WROV Listeners Remember

A collection of listener comments sent to our website. A page where YOU can lend us a hand! If you have a WROV story, a photo, a recording you made, or other memorabilia, please share it with us care of the address on the envelope.

December 15, 2009
For years, the name of Jack Fisher's theme song has stumped me! Can you help?

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the information posted on your website. I've often wondered "Whatever Happened to.......".

Thanks for the great memories, and please tell me the name of Jack' s closing song!

Sharon Honaker
Roanoke, VA

Thank you, Sharon. Jack's closing song was "Hand Clapping" by Red Prysock. If you go to our "Hear It Again!" page from the left side menu, you can hear Red's song in the background of the clip entitled "Jack's Final WROV Sign Off" from October 26, 1991.

Red Prysock

September 28, 2009

I stumbled upon this website via Facebook and really enjoyed it! Burt hired me in May of 1983 to work as the front desk receptionist. I was a junior in college and wanted a career in broadcasting more than anything. Although I was supposed to be answering phones, some of the salesmen would grab me to do voice overs for commercial spots. I spent more time in the back recording studio, laughing my ass off with the likes of Grant "Bill" King, Bruce Jacobson, another guy who was a salesman who's name escapes me, while Jeannie Aker Gross sat and answered the phones!

Grant and I would always have the most fun - he cracked me up beyond control - so we knew before recording the serious version of any commercial that we'd have to lay down our own version first. I have a reel to reel tape of these commercials that I haven't heard in decades.

When I got close to the end of my senior year in college, Burt called me and offered me a full-time job doing overnights and then staying on w/Steve for the morning drive. I think he was gonna pay me $15,000 or something huge like that, but I turned it down because I was too afraid to stay in that crappy building, in that crappier neighborhood by myself all night!

Mistake? Maybe, but I'd already worked overnights all through my senior year in college at a heavy metal station in Hagerstown, MD (107X-FM) and knew what overnights were like for 21 year old girls. I ended up back in Roanoke in 1987 and worked part-time for ROV doing Sunday mornings for a while, but again got freaked out by some stalker who would call me the second my show started and do it through the entire show. He eventually called in a false alarm to the station, which sent the fire dept banging down the front door. Too much excitement for me, so I figured I didn't have the guts for radio and left the business.

I have some old photos from those days if you'd like to have them, and I can also give you the tape I still have. I remember those days so fondly, and felt like I was working at WKRP because we were all just as crazy. Great parties, great people.

I enjoyed seeing where everyone I remember is now, but did I read the info correctly that Jeannie has passed away? If so, that really saddens me. We lost touch but while we worked together we were very close. I remember Ellen so fondly as well; she had a great sense of humor and seemed like the normal one in the bunch! Thanks for putting this site together - I have really enjoyed rummaging around on it.

Karin (Morra) Magno
Fishersville, VA

Thank you Karin! Karin is thinking of Grant Simpson. Perhaps she has his name confused with John King who was there about the same time. We've now added Karin to the "Where Are They" page and will be adding some of her photos to the 1980s section soon (including one of Grant).

As for the "crappy building in that crappier neighborhood." During the Levine years, the building was usually well cared for. But it certainly was interesting and very much looked, smelled, and just plain felt like you'd expect the radio station to be (see the page titled "The Building" on the menu to the left for more details). Subsequent owners appear to have scrimped on its upkeep to save money, and by the time it was vacated it was in pretty terrible shape.

The neighborhood was always in one of the "less than desireable" parts of town. Pat Garrett recalls "during the two years that I did the overnight show on a part- or full-time basis, there were three fires, numerous burglaries and one murder ALL within about a block of the station. But all of the hoodlums apparently loved and respected the radio station and left US alone."

Unfortunately, as time went by, this became less and less the case. In the mid-1990s, someone fired a high-powered rifle through the window of the WROV-FM studio which was then on the back side of the building. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. But the person was never caught. This, among other things, led to the studios being moved to their current location on Brandon Avenue.

September 26, 2009
Absolutely LOVIN' reading about WROV (Roanoke's Own Voice), at your site wrovhistory.com which I remember fondly having been there during part of the 1960-63 heyday era (getting up early Saturday mornings to drive over to the Quonset Huts on Cleveland Avenue).

Some additional information. You talked about Ron Sunshine; his REAL name was Jimmy Gilbert. When Bert hired Fred Frelantz he wanted to know if he knew of any OTHER dj's as good as he to invite to join the team. Fred went to school in Enid OK with Jimmy, who had to change his name because when he applied for his SAG card (screen actor's guild), the name Jim Gilbert was already being used by somebody else, so he changed it and the rest is history. He may have been working in NY at the time, I don't know - I just know the connection was being in school in OK with Fred got him the ROV gig.

In fact, the whole month before Ron came, ROV was running promos announcing the upcoming new "star" DJ, Jimmy Gilbert; and when Ron showed up with another name it caused some confusion - everybody liked Ron right away, but the station got a lot of calls wanting to know where Jimmy Gilbert was.

Ron started TeenTown and ran it for the two years he was at the station; after he left it was on I believe, for one more year with another DJ but then was dropped. I was fortunate enough to have represented William Byrd for those two years, and got to know Ron rather well. I can't remember who I was with the first year, but the second year was with a girl named Sharon Howell. Someone named Helen represented Roanoke Catholic, a Gregory girl (whose mother had a WSLS TV show called Panorama) represented Cave Spring. We discussed current issues, teen issued, and as a group "banned" the record Little Egypt or Love Potion #9 or something like that (by the Coasters I believe) for lewd lyrics (boy were we prudes then). There also was a "jump in" quiz part of the show when about 10 questions were asked and the first one to jump up got to answer it and if they were right they won 10 points. Byrd won most of the quizzes.

Memories of the show included many "big-name" guests including Bob Denver, who had the longest earlobes I have ever seen; Gary US Bonds, a seriously hung-over Steve McQueen and Earl Grant whom I totally embarrassed myself with when I asked him "if he realized he sounded like Nat King Cole", to which he smiled and answered, "No, but I hear that Nat is often told he sounds like ME!" I couldn't even find a hole to jump into. Steve McQueen, the night before, had been to a big Junior Achievement shindig at Hotel Roanoke (I was there too) where he was plastered and could barely stand up and say HI to the crowd when announced.

When Ron left it was NOT to go to Dallas as you report. He had always wanted to get into acting, which is why he got his SAG card. He, in fact, went to Los Angeles and began the rounds of interviews and screen tests and cattle calls for movies but mostly TV. My family traveled west later that year and when we hit LA I called Ron. He showed up in a new red Chevrolet convertible (top down - hey it's LA!) and insisted on taking us on a guided tour of Hollywood, the movie studios and all. We spent the whole day being driven around Hollywood wirh Ron. He had landed several small parts and was slated for others.

Some months after we returned to VA he called me to say "watch Bonanza in three weeks" which we did and there he was, standing next to Hoss delivering his lines. It wasn't a large role but he was featured. I don't know what happened later to Ron because we never "touched base" after that.

Thanks for your history - brings back a lot of memories.

Richard Mundy

After scratching our heads, we finally realized that Richard was referring to Adam Hill, not Ron Sunshine. Adam is a former staff member that we still hope to find. If you have any leads, please send them to along or have Adam drop us a line.

As for Ron Sunshine, many over the years have asked if that is, in fact, his real name. During one of the "Hall of Fame Reunion" shows of the early 1980s, Fred Frelantz brought this up. To which Jack Fisher replied, "No. His real name is HARRY Sunshine..."

June 12, 2009

I want to ask if you have any photos of former employees that were no included on your history website. My mom worked there in the 70's. I'm not sure when because I was small, but I do remember that Bart worked there also. He use to kinda, well never mind; he was a fun person.

