside and became nothing but a jukebox. He was a staunch defender of real radio!" - John Bledsoe

A Letter From A WOKE Announcer
(Received November 7, 2003)

"What a delight it was to find your tribute page to WOKE Radio and Harry Weaver. My name is John Busbee, and I worked as an announcer (Mr. Weaver did not like the moniker "disc jockey") at WOKE from 1979 to 1981 as co-host of "Carolina In The Morning." I think I still hold the distinction of being the youngest morning show host in the country, as I had just turned 15 years old when I began my duties as morning show host.

"With a very early interest in radio, I had become friends with Wally Momeier, WOKE's daytime announcer and operations manager, who taught me the business, and was kind of like a big brother to me. It was Wally who introduced me to the Weavers, and I became a fixture at the Sam Rittenburg Boulevard Studios, spending every moment I could there, learning everything I could about this magical business.

"Mr. Weaver had undergone heart bypass surgery in 1979, and his doctors had advised him against working the long hours he had been, doing the morning show from 4:55am to 10am, followed by a full business day as station owner/general manager, and then working many local play by play sports broadcasts in the evenings. It was during this time that this 15 year old high school student got the offer of a lifetime!

"Mr. Weaver and his wife Ruth called me in to his office, and asked me if I would be willing to share the morning show duties with Mr. Weaver. Here's how it worked: I would sign on the station at 4:55a, and do the morning show through the 7:00 a.m. news at which time Buck Clayton (Mr. Weaver) would take over. I would then leave for high school, having to be there at 7:45a. Saturday I had the whole show 4:55a-10a, and also came back Saturday evening to work 6pm to sign off. I couldn't believe my good fortune!

"I did this for two years until leaving in August 1981 for college. Longtime evening announcer Dave Bannon replaced me when I left Charleston, and remained as co-host with Mr. Weaver of the morning show until the station was sold in 1994.

"I will be forever grateful to Mr. Weaver and Wally for giving me the experience as a teen that opened many doors for me later in life that otherwise would have been closed.

"After WOKE I was a master control switcher for CNN Headline News (then CNN2) and WBFS-TV in Miami, and even was a Director/Technical Director at WATL-TV in Atlanta in the early and mid-eighties. In 1982 (at the age of 18) I was directing 3 hours of financial news at WATL a day, and the Atlanta Falcons post game show on Sundays in 1984-85. My last TV job was with Miami Video and Post in 1986-87 (camera and tape op) shooting commercials. I did the Spanish language Publix supermarket weekly ads for MVP, but hated it, and went back to radio at WWBF in Bartow, FL as morning show host/news director from Summer '87 to Summer '88 which was my last radio gig – and my first and only experience with a “real” slide pot audio board In May 1988, I got a 'real' job with the NRPC (Amtrak) and am still there today." - John Busbee, Chicago
 


John Busbee on WOKE 1981 Video

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

July 1981 Charleston News & Courier Article
College-Bound Announcer Dreams Of Owning Station
By Anne Barnes
Entertainment Editor


John Busbee reaches for a tape

Buck Clayton's Cousin Johnny will soon be gone, but not forgotten.

John T. Busbee, the 17-year-old staff announcer whose alias Cousin Johnny broadcasts WOKE-AM Radio's "Carolina In The Morning" along with Harry C. Weaver's Buck Clayton, will be leaving to attend the University of Miami.

"I'll be back at WOKE during the holidays and for the summer, filling in," he says. "Right now I'm in the process of recording commercials that will run during the months I'm gone, so my voice will remain on the air.

"Mr. Weaver says I'm not quitting; he calls it a leave of absence."

Busbee graduated from James Island High School at the age of 17. "I skipped two grades, the first and the 12th," he explains. Because of his SAT scores and high school performance he has been awarded a Presidential Scholarship - full tuition - to attend the university where plans to major in communications.

With an early interest in radio, Busbee began hanging around the station. "I knew Wally Momeier, the operations manager," he says. "I would go to the station and watch him for hours and hours. He encouraged me to go to Savannah to take the test for a third-class license. I was 14 at the time.

"Then I started badgering Mr. Weaver to let me go on the air," he says. "After about six months he let me go on the air for the Sunday afternoon religious programming. There was very little talking to be done, just a lot of button pushing. I couldn't talk on the air because my voice was changing.

