Thursday, March 15, 2007

103.5 History

This is station history post #13 and this next post is the history of 103.5, a station that was formerly WBIR-FM.

103.5 History

In October 1949, 103.5 signed on the air as WBIR-FM. WBIR-FM had a lot of programs and in the 1960s and 1970s, WBIR-AM 1240 (now WIFA-AM 1240) and WBIR-FM 103.5 aired Doc Johnston’s morning show and on that morning show, he would play the piano.

WBIR-FM 103.5 went to an automated MOR format from Drake-Chenault called “Hit Parade” in the early 1970s. Still co-owned with WBIR-TV 10, WBIR-FM 103.5 changed formats in 1977 from automated MOR to country as “Music Country WBIR". The station also aired “The Mulls Singing Convention” on the station.

In 1979, WBIR-FM 103.5 changed formats from country to rock as “Rock 104”. On March 11, 1980, WBIR-FM 103.5 changed call letters to WIMZ-FM. Since then, WIMZ-FM 103.5 has aired a rock format and continues to this day.

(Thanks to Larry Solomon for the WBIR-FM "Rock 104" logo)


lowellblanchard said...

Actually, WBIR-FM went country in Febuary of 1977. The DJ's were Karl Shannon, Ken Johnson, Kathy, Don and Mike Johnson. They gave WIVK-FM a run for their money for a while, but with a change of ownership and Johnny Pirkle getting involved in the mix, WIVK saw an opening, ran with it, and have never looked back.

Joe Cooper said...

I was a late night personality on WBIR-AM (CBS Radio / MOR) when WBIR-FM switched to HIT PARADE. The other change not mentioned that corresponded with the HIT PARADE change was a new, 100kw transmitter, and upgrade to stereo which was a big deal at the time. WBIR A/F's programming director at that time was Howard Gunter who had come to the station from WSB, Atlanta. Doc Johnston was the big draw on radio, and of course, anchored the TV 6PM news. Some of the folks who were on staff at that time were: Ken McGavin, Curtis Parham, and Wayne Edwards (Doc's morning co-host). Charles Haun was general manager of AM and FM at the time.

Steve Howard said...

My roommate at the time, Davd "Dave" Hale, worked some parttime at The Wheel in '80/'81. We lived off-campus at 623 West Hill Avenue, basically right across from Henley Street Baptist Church and next door to the old Lord Lindsey. In fact, it burned while I was still living there. Dave got his MS in computer science from UT and moved to California in early '81 and, as far as I know, left radio.

1n '99 I found Mike Johnson working as Sports Director for Alternative Talk 1380 WELE in Daytona Beach FL. He was also doing play-by-play for Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona.

Steve Howard said...

Ed Knight was the overnight jock on WIMZ in late '80/early '81 while I was overnights on WRJZ. We were both also UT students and often bumped into each other (literally) rounding those "concrete corners" on campus in our sleep-deprived states. Ah, youth.