She was an assistant manager; her name was Marie Brown. She worked long hours there and I was surprised that not even her name was listed. I was hoping that her picture was there so I could show her grandchildren as that she is deceased now.

I'm sorry that I don't know when she worked there, but I do remember us getting tickets to see The Eagles and The Doobie Brothers. I also remember that she got a chance to meet Billy Joel. I guess the last hint to her I can give you is that she would laugh and say that the guys at that time thought she was white with a cool tan and an Afro (she was very light complected).

We had fun there me and my little sister pretending to be in charge. I just was hoping to see a glimpse of the past. It was great to see the old pics of Bart and the Wolfman.

Thank you very much,
Theresa Dandridge Wone

P.S If there is anyone that remembers her it is possible that her last name at that time was Dandridge .

Hi, Theresa. Thanks for writing and for sending the info on your mom. From what you said, it definitely sounds like your mom was there (I mean, the comment you made about BP pretty much confirms this.) But since none of us who work directly on the website remember her, we're now checking with some of the others.

Our general policy with respect to adding people to the employee lists on the website is to find someone among the former staffers who remembers them and can verify "yeah, I remember her." While this sometimes takes a while, it ensures the validity of the information presented here. So bear with us. In the meantime, if you can send along any additional memories or details, please do!

March 25, 2009
My dad, Marion Stoner, is listed on your 1940s, though his name is spelled incorrectly in one spot. If you would be so kind, I would love it if you would change "Marin Stoner" to "Marion Stoner" in the list of WROV Staff 1946-1949. My dad worked at WROV when my parents got married on March 8, 1947. They met when he worked at WKZO in Kalamazoo, MI in June 1943. He was only 22 when WROV went on the air.

My dad was a broadcast engineer for his entire career. He expanded into television in 1952 at WJBK in Detroit. He worked there for 19 years, for most of the time as their Chief Engineer. Unfortunately, he passed away in June 2004.

My mom is still living, and in September 2007, she and I made a brief visit to Roanoke, which I found to be a lovely city. We even were able to find and photograph the house my parents lived in during their brief time in Roanoke. She described it as being on the outskirts of the city, though it no longer is.

Thanks for your great website. I've already emailed a link to my brother, and plan to send it to my mom as well, but am waiting to see if you can get the spelling corrected first.

Thanks very much!
Mary Anne Stoner

Thank you, Mary Anne, for writing and pointing out our mistake (which has now been corrected). And good luck finding some old photos from the time your dad worked at WROV. So far we've not been able to find any pictures that show the original studios, though we know some are bound to exist somewhere.

February 9, 2009
Hi guys...

My name is Robert Stafford. I am 49 years old. I reside in Bristol, Tennessee and have for 10 years but grew up in Roanoke during the heydays.

I cant tell you the enjoyment and childhood memories stirred up by your site. Anyway I am really enjoying the new addition of the Bart Prater Cave Spring High School interview. It got me to thinking. When I was in high school at WILLIAM BYRD I tape recorded an interview with CHUCK HOLLOWAY at the studios at 15th and CLeveland.

Since there are no air checks known of CHUCK, I am planning to tear my MOM'S house in ROANOKE up looking for this tape upon my next visit. I remember Chuck was very gracious in giving me this interview. I only hope and pray it still exists as well as hundreds of cassette tapes I made just of ROV and all the jocks during the 70s.

Although my dream was also to become a DJ at WROV, alas it never came to pass, but the memories of those days I will always cherish. Hope to write again soon with good news. Keep those fingers crossed, never whittle toward yourself or spit into the wind. Goodnight ROANOKE for now.

Robert Stafford
Bristol, Tennessee

Robert! Thanks for doing your best to find the recording of Chuck. Be sure to find your mother another place to live while you're tearing up her house, looking for the tape. Glad you enjoyed the BP interview, as well. Even though you never became one of the WROV DJs, we'll now bestow upon you the title of "Honorary WROV Personality For Life" (which, with $1.25 will buy you a Bowl With at the Texas Tavern). Good luck searching for any of your old WROV tapes, and please do stay in touch.

Robert, who is driving the excavator, has now torn apart half of
his mother's house looking for the Chuck Holloway interview.

January 25, 2009
I don’t know if you are interested, but I have a tape that has 20-30 minutes of audio of Jack Fisher from a 1985 broadcast (last show). It does not run to the final signoff, but brought back memories nevertheless. Let me know if you are interested. Thanks.


Alan, did we ever get back to you regarding this? Yes, we'd love to have a copy of your recording of Jack. The same thing goes for all the rest of you who may dig up old tapes, Musicards, or other relics from the station. If you do, mail us at the address listed at the bottom of this page.

December 24, 2008
Hey Folks!

Glad to see more updates to the WROV history site!!

I may have missed it... but ... what's the latest on the restoration of the Gates diplomat audio board??

Also, any idea of the whereabouts of the old BC1T AM transmitter? Hopefully it's been maintained or restored too!!

Lastly, (a non WROV question if I may) .... What will be happening to the VHF band after Feb 2009... when all the local TV affiliates go digital?? I've tried to google the answer .. but can't seem to find out.. So, I thought I'd ask some broadcast oriented folks like you!

Cheers.. and.. Happy Holidays!!
Dave Lewis

Hi Dave! The Gates Diplomat board is in the partially restored condition that Bucky Stover (who was restoring it until we lost him in 2006) left it. It is currently in storage in a VERY SECRET LOCATION but is doing fine while a few of us decide its future. The BC-1H is being restored by a gentleman named Mike Hess who has details about it on his website. The VHF band will keep broadcasting the same channels on the same frequencies after the switch-over on February 17, 2009 only they'll now be digital instead of analog, and you'll need one of those converter box thingies to receive the broadcasts. Everything you need to know about this, and then some, can be found here.

April 5, 2008
I was recently reminiscing about my childhood and remembered a song I heard on WROV. It was "Pickle Jar Lid" and I believe it was done by Bart Prater or one of the other DJs. I'd love to have a copy of the song, can you help me?

Roger Sweeney

"Pickle Jar Lid" can be heard on the "Hear The Voices" page (see link on the left) in the "Bart" section.

January 22, 2008
I have written a history book about WDBJ radio that will be published by the historical society in Roanoke. All of the competing stations, including WROV, are included in the last chapter of the book. I have included photos of Burt Levine and Lee Garrett in the WROV section that I downloaded from your web site and would like your permission to use these photos. How should the photos be cited?

Thanks for your help.

Jim Dalmas

We assisted Jim with his book and are proud to receive some credit for the finished product. You can learn more about his book here and order a copy from the History Museum of Western Virginia site.

A book signing was held for Jim's book at the WDBJ-7 studios on July 31, 2008.
This photo features all present who ever worked for WDBJ AM, FM or TV. From
L to R: WDBJ-TV Manager Jeff Marks, Mary Lee Sharp (Irv's wife), Ed Ewing,
Herm Reavis, Mel Linkous, Curtis Downey, Jim Dalmas and Pat Garrett (who
worked for the AM & FM after they became WFIR and WPVR). Ed Ewing was the
guy who worked the Heidi, Oregano and Miss Gillie puppets on Irv Sharp's
afternoon kiddie show, "Cartoon Theater."

January 8, 2008
We are currently doing research on early Virginia rockabilly musicians and bands and I would like to talk to you about some of your archive material and whether you know where some of these people might currently be.

Thank you, Roddy Moore
Director, Blue Ridge Institute, Ferrum College

Roddy, you're welcome to any of it you wish to use. But I think the Blue Ridge Institute is where we "borrowed" most of it from in the first place...!

December 16, 2007
I stumbled across you site today. Congrats on a great job. I am age 50 and grew up in Roanoke listening to WROV. Have not lived in Roanoke in 25+ years. Every time I return something else is gone like Victory Stadium and Patrick Henry HS.