"Then in the summer of 1979, I was on vacation in Florida and Mr. Weaver called me to see if I could fill in for one of the night-time announcers who was in the hospital. But it was with the understanding that I'd do a limited amount of talking."

Asked if he remembers the first time he was allowed to do any substantial amount of on-air work, Busbee recounts, "It was the night Hurricane David hit. I had to keep the station on the air all night and give people updates on the hurricane. Nobody gave me any clearance to talk, but I did anyway."

Busbee's experience at WOKE has been wide during the 2 ½ years he's been with the station. "Recently I was sent to Hilton Head to cover the CPC Women's International Golf Tournament," he says. "I've done sports, copywriting, news, weather and just about everything.

"Of course my friends kid me about being at WOKE. They all want to know when I'm going to get a job at a rock station, but I've grown to like the music played on WOKE."

A son of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson T. Busbee, he lives on James Island with his parents and younger sister.

As to his plans following college, Busbee is direct. "Eventually I'd like to own a radio station," he says. "That's always been my dream."

 

WOKE's Music Policy



Harry Weaver's music policy

John Busbee (WOKE announcer 1979-1981) tells us the "secrets" behind how WOKE's music played on the air  WOKE:

There were 72 carts [continuous loop tape cartridges]: 36 yellow 5-minute carts (Numbered 1-36) which were the "Hits and Gold Records of Today." In actuality, since new music that fit the WOKE criteria was in short supply by 1981, a lot of it was music of the past several (1-10) years.

The other 36 carts were grey 11-minute carts (Numbered 1L-36L) each with three songs on it. These were the Hits and Gold Records of yesterday. Both the singles and the 3-cut carts were as follows:

1 & 1L - Instrumentals
2 & 2L - Female Artists
3 & 3L - Male Artists

4 was back to instrumental and so on....

They were to be played 1, 2L, 3, 4L, 5, 6L, etc....through to 36, then the alternates, 1L, 2, 3L, 4, etc....

This was supposed to give the hits of today more frequent airplay than the hits of yesterday. In each 30 minute segment, one of the hits of today was to be replaced with a "Million Dollar Gold Record," a cut from the "Preview Album," or one of the "New Sounds In Town."

The Gold Records were on 45s, a stack of which was always in the control room. The Preview Album was a 33 1/3 Album. The New Sound In Town was on cart (there were usually about 10) on a special rack under the turntables.

I know both Wally Momeier and I took broad liberties as far as adhering to the rotation policy, mainly because the "L" carts (with 3 songs) had three songs of varying lengths on them, so you never knew the name/artist/length of the song you were about to play until you had begun playing it -- unless you had already played the cart earlier in your shift and knew which one was coming up next.

There was always "fill music" available, but I hated it with a passion, and prided myself on having my last song end at 59:50 so I could hit the ID, and NEVER be late into the CBS hourly news, or have any dead air. I learned this watching Wally, and hopefully you will notice that my shows were minus the dead air, and "fill" of some others.

As you can see, the WOKE Music Policy (already on your Website) was still in force in the early '80s anyway!

A WOKE Engineer Remembers

"Right after I went to work at Channel 5 I also got a call from Harry Weaver asking if I could do his engineering work. Being new to the area and not making a lot of money, I was certainly interested. I did a lot of nighttime announcing shifts and weekend work for him too. His staff was always short somebody so I worked in very well.

"He had a new Gates Yard console that nobody would install, or maybe he just didn't have anybody to do it. Well, the job fell to me.

"The whole operation was set up for a Saturday and signoff was arranged for 6:00 p.m. Signoff, remove the old monstrosity, and install the Gates Yard -- simple. Well, just to talk about it, yes. Doing it, though, turned out to be a memorable occasion.

"As the time of signoff arrived, I went to work. Well, the first thing I found out was that the audio racks contained 110 volts AC in certain audio jacks. Already I was nervous, and very cautious about everything now -- I mean really cautious. Well, let's get going. The day was as hot as I had ever seen since being here. Anyway I was by myself. It had to be done -- no second set of eyes or hands -- just me. Needless to say I can't forget that AC in the racks. Oh what the hell -- let's do it.