You have captured some great old audio clips that really bring back memories.

Tom Taylor
Fairfax, VA

Thanks Tom. We know what you mean. At least the Texas Tavern is still there, thank God.

November 21, 2007
I, unfortunately, never ventured into Roanoke during the "heyday" of WROV, so I never got to hear it "live" (thank goodness for archived airchecks) but I KNEW what a great radio station it was, just by word of mouth in the industry. It's obvious that Mr. Levine knew talent when he saw it, and a LOT of those guys later came thru my town, Richmond Virginia , where we had our own AM Top 40 legend , 1480 WLEE, (which I would love to see someone create a site comparable to the WROV site).

I was aware of WROV's 70s history and knew they had a glorious 1960s history, but until I read this site, I never knew much about their pre-1970 history, now I know who Fred Frelantz is and how important he was to WROV in the Sixties. It's amazing how much talent that station contributed to radio. I was lucky to have met such talented WROV alumni as Bob Canada, Dale Parsons, Starr Stevens (although he was at WRVQ and then went to WROV) and Terry Young during their stops in Richmond.

I also remember hearing Donnie Brook and Bob Scott during their WLEE days in the 1960s. I also got lucky and met Phil Beckman during his stay at WQRK in Norfolk. I even met Ken Tanner briefly once in the mid-70s. The one thing I noticed with all those guys was just how much their talent simply jumped out of the radio speaker at you. They all had that something special. Now I think I know why. I also heard tapes of, but never got to meet the great Bart Prater, but I DID meet his son, Jay, when he was in Richmond at WBZU. Talent seems to run in that family.

One very minor detail that I'd like to point out, is that Tom Joyner sold WROV AM & FM to Benchmark Broadcasting out of Baltimore in 1995 , and then a few years later Benchmark sold it to Capstar. ( I was working for Capstar in Richmond at the time )

The station is gone, but this website is a great testimonial to a VERY historic and influential radio station , WROV-AM.

Matt Nicholls, Richmond VA

Thanks Matt, for setting us straight on the Capstar / Benchmark years; also for all the info in the other emails (which will not be posted here because of all the "for the family only" stuff they contain). Starr stays in touch with most of the surviving WLEE folks. Maybe one of them will do a tribute site. That WOULD be great.

October 5, 2007

I came across your website just yesterday and spent that latter half of my work day trying to read as much as possible and then when I got home, turned on the computer speakers and listened to the jingles, commercials and DJs talk. What great memories!! It was like being a pre-teen and teen again in Roanoke in the summertime. Life was simple, things were good. Fantastic website.

My listening period was roughly the early 60s through late 70s (I was born in 1956 and moved to Roanoke in 1959).

All of us probably didn’t know what a great radio station WROV was back then – we knew it was good in Roanoke – but we couldn’t compare to other stations outside Roanoke. But looking back on it, there was something going on all the time and it was super. It was the best station in the country and Roanoke was very fortunate to have WROV.

I won a WROV Halloween Party House. I forget what year, but it was in the very late 60s. I lived on Sugarloaf and all the kids I was trick-or-treating with were kidding me. Every door that opened up, “Are you the WROV Halloween Party House?” Puzzled looks from the parent, “No”. Get candy and move on to the next house. Finally the parent said “yes” and all my friends were so jealous!! I’ll never forget it. The only bad part was carrying around that 6-pack of Coke the rest of the night and back up the mountain. But damn, I was proud as hell.

During middle school, called intermediate in those days, I’d seek out my portable radio, hit it under the sheets, put in my single ear phone and dial in 1240. I went to bed pretty early, and when you dropped your power from 1000 to 250W for night time, I could barely pick you up.

Radio sucks these days. Wish you guys could do it all over again. But I guess I should consider my fortune at being able to have listened in.

Again, great website. A fantastic trip down memory lane. Too bad the buildings are no longer there. Someone should re-build them and make it into a museum of radio in Roanoke.

Craig Strautin Durham, NC

Thank you Craig! Craig went to Cave Spring High School at the same time as Steve Finnegan, Pat Garrett and Cliff Beach. The Sugarloaf subdivision is at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain, the one you can see off of Electric Road (419). There's a huge house built into its side near the top. During the early 1980s, movie actress Debbie Reynolds (Carrie Fisher's mother) lived there.

September 29, 2007
Please consider a link to what is left of a great Lynchburg station, WWOD.

I have tried to preserve what is left on the following web site:


There are airchecks from 1973 and old photos. Also some recent photos taken in 2007 of what is left of the studio and equipment (sad). The station no longer exist.

Dick Bartley, a syndicated radio show, got his start at WWOD in 1969. The page has traffic count that puts it in the top 10 pages on this site that was primarily meant to preserve Minneapolis St. Paul radio history.

Let me know.

Rick Burnett

You've got it, my friend. A good site, done with the assistance of our own Mr. Beckman, no less.

Rick as "Rick Mason" on WWOD, 1973

August 2, 2007
WOW, your web page is a blast from the past! A friend told me about it because he knew I could get some information. I am in search of some original card board concert poster from the 60’s. In those days, WROV sponsored bringing in the headliners. If you know of a source, I would greatly appreciate it if you would put me in touch with them.

Thank you for the memories (they were great too!),

Rita Wygal
Salem, VA

Hi Rita. We don't know of anyone selling posters for the Roanoke shows that WROV brought to town with the help of Pete Apostolou, Fred, Jack, Ron and others. If we did, we'd be scarfing those up ourselves. Anybody? As for others of the era, there used to be ads for collectors selling those in various music magazines. Today I'd look on Ebay. Good luck!

August 1, 2007
I am a radio station history aficionado and big fan of the old top 40 format. Today I heard an ad on XM Radio for their scheduled recreation of WROV this Friday. Tonight, I went to the internet to see if there is any history of WROV on the web. Your site is one of the best radio sites I have ever seen. Thanks for the fun reading.

Marshall Leach
Atlanta, GA

And we're glad you enjoyed it. There are lots of radio station tribute sites out there and we like to think ours is among the best. Glad you agree!

January 12, 2007
I have a personal connection with WROV, having been a regular on the Saturday morning "Teen Town". I represented Lucy Addison High School along with Carolyn Koger.

Each city / county school had one male and one female representative. I had previously spent four years at St. Andrews/Roanoke Catholic before transferring to Addison and thus had been classmates with the two Roanoke Catholic representatives. I believe the building shown on your home page was where Teen Town was broadcast from in 1960 and 1961. I recall driving from my home on 10th Street in NW Roanoke through Wasena to get to the building.

Segregation was still the order of the day and Teen Town was one of the very few places that black and white teenagers could mix.

Whatever happened to Ron Sunshine? How long was Teen Town on the air?

I remember the show very well and really enjoyed my tenure there. One of the oddities of the show was the "voice recognition" that I encountered in the black community afterwards. I can distinctly recall incidents such as getting on a bus and asking the driver for a transfer - only to have a black passenger recognize my voice from the show and identifying me as "Thomas Dudley" or "the guy on Teen Town".

I really had a lot of fun, particularly when Addison won the trivia quiz - which was frequently the case as I was very good at trivia. It would really be great to have a reunion of past guests on that show.

Thomas Dudley
WROV 1240 Teen Town Regular 1960 - 1961
Lucy Addison High School Class of 1961

Thanks Thomas! We think Teen Town was on the air through 1969 and was cancelled about the time that Fred left. Jack may remember and we will ask him.

Thomas' original letter included a few memories of the racial tension prevalent in the segregated Roanoke of 1961. Those were omitted at his request. All we want to say is that now—almost 50 years later—we see Dr. King's dream is coming true and those old days are almost behind us. And it's about damned time!

Thomas is the creator of the Lucy Addison High School website, another great place to visit for more Roanoke history.

The new Lucy Addison High School in 1953.
Today it is Lucy Addison Aerospace Magnet Middle School.

December 9, 2006
Love the updates! I keep checking back every week, at least on Sundays, hoping to catch something new! Loving it all the while!

One question, though: Does anyone happen to have an aircheck from Chuck Holloway? It's another one of those things that's going through my mind, trying to place a voice with the pictures, like I used to do with you, BP, BJ the DJ and others. I'm trying to remember what The Chucker sounded like, but I'm coming up empty.

This site has been a wonderful source for rekindling old music memories from my childhood and I was wondering if you or anyone else could help on this one, too.

Keep up the fantastic work you've been doing, we all love it. And, I don't know if anyone says this to you at all, Thank You for this site.

Matt Lalor
East Alton, IL

Matt! Glad you like the updates. I just wish we were better about putting them out there more often. Will try to be better about that.

I wish we had an aircheck from Chuck. I'm certain that some exist. They are probably in the possession of his wife. Several of us (Phil, Rich, FIN and Pat) have been trying to find her for several years and have even tried an email address we came up with, but so far, no luck. At least we have lots of pictures. Chuck had a very deep and resonant set of pipes. Right now I can hear him in my head. Will try to send it to you via ESP.

Thanks for all the nice words about the site. Glad you like it...!

August 23, 2006
I have thoroughly enjoyed the ROV History site, I have read every word, followed every link. Thanks so much for all the work you put into it.

I was born in Roanoke Memorial Hospital in February 1931, and lived the first forty years in Roanoke.

I was a big RADIO FAN from an early age, I remember when WSLS went on the air, as well as ROV and all the rest.

One thing you did not mention, and maybe I am wrong, but I believe ROV carried all of the Roanoke Red Sox baseball games back in the 50's. I was a big fan of the Sox back then, and followed every game.

If I remember correct, Coleman Austin did all of the play by play live remote from Red Sox Stadium, and when the Sox were on the road, he did play by play recreated using information teletyped to him from where ever they were playing. He had sound effect of the crowd and other sounds.

I remember sitting in my Dads station wagon with my girlfriend at 2 or 3 in the morning in her Dad's driveway listening to WROV.

Later I had occasion to become friends with a lot of local Radio and TV people, among my favorite friends were Al Beckley, George Dyer, John Altizer, Adrian Cronauer (who is now an FCC attorney here in Washington, DC), Frank Tirico who put WRFT on the air (I was a part time engineer for him for 7 years, Mike Cavanaugh was his Chief part of the time, Mike was former sheriff of Rke County), Al Dyson DBJ, Jim Shell (I am still in frequent contact with his son, Bob, who is a photographer in Radford, VA). I am sure there were plenty more, just can't think of them now.

Kendall Pinion
Riverdale, MD

Mr. Pinion, a real pleasure to hear from you, sir. Will work your memories of the Red Sox games and Coleman into the content of the website, and also ask Lee Garrett what he remembers about those games.

Of those you mentioned, most have passed on.

However, Adrian Cronauer is still alive and well. Ade never worked at WROV but through agency work his voice was heard there all the time in the 1960s and 1970s. He has ties to many of the WROV family. He's good friends with Jim Clark. He's the guy who painstakingly taught Bucky Stover to enunciate names of days of the week correctly by making him sit there repeating "Tues-DAY...Wednes-DAY, Thurs-DAY..." during their days working together at WPVR. And Pat Garrett was a producer for his morning classical music show, "Musicale," on WVWR-FM (now WVTF) in 1976-77.

As most of you know, Ade was the subject of the movie "Good Morning Vietnam" starring Robin Williams. Pat says "Even now—almost 20 years later—whenever that movie comes up in a conversation and I tell people 'I used to work with that guy,' NOBODY believes me."

Adrian Cronauer, 2002. Photo courtesy of the
U.S. Dept. of Defense website.

August 16, 2006
Loved the site! It was nice to see familiar faces.

I was the Chief Engineer for a few years. I knew Jeff Dickerson, Steve Curtiss and I worked with Steve Finnegan at WMAG. I was hired by Mike Slenski and the first thing done was to put Lynchburg on the air.

Darrell Vick
General Manager
WGUN AM Atlanta

You know Steve Finnegan and you're willing to admit that in public? Thanks for writing Darrell. Stay in touch!

August 5, 2006

I thought I would write with one memory that stands out in my mind of the AM WROV.

During the early to mid 80's on Saturday nights from 7p-12a there was an all request oldies show done by a jock name of Skeets Diamond. I was probably 12 or 13 when I started listening and I would call with requests my father wanted to hear.

It was through these weekly calls that sometimes he would keep me on the line sometimes for a couple of hours and did not seem to mind talking to me one bit. I cant remember what his real name was but he did tell me his day job was at the post office. Any idea where this man may be??

I was supposed to meet him all those years ago but the meeting never materialized. If he is still in the area I would still like to meet him. Also I had an idea and I'm going to run it by the FM ROV to see if they will do this. I think once in a while they should have a ROV legends weekend and all of the AM jocks who are still around can do shifts through that weekend playing nothing but classic rock.

Also being a fan of Rob O, Bart, and Larry I would love to see or uh should I say HEAR this happen. What do you guys think???

Tony Smith
Roanoke, VA

Tony! Thanks for writing again. No we still haven't found Skeets. Maybe one day he'll find us. That's one reason why we list all known staff members' names on the website. If Skeets ever types his air name into the search engine, he will find the site and we hope he'll drop us a line.

The possibility of some of us getting together for a WROV weekend either on the FM, the former AM, or even by webcast, has come up several times. Many of us would love to do it. On the other hand, many of us believe that the finished product would never live up to the hype and peoples' expectations so best to leave well enough alone. Kind of like that late 1970s Beatles Reunion that never happened. If we ever decide to do it and find a venue, you'll hear about it here and on the Roanoke Radio site.

June 15, 2006
Greetings WROV!

I noticed a Biff-Burger commercial on your website from 1965 and was pleased to listen to it after searching the internet for years for any Biff-Burger related commercials and/or jingles!

I am the webmaster and research historian on the former Biff-Burger Drive-Ins and host a well known website on Biff-Burger at:


Many of my friends, such as Twig Gravely, who manages a website about Kenney Burgers, mentioned about this commercial MP3 on your website.

I was wondering if I could get permission to post this MP3 file of the WROV 1965 Biff-Burger Commercial on my website with proper credit?

Looking forward to your response as I am looking at expanding the website to include advertising such as newspaper ads, radio commercials, and promotional material.

Christopher Catherman
Biff-Burger Historian

Well of course you can use it, Chris. Thank you very much for asking. For those who didn't already know, Kenney's started out in Roanoke as Biff-Burger. You can read about this on Twig's Kenney's site. Follow that link above. And if you really like and have access to Kenney's sauce (available in Roanoke at most Kroger stores) try making a Kenney's Meat Loaf.

Bill Kenney was our guest and cooked Kenney Burgers for us at the
2008 WROV Reunion. Photo courtesy of Twig Gravely.

June 10, 2006
Thanks for the tip on finding WROV air tapes on CD. I ordered a set and am delighted!

Are there air tapes of shows from the 1950s. I am thinking of Jivin' Jackson, Ron Sunshine, Jerry Joynes, etc. DJs that preceded Fred Frelantz and others from the mid-60s. Somewhere through this process I read of a second WROV session on XM radio, do you know the date?

Thanks again,
Ron Garvey

Thanks Ron! The only surviving audio of Jivin' Jackson—that we know of—is the piece that's on the "Here The Voices" page (see link on the left). It's short, but it's him. Someone once contacted Uncle Larr regarding an old 8mm movie that featured a few minutes of him but this guy has apparently moved on and, alas, we'll probably never hear from him again. There's are also clips of Jerry, also Ron from the 1972 Nostalgia Weekend as well. Ron says he has some old tapes buried in one of his closets. I'll start pestering him about finding those.