"I traced as far as I could and finally found what I perceived to be the audio line from the present behemoth monster just waiting to be freed. I reached into the rack with the side cutters to free up the line. At the very precise instance I cut the wires, a SCE&G pole transformer blew all to hell at the back window, showering the place with flying glass. The gigantic flash...the smell...all caused by the side cutters and me. Well, there was nothing else to do. I knew I had blown up half or maybe even more of Market Street.

"For an hour I sat, not knowing who to call, what kind of story to make up. This was to this point one of the lowest points in my life. I had no idea what to do. Finally after almost two hours, here comes a SCE&G expert up the stairs to see if anything was burning. They said they would change out the transformer by 11:00pm. I just locked the door and left.

"I had to go back at sign on and hook up wires to the old console. Mr. Buck Clayton thought it was the most hilarious episode he had ever heard." -- Walt Mouring, Charleston


 

Letters From WOKE Listeners

"This is a good Website. I lived in Charleston between 1979 and 1981 and I enjoyed WOKE in the mornings especially.

"Buck Clayton collected 'moon reports.' If a person could see the moon, you would call and say your location and that you could see the moon.

"After a certain number of these reports, (and it sounded like a live piano but maybe it was a recording) they would play CAROLINA MOON and Buck would sing to it.

"When I bought my own piano a few years ago, Carolina Moon was one of the first songs I learned!" -- Bonnie W. Taylor, Sanford, FL (January 23, 2004)


"I am so thrilled to have found this Website. I grew up on James Island and remember listening to WOKE radio in the mornings when my parents would have it tuned in in the kitchen during the 70s. Seems like there was a jingle with a rooster crowing. And you could always count on Tennessee Weaver broadcasting Georgia Football on Saturdays!

"While at the College of Charleston and late-night cramming for exams, I'd like to take a break and listen to the Sign-Off at night. That seemed to bring me some tranquility in what I then thought was a stressful time in my life. I even taped the WOKE Sign-Off knowing that one day that unique and special radio station would be gone and I wouldn't be able to hear these things. Well, the radio station did go away as all good things must end, and in the hustle and bustle of life I lost my cassette tape of WOKE Radio broadcast recordings.

"It was really moving for me to listen to Mr. Weaver sign off for the last time on your sound clips page. I had never heard that before. It brought a tear to my eye. I never had the honor of meeting him though I feel like he's family.

"It is funny how things like that become important to me as I get older. A man like Harry Weaver is an inspiration to me. He was a Christian that found a career where he had his heart and soul dedicated to it. What a blessed life he had.

"I just want to say a from-the-heart thank you for this Website that captures the sounds that I grew fond of while growing up in this special part of America.

"God bless." -- Sid Smith, Adams Run, SC (November 3, 2004)


"What a wonderful Web site. I so miss Tennessee Weaver and his ramblings about Bigfoot with the animal sounds in the background. The world could do with a bit more corn.

"Are there any cassettes of 'Moon Dreams In Miniature' and the sort of poetry readings that Buck read late at night, you know - 'Dream on, drift on, with moon dreams...' Gosh, if I had only been thinking I'd have recorded the show through the years. It was always topical because it never changed." -- R.T. Shepherd (April 10, 2005)


"Thanks so much for this Website! I grew up in Mount Pleasant and thought I was the only person nutty enough to love WOKE. I now live in Raleigh, NC, and all the stations are canned and boring. I have a dream: With the advent of satellite radio, local stations will go back to being truly local. Wouldn't that be great?" -- Bill DuPre, Raleigh, NC (January 26, 2006)


"We lived in Mt. Pleasant from 1972-1976 when I was in high school. I was a big Buck Clayton fan, and was very happy to come across your Web tribute to WOKE. I was particularly thrilled to hear the jingles, as I have been humming them for the past 30+ years!" -- Paul Anagnostos, Boston, MA (April 15, 2006)


"I have visited your WOKE memorial website. I was raised in Charleston, and I used to listen to WOKE late nights -- especially Moon Dream. At one point, I personally visited the station and spoke with one of the DJs, thinking about the possibility of applying for a position there myself. Well....my life went in a different direction. But I still remember WOKE. It was unique among radio stations. Listening was like taking a trip back in a time machine. You could listen to 1950s-style broadcasting in the 1980s.