There have been several WROV tributes hosted by our own Terry Young on the XM "60s on 6" channel. Tune in to Terry to find out when the next one will be.

To all: the guy who has the XM "WROV" shows on CD is Art Vuolo. If you order any of Art's CDs, tell him we said "hello."

Jivin' Jackson shares a cigarette with a six-year-old girl.
NO!!! Not really!! We're just kidding!!!!! This was from an
appearance he made in the late 1950s. So no, due to the
age of the photo the girl with the glasses can't possibly
be Sarah Palin.

April 17, 2006

You have a link on the WROV History web site to "Skylersplace.com"

That's my site & I certainly appreciate the link!

I have however, moved my site to another location and would please request that you update the link to the following:


Once again, I thank you for the link and I will place a reciprocal link on "Skylersplace" for you as well.

Much obliged!!

Patrick Old
Roanoke, VA

Consider it fixed, my friend. To all: there are some great old pictures of Kenney's and Lakeside here. There were lots of old WDBJ-TV photos as well. Patrick, where are those these days? I don't see them on the WDBJ7 site either...??

March 25, 2006
I remember in the early 80's listening to WROV every Saturday night to the all request oldies show, hosted by Skeets Diamond. I could not find his name in your history. He was my favorite.

Tony Smith

Thanks, Tony. Skeets is now in the lists of staffers on the 80s pages. If you remember or dig up any more info on him, please send it along. Sorry we didn't remember to add him first time around. Sometimes those of us who do the site don't remember each other either. It varies from day to day, depending on how much we've had to drink.

March 12, 2006

My father was Jimmy Witter and I have just been learning about where he worked and who he was as he passed when I was very young. I found he worked here in 1961 and 1962 under his name and then went on under Ron Hart. I now have children of my own and we are all so very interested in learning about my father. The only pictures we have ever seen were on a website, and while this may be a bit sad, I think it is great that we have the opportunity to find anything. We would appreciate any information and maybe pictures you could pass on to us.

We look forward to hearing from you,

James Witter

We have repeatedly tried to contact James for more info regarding his dad, but haven't heard back from him...

February 11, 2006
Hi Folks! Really glad this site is here! THANK YOU for archiving what obviously was a VERY special element of Roanoke history! I have SO enjoyed digging thru and learning about WROV thru the years. It really was "The Station I Grew Up With."

I'm in my early 30's now and I have so many childhood memories of Bart and Rob O' on the radio and the Fisher-Frelantz oldies show on Saturdays. My Dad grew up with the station as well and would talk about things he remembered (Lendy's Drive In and being at Andrew Lewis High) as those songs played.

On into my early teens (mid 80's) WROV (AM) was still really important as my musical taste became more evolved there was Rob O' in the afternoon playing some old Moody Blues or Steppenwolf and John Andrews' show was GREAT in the late hours. I can remember him playing CREAM and JETHRO TULL tracks and a whole evening of GRATEFUL DEAD music when they came to town in '87. I learned a lot from John's show (mind you this was still in the days BEFORE "classic rock radio").

I was fortunate to intern at the station in the early 90's. Much of the work I did was on the FM side of the building but my heart really was over in the Quonset Hut with the old AM studio and transmitter. I hung around in that damp atmosphere as often as I could, knowing all those special years had taken place there! This website really proves that to be true!

I have to mention my warmest memory of my internship there was Jim Carroll paying me a compliment on my voice. I can still recall the thrill of hearing the man who himself had such a brilliant, rich voice randomly saying to me "You should be on the air!" WOW!! I'll never forget that. It really meant A LOT to me!

(Un)fortunately, I didn't "find my groove" in the radio business. Perhaps I was born in the wrong generation. I craved what radio WAS rather than what it has become.

One last memory of mine: I can still recall one of the station ID's, probably a late 60's early 70's clip that started with some funky music and the the bold voice says "ROCKIN STEADY MOMMA.....WROV!" Anyone else recall it??

Anyway THANKS AGAIN! Please keep adding to this site!! I promise to tell others about it!!

Dave Lewis

Wow! Thanks for the memories, Dave! You're thinking about the Gary Gears ID. Gary worked at WLS Chicago and had a hell of a set of pipes. Here is the original. The "funky music" was added later (we're still looking for a good cut of that version and will have it on the Jingles page when we find one).

"WROV, Roanoke... Rockin' steady, baby" was heard at the top
of every hour in the mid-70s and was voiced by Gary Gears.

January 18, 2006
My name is Bill Groff, a student at Cave Spring High School from '75 through graduation in '78, and I remember WCSH very well, playing in the cafeteria during "Gain Time." Remember that modular scheduling crap? I seem to remember the catch phrase as "Ya Can't Cut Us Off".

Anyway, I love the ROV site, and have practically inhaled every page. I remember listening to Rob O' when I woke up, and Pat Garrett on WCSH during lunch, then BP on the way home down Chapparal Drive to 419. I do remember Rob O' telling Roanoke about the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash, and then playing "Sweet Home Alabama."

Lastly, I always wondered: Are Pat and Lee Garrett related?

Take care, and thanks for the site!

Bill Groff

Thank you Bill! WCSH (not to be confused with the real one that was in Portland, ME) was the closed-circuit radio station heard in the Cave Spring High School cafeteria, during lunch, on the intercom system. During 1975-1976 the DJs included future WROV jocks Steve Finnegan, Pat Garrett and Cliff Beach. The station used drops by WROV's Starr Stevens and Bucky Stover. Since it was closed circuit, they said "What's so different about WCSH? You can't cut us off!" Talk about a captive audience. If you want to learn more about WCSH during that era, go here!!!

Lee and Pat are not related, but if each received a dollar for every time they were asked this, both would be millionaires today. Actually, Lee's real name is Homer Holcomb, Jr. and he is a first cousin of Tommy (of The Vikings, also partner at Creative Advertising with Fred and John Hartmann in the early 70s) and Nancy (who was married to Jack Fisher for 25 years). And you thought it was difficult trying to keep up with the British Royal Family...

The two Garretts of Roanoke Broadcasting, Lee & Pat, 2005

December 9, 2005
What a wonderful Christmas present! My sister stumbled into the site by Googling my name under Images and, as Rob O'Brady used to say, "Viola!" (sic).

I hope to make a small written contribution in the near future, if that's acceptable to you. WROV news was my first full-time job right out of college, starting in Sept. 1973, and home to some of the best memories of my life. Thanks for keeping them alive.

PS: The text on the first page of the home page implies all those named "are no longer with us." Are all those folks deceased - or was it a mixture of living and dead? I am saddened to see so many names.

My best wishes to all of you, and especially those I used to work with.

Thanks again, and Happy Holidays,

Mark Fryburg
WROV News Sept. 1973 - Jan 1977 & March 1978 - Dec. 1979

Now that we're in touch with Mark, Kathy and Paul Houston, we'll have to add a WROV News section to the website. Stay tuned!

And sadly, those listed on the home page have moved on to their final, great radio gig in the next life. We miss them dearly but know they're up there watching, helping us with the website from above. Especially Fred!

December 15, 2005
I lived in Roanoke from 1964-2000 I loved WROV growing up with Fred and Jack and I am still a big fan of Rob O'Brady and Bart Prater but my all time favorite is the old Laban and Larry show.

Laban Johnson was a teacher of mine at Patrick Henry high back in 77 and I loved to listen to him and Larry Bly on WROV always made me laugh and I loved the music they played thanks for this great site.

David C. Renfro
Gate City Va.

Thanks David. One of these days (as soon as we have time to edit it a bit) we'll be adding a Laban & Larry aircheck to the site. In the meantime we'll pass your message onto Uncle Larr who will love hearing from you.

In addition to their WROV radio show, Laban and Larry
did restaurant reviews for The Roanoker magazine.

December 9, 2005
Thanks for making a wife and mom of three boys remember she was once twenty-something and having a great time working for WROV news.

Mark Fryburg gave me my first job in news and after some time at other stations I returned to work with Rick Mosher and Bruce Jacobson. It was definitely one of the best times of my life and my letter of recommendation from Burt Levine helped to keep me employed for a number of years. I only began to recognize Burt's real radio clout later, when I saw the reaction of potential employers to that letter.

I have spent the morning re-living some great memories because of all your work on the site and just wanted to let you know how appreciated your efforts are.

Kathy (Winstel) Randall

Kathy also worked for Channel 10, WFIR and WPVR. She's married to Mike Randall who was a host of PM Magazine on Channel 7.

November 18, 2005
Just found the website, and can't believe my good fortune...Worked for Burt & Muriel and shared an office with Rob-O for 2+ of the most interesting years of my life, but time & distance have seldom brought me back to "The Magic City". Given that my years as "continuity director" coincided with some of the more chaotic times at the station (July '81--Sept '83), it was great to finally have the entire chronology.

Just a couple of personal remembrances...Burt hired me when I was a new mom, with a rather thin resume & no local contacts--my husband Carl and I were escaping the "trickle down economics" of the rust belt part of Pennsylvania, where'd I'd worked for WVAM/WPRR in Altoona. When Carl had job interviews, and before daycare was widely available, Burt let me bring my six month-old son Ben (playpen and all!) to the office, explaining that, as the father of six, he could understand my situation. What a guy...

I loved the things Burt came up with to promote the station & help make the whole City Market project front page news....the "Everybody's High School Reunion", the Beach Party, the New Year Parties...good times, good times.

I guess because I didn't have political baggage (or for that matter, a clue) of what had gone on before I got there, I lived pretty much in the moment, and my memories are happy ones. However, I'll never forget the day Muriel fell ill--because I'd scheduled a meeting to give my notice, as I was expecting my second child. The sorrow and confusion and fear we all felt was palpable, because Muriel was a force to be reckoned with, and Burt was so utterly at a loss what to do without her. I stayed on a few extra months, and not long after our son Dan was born, family needs of our own took us back to PA.

Hello to any of the good folks from days of yore who remember me...Carl & I live in Merritt Island FL, near the Space Center...Ben, now 24 & married was just deployed to Iraq (82nd Airborne)...Dan, now 22 is a senior in Communications at University of S. Florida. Our 19 yr old Becky is a sophomore there.

Sandy Bump

Sandy is going to find us some photos and take her place of honor on our 'Where Are They Now' page. And our prayers and best wishes go out to Ben and the 82nd in the Middle East.

October 26, 2005
I really enjoy reminiscing the sixties and seventies and remembering (or trying to) all the personalities. One question, though... Wasn't there a d.j. for a short while named "John Signa"; I thought I remembered him being here after leaving WOWO in Fort Wayne. Could be old age fogging my memory though. Thanks, again, for a great site.

Mike Burke

Mike, you are correct. John Cigna (with a "C") worked at WROV from 1968-1969, the era that Jack Fisher thinks was the best sounding era in the station's history (and with a staff that featured John, Jack, Fred Frelantz, Bart Prater, Danny Williams, and Marty Shayne, he was probably right). John ended up in Pittsburgh doing a talk show on KDKA and he just retired a few years ago. We've tried to get in touch with him through the radio station but so far, no luck...

John Cigna during
his KDKA years.

September 26, 2005
Stumbled across this site today and what a flashback! I moved to Roanoke in 1965 (6 years old!) and remember listening later on to Ron Tompkins, Bart, Fred Frelantz, The Bly Guy and all the others on my transistor radio (loved how that reverb could bridge a loose spot segue)!

One fond memory was a Jr. high “field trip” to ‘ROV back in the early 70’s when we all actually crammed into the small studio. Bart fired a spot and it was DEAD AIR!! Yours truly had clumsily kicked the cart deck power cord out of the floor socket and was mortified when Burt Levine buzzed the studio asking if everything was OK. Bart calmly told him it was just a “bad cart” and kept things moving!

It truly was the “station I grew up with” and thanks to ‘ROV & Adrian Cronauer I got into radio myself (first at WSLC/WSLQ then did the radio gypsy thing for about 15 years). A lot of magic came out of that short little tower!

Mitch Todd
Director of Production
Music & Marketing
Sirius Satellite Radio

Mitch! Darn good to hear from you. We won't mention all those times in the early 80s when you visited Pat at WROV at 3AM with the bottle of Jack Daniel's in your briefcase...

Mitch was Brad Mitchell on WSLC during the early 1980s.

September 24, 2005
Hi guys...great site! My name is Bill Purcell. I'm a retired state trooper and musician here in Roanoke. I've written Twig Gravely and Steve Nelson about some old photos I have of my father and the Tide Family Band who had a show on WSLS in the early '60's.

The reason I'm writing is that I noticed you listed George Dyer as an employee at WROV. I don't know if you're interested, but I have a nice professional photo of George playing drums with my Dad and Mom at one of the area clubs (I think it was Lock Haven Country Club). I wasn't sure if you were interested in putting it on your site, but let me know if you are. Thanks.

Bill Purcell

Thanks Bill! All of us who grew up or lived in Roanoke in the 60s loved watching your dad, Gordon, Roy, Andy, Lee and the rest of the Tide Family. Looking forward to the photo of George.

This lineup of the Tide Family featured Jay Dillon (Low Tide), Bill Sr. (Tongue Tide),
Roy Lemon (Paw Tide), Gordon Reid (Ebb Tide) and King Edward Smith (Bow Tide)

August 31, 2005
On Friday 9/23 I will salute, remember & become 1240 WROV on XM Radio's 60's on 6 channel. I worked there in 1972 & 73 as their night jock. I also grew up listening to them since I was 11 years old. I am mentioned on the web site as well as my father Ray Bentley. I have air checks, jingles, the old chime time format & all the memories of Roanoke. From 4pm-9pm the 60's on 6 will become 1240 WROV on 9/23. Personalities featured will be Bart Prater, Fred Frelantz & Jack Fisher. I have great memories of this great top 40 radio station that no longer exists. A CD of the 5 hours will be available. I hope you will listen!

Terry Young The MotorMouth
XM Radio
Washington DC

We did listen and Terry KICKED ASS. If you'd like to hear his entire WROV salute, you may order the show on CDs from Art Vuolo, one of our pals who sells collectable radio airchecks.

Terry (middle) with Phlash Phelps (left) and Pat Clarke
of XM's "The 60s on 6"

August 27, 2005
Just been browsing your website. My family moved to Roanoke in 1961, my 9th grade year, so I was plonked down in the middle of the heyday with Ron, Fred, Jerry Joynes, the Voice of the Turtle, etc.

Later, I think it would have been the summer of 1966, because it had to be when I was home from college, whoever was the night DJ then went though a period of several weeks where every night at 10:17 he would play back to back "Mystic Eyes" by Them and "Over Under Sideways Down" by the Yardbirds. A good dose of early psych-O-delia for Roanoke.

I'd cheat a little in those days and listen at night to the long range signals of WABC, WLS, WKBW, etc., but WROV held its own with the big city stations, back when radio meant something.

Also good to see some WPXI stuff. In the late days of PXI just before its meltdown, I was driving around listening one day and one of the DJs, I think it might have been John Andrews, played some really lame song, then kept playing it over and over, just to see how many complaints he could get.

In the early 70s, after I got out of the Navy, I took the test for a third class FCC license pretty much for the hell of it and to put my Navy electronics training to some use. I worked for a while in Earl Bramblett's silk screen printing shop, printing "Love Is..." cartoons on panties. Business slowed down, and Earl laid me off. (I'm glad that's all he did to me!) There was an ad in the paper for WLRG, for the midnight to six shift. I applied for the job and Aylett hired me, or it was probably Stevie Blunder-Wonder McFarland who actually did the hiring. Easiest job I ever had, just programming the machines to play the big automated MOR reels, doing rip-and-read news and weather onto carts to program in, and checking the transmitter every hour. The newspaper would come at about 4:30 or 5, and I'd provide Paul Houston with the local news by rewriting the local stories as pithy broadcast bites. I hope the statute of limitations on copyright infringement has expired. That wasn't part of my regular job, just something Paul and I cooked up because I was pretty good at it. Worked with quite a few former or future ROV people there. Paul, the Blunder Wonder, Charlie Bell Boswell, teenage Larry Dowdy passed through there. Did Randy Akers ever work at ROV? He was a strange guy. And there was a guy named Jeff Scott(?) - did he end up at ROV for a while? Big Al Samuels, later ended up in production at one of the TV stations. Jeff Scott told me about the joys of going out and climbing the tower in the middle of the night. It was pretty cool, but I never went more than about 2/3 of the way up.

One night about 1 AM there was somebody pounding on the door. WLRG wasn't in the best of neighborhoods, but there was a glass window in the door and I saw this harmless looking skinny guy with huge hair and beard, so I opened up to see if he was in trouble or something. Familiar voice: "Hi, I'm Chuck Holloway, mind if I come in for a while?" Chuck said he just wanted to get acquainted with everybody in radio in the area, and we shot the bull for an hour or so. Sorry to hear about his passing, he was a good guy.

My "career" in radio lasted about a year. Went back and worked for Earl Bramblett for a while, then on to bigger and better things.

You need to do a section on the ROV news operation, which I thought was quite good in the early to mid 70s. I did some political campaign work in 1975, and I loved working with Mark Fryburg and Libby Dubick. They were good folks.


Thanks, Snake! We are going to do a "WROV News" section once we find a few more photos and connect with a few of the former news staffers. We just hooked up with Paul Houston a few weeks ago! Anybody know where Mark Fryburg is these days?

August 12, 2005
First let me say, I love the website. ROV-AM definitely deserves it as do all the great talent that has gone through there.

However, it disturbs me that you have not made a section or mentioned the FACT that after the music dies on ROV- AM, the station itself did manage to plod on from 1996 - 1999 under the same call letters WROV 1240 AM.

And while it may sound vain, it was I, Brian Davis who kept the station AND it's rich history alive by creating a local 3 hour afternoon drive sports talk show during those 3 years and the final years of the ROV - AM existence. This was at a time when Clear Channel GM Joe Conway was considering burying the station completely. But because of my relentless effort and desire to preserve the station I was able to convince Conway to turn the station to an ALL SPORTS format, and even though we lost the ROV- AM call letters , I managed to save the 1240 frequency. And as you know, it became The GAME.

I realize ROV- AM was a rock and roll monster during it's hey day of the 50's 60's 70's and 80's. But, your website is called ROV HISTORY isn't it ? Why do you stop the story before the end ? It isn't right. I loved that station as much as Bart Prater, know that. When I was doing my sports show before it became The GAME, I would honor that station by playing the original ROV -AM jingles that I found in an old closet in the back. I used the SAME BOARD that the old legends used including Wolfman when he came through. When I did the weather on AM 1240 in 1996 - 1999, I used the "WEATHER GIRL" cart.

I may not have had the impact in the late 90's that they had during the heyday but I did add a few extra years of life to the old ROV - AM , and I treasure that. And I feel I deserve a spot on your website for it.

I notice you post staff members that were not only marginally talented at best , but merely had a "cup of coffee" at the station as their tenure. I actually worked on air at WROV both the FM AND the AM for 4 YEARS !

You may hate my story or not want to admit it but it is FACT and can never be taken away. I am proud of what I did because of the rich tradition and history of that great station. You may continue to ignore it but because it is fact , it can not be denied.

I remember when we were running a promo in 1996 I believe about the station celebrating 50 years on the air. Well, I was the only local show on the station at the time.

Please don't confuse this with conceit, I just feel I deserve a spot in the history of this station as small as it may seem or be.

Thank You. My Best Regards, Brian Davis

We do mention Brian's show in the "Epilogue" section, which we hope to expand into a real "1990s" section someday when folks who were there (like Brian) decide to help us do it...

July 30, 2005
What a pleasure it was to come across your website this morning!! I was just so proud to find my Dad’s name listed as one of the “WROV Personalities of the 1960s”. Don Pugh was a disc jockey there in the mid-60s, a few years before I was born.

My Dad passed away earlier this year, on February 12th. It made me feel so good to see that he was remembered somewhere. Dad was a jack of all trades, but his experience in radio was always the most fun to talk about. I guess it was his “15 minutes of fame”.

Anyway, I was wondering if there might be any way you could post a picture of my Dad on your website, in remembrance of him. My family does not know about this website yet and they would just be so proud if I could show them Dad’s picture on your website. I went ahead and attached two pictures to this email. The one in which he’s wearing a tie is from the era that he worked at WROV.

My Dad was loved by lots of friends and family. He owned his own printing business during the last years of his life (Don Pugh Graphics). My brother and Mom are now running the business and they are just so impressed with how many people he knew and how many that loved him. It would mean a lot to a lot of people around town to see Dad remembered on your website. I sincerely hope you will consider it.

Well thank you for taking the time to read this long-winded email. I really appreciate your site and urge you to keep up the excellent work!

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!

Steve Pugh
Loving Son of Don Pugh

Thanks Steve, for the memories and photos of Don, who was a big part of Roanoke radio history. We've added Don's pictures along with a few other stories about him to the site.

Don Pugh worked at WROV, WBLU and other
Roanoke stations in the 1960s & 1970s.

April 29, 2005
As I read through the list of individuals thanked for their contributions to the website, it appears that Lee Garrett was omitted.

I was Mr. Garrett's paperboy in the late 1970's and early 80's and spent some very enjoyable time with him discussing technical stuff like PC's, radio and the like.

I apologize if I have responded to the wrong address, but it is the only one I can find on the site. Thanks so much for the wonderful website dedicated to a truly remarkable radio station and group of people who helped make my childhood so enjoyable!

Barry "Scott" Brown
Raleigh, NC

Thanks, Barry. Lee is definitely a big part of the site now, and we'll be adding more photos of him from then and now in the future!

April 17, 2005
Your WROV web site is great and the jingles brought back so many great memories. WROV-AM was a constant and much welcomed companion in our little house on Pechin Avenue in Roanoke City. If my older brother and I were in our room, the radio was on and it was only tuned to 1240-WROV! From 1964, WROV brought us great music, reports from Vietnam, weather reports, high school basketball games (Thanks Jim Carroll) and some hilarious commercials (Do you remember the Lendy's Mission Impossible commercials? How about the Yule-Tide HI KARATE commercial?).

The DJ's at WROV-AM could have been stars in cities like New York, Boston or D.C. but we were blessed to have them here in Roanoke. I'll share one quick memory from the late spring of 1967. I attended a record hop at Morningside Elementary School in S.E. Roanoke and my favorite WROV DJ was hosting the good times: Sammy Russell. I was a shy 13-year-old kid, but managed to come up with the courage to speak to Mr. Russell. He spoke to me about a new Beatle's LP that was in the works and told me all the tracks were going to run together without any dead-space. I didn't realize it, at the time, but we were talking about the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP.

I won my fair share of Quickie Quizzes and I dialed the request line many times. WROV wasn't just a radio station that played music, but a familiar voice in our home. I bought my first record: Paperback Writer by the Beatles after hearing it first on WROV. It was where I first heard Jumpin' Jack Flash, Light My Fire, Sunshine Superman, Sunshine of Your Love and Purple Haze.

The 1960s were a wonderful, terrible time and I'm glad that WROV was there with me and my family all along the way. Keep the memories alive!!!

Ralph Bratton WROV-AM Listener 1964-1988

Thanks for the great memories, Ralph! Forwarded your note to Sammy Russell!

April 6, 2005
Hi, just a note from a member of the "Cowboy Stool Riders" in Northwest Roanoke (Pharmacy located at 17th and Melrose - Nolan's. I think years were 1952-1956). The name was given to us Guys and Gals by one of your popular DJ's then. Several years ago I believe he was at WTOB in Winston-Salem, NC. It is great to see these attached records and memories.

During the days I was there a lot of firsts happened, for one the first jet--a T-33--I think landed at Woodrum Field due to a fuel smell in the cockpit. On landing he blew at least 2 tires due to and had to be grounded for several days, a second attempt ended the same way. New parts and a expert test pilot ended the problem and he was off in the Wild Blue Yonder. All this can be found in the Roanoke Paper. Several of us watched out Monroe Jr. High Art Class room at some of the proceedings. I have a picture somewhere of the aircraft that Ralph Carr of Roanoke took developed and printed. This took place in the 1951-1953 and my guess is 1952. Clayton Lemmon who owned an aircraft business there, if he is still alive, would have a lot of information. Woodrum Field was rich in history especially in the wartime years of W W II. A few friends used to catch rides around the city with the cost about $2.50 each. This became a challenge for my work ahead in aviation.

Thanks Roanoke for the fine school system we had in our day although I did not finish there. That was not a fault of the teachers because in the Military and Government work I competed with graduates of many other degrees and was able to hold honors. I could name many but I would leave some because of my memory not doing so good.

Somehow I got a little off WTOB but as a young man it helped us move along toward our lives of today. Many have fallen for one reason or another and it is memories that help us keep pace along with our Faith in God. For this transcends the years of our lives and one day we make a connection again to our past just as the radio waves of WROV was received so many years ago.

Thanks and God Bless, John Obenchain

Thanks John! I wonder if it was Ken Tanner who gave you guys your nickname? He's in NC now. And Twig Gravely, webmaster of the Lendy's and Old Roanoke sites and I agree that a "History of Woodrum Field & Roanoke Aviation" site would be great and we're trying to think of an appropriate person to do it. Anybody have any ideas?

Roanoke's First Jet
This T-33 made an emergency landing at Woodrum Field around 1952.

March 7, 2005
For some reason, something made me do a search on Burt tonight and I came across the wrovhistory.com website.

What a wonderful tribute! I can't wait to forward it to the other sons & daughters of the late, great Burt & Muriel Levine.

Excellent job! Thanks for remembering them so fondly!

Beth Levine Cupp

Beth has told her brothers and sisters about the site and we hope that when they have time, they'll help us add to the story and get it correct and maybe contribute some memorabilia. If nothing else, we're hoping they find us a photo of Muriel because she needs to be here!

February 26, 2005

I think you did a tremendous job of telling the WROV History. You should be congratulated on your extensive research. And, thank you for placing on the web. It's a wonderful read and brought back many great memories for me.

I attended Va Tech from 1969 - 1973 and listened to WROV all the time. I was very fortunate to work for WROV in the 70's.

I regard my time at WROV as a very important part of my years in broadcasting. I left radio broadcasting in the 80's to establish a career in computer hardware and software engineering. I have my own computer center based in Radford, VA and we are in our 23rd year of business.

Thank you again for writing this story.

Bob Boling, WROV Alumni

Thank you Bob! The research is ongoing and it's a labor of love. We need to get you and Dave (keep reading downward) on the "Where Are They Now" page.

February 17, 2005
Congratulations on a fantastic website....I'm so glad that I stumbled upon it.

I was at Virginia Tech from 1981-1986. I had worked at WUVT and had done just about everything possible there (much to the detriment of whatever it was I should have been studying)...One day in 1985 while I was on the air at WUVT-FM my phone rang and Drew Lane from WROV told me that there was an overnight opening at the station and that he thought I was good enough and responsible enough and that I should check into it. (Drew has been at WRIF in Detroit now for the past 13-14 years)

Anyway....I applied for the job and got it. (I had a car and a pulse) I started in June of 1985 and drove up from Blacksburg 6 nights a week. I only kept the job full-time for 3 or 4 months and then did some part time before moving on to WVVV (Rock 105) in Blacksburg later that year...

...but it seems like I had several years of memories from that summer at WROV....I cannot remember who trained me (I don't think it was John Andrews) but the guy kept a loaded handgun right next to the turntables by the console. Freaked me out 'cuz he kept telling me how terrible the neighborhood was...especially at night. One great WROV feature was that intercom at the front door....in the studio you could hear a chipmunk sneaking up out front...people would drive in...hit the intercom button at 2am and make a request. I always played those requests.

Bruce Jacobson was on before me...Steve McFarland after me. There was an office in the other side of the building that had a couch....McFarland might have been living with his dad (who was ill and Steve returned to Roanoke to take care of him)...Steve was constantly bringing women in. He would poke his head into the studio to let me know he was around and then disappear to the room with the couch. Often he would call me at 1 or 2am and give me a number to call and wake him up at 5am ("Babe, what's the number here?")....Often he was late and Drew would just saddle up and do the show until he got in...once or twice they were both late and I would stay and introduce Joe McKeon with the news (Joe could barely hide his disgust)...

Good people..Mike Bell and Rob-O as well. When Rob's dog died it was front page news for a week. When he was absolved of any wrongdoing, that story was a column inch on page D-18 next to Dear Abby.

I went to WVVV...then WWWV in Charlottesville and then I returned to be a part of the original WROV-FM air staff signing on Feb 14, 1989. I did mid-days initially between Cheryl Ann Robinson and (the late) Tim Meadows (what a freak Meadows was!)....I stayed for 2+ years and then moved to Bozeman, Montana where I am currently GM for the Clear Channel cluster.

Thanks for a great website,

Dave Cowan

Thank you Dave! Anybody know where Steve McFarland is? Oh, the room with the couch was Jim Carroll's office...I know that from experience!

February 13, 2005
Thank you for your web site. I have been hoping for just such a site for many years. One of the many things which made those of us who grew up in the 50s in the Roanoke area so fortunate was WROV. I left to go to college in 1960, so I wasn't around for much of what you call its heyday. I was definitely there, though, when WROV started playing rhythm & blues and other music of black artists, which almost no other "white" station in the country was playing at the time, especially in the south.

My hero, of course, was Jivin' Jackson. I wish you had more on your site about him. I'd love to hear him again doing an Automobile Exchange commercial, describing the very cherry '52 Chevy coupe, complete with a "stove and a piccolo." (You see, in 1955 you couldn't assume every car had a heater and a radio!)

Thanks for transcribing his sign-on routine. I had forgotten about that until I read it just now, but, boy, did that bring back memories!

I had always believed Jivin' Jackson's real name to be Jack Allen, not Jackson Allyn, but I have to assume you know more about this than I do. The rumor was that a girl in my 9th grade world history class at Andrew Lewis in 1955 was his very young wife. I've never known for sure if that was true. No one ever spoke to her, as far as I know, because she would have been much too exalted a presence for a 14 year-old to talk to!

I'd especially love to hear again Jerry Joynes deejaying Moonlight Serenade on a Saturday night, counting down the top 20. I don't think his theme song was the Glen Miller version, but whoever it was, that's something else I still remember well. You know, if anyone ever had a perfect