"I very much regret that -- years ago -- I did not do back then what I had considered doing at the time, namely: recording all of the Moon Dream episodes while they were still on the air. The DJ that I spoke to in the WOKE studio back in the late '70 or early '80s showed me the full-sized tape reel which contained all of the Moon Dream shows that Mr. Weaver ever did. I wonder if that same reel of tape is still in existence somewhere today? Perhaps someone bought the tape back when the station closed for business. I'd be interested to find out. Hey -- I'd gladly buy that tape reel from them. Mr. Weaver recorded all of the Moon Dream shows sometime back in the late '50s and/or early '60s. Then he just played the same shows over and over again for many years thereafter.

"Thanks again for running such a great site.  The website is an honor to Mr. Weaver's memory, as well as to the radio station that was his career." -- Robert James, NC (October 8, 2006)
 


"I am very glad to find this site. It has brought some fond memories of my youth in the '70s and early '80s.

"I used to enjoy Radio Mystery Theater at night. I had a multiband radio by my bed and I would have it turned down low so my parents in the next room could not hear. I liked Moon Dreams and sign off too. I also loved Carolina in the Morning. I always got a kick out of Buck Clayton and his Barnyard Menagerie.

"I always wanted to meet Mr. Weaver and tell him how much I enjoyed these programs and the music." -- Stephen Ellis (November 16, 2007)

For what it's worth...

In a quite by accident discovery, I ran across a station in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with the call letters "W-O-K-E", in a 1952 Broadcasting Yearbook. I seem to recall someone telling me that the calls had once been in Oak Ridge, which sounded logical.

I knew that Mr. Weaver came to Charleston from Oak Ridge, and knew that he'd worked at WATO (the 1948 Radio-Daily Radio Annual shows him as the sales-commercial manager). That same publication shows a CP for WOND/Oak Ridge with 1kw on 1430.

From the 1952 Broadcasting Yearbook, one would have to assume that facility got on the air in 1951 as WOKE, albeit with 250w on 1450. Surprisingly, the President and GM of Air-Mart Corp, licensee of WOKE was none other than Harry C. Weaver.

The 1955 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WOKE with 1kw-D/500-w DA-N on 1290, still owned by Mr. Weaver, by far improving over its previous 250 watts, while also besting the 1490/250 watts of competitor WATO.

In the 1956 "B-Y", Air-Mart/WOKE is now owned Owen McReynolds, and Harry is shown as the President of Charleston Broadcasting/WHAN.

WATO's owners purchased the WOKE facilities from A.D. Smith (who bought the station from McReynolds in 1957) sometime in 1958, turning its license for WATO on 1490.

So, it would seem that Weaver sold the Oak Ridge WOKE to come to Charleston and buy WHAN. When the WOKE call letters became available in 1958, Harry put them on WHAN.

Also, one post on the WOKE page says that J.B. Fuqua sold WFAK/730 to Lonnie Moore, who changed the calls to WPAL. Actually, Fuqua of WGAC/Augusta sold WFAK to George Weiss of WBBQ/Augusta in 1948. I cannot imagine what the origin of that deal was. It was Weiss who changed 730 to WPAL in 1950.

Far too much trivial detail? Trivial is about all I'm good for. By the way, J-R has been nominated for a lifetime achievement award in the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. They'll probably insist that he get a haircut before they'll vote him in!  -- Jay Braswell (May 23, 2009)

 


"We lived in Summerville 1987-1999 and I would listen to Buck Clayton on the way to work in the mornings. Originally from the Houston, TX area, I recognized WOKE as unique and a throwback to an earlier time in radio. That uniqueness is what made WOKE worth listening to.

"Sometime right after Hugo hit the area I dropped by the WOKE studio in response to the 'will kit' pitch that was often played. Mr. Weaver was there and we had a brief discussion about how Hugo had destroyed the transmitter tower. He was clearly upset about the damage, but was nevertheless very courteous to me during the visit.

"There will never be another Wonderful WOKE but thank you for providing this website and taking former listener comments." -- Ernie Battle (June 26, 2010)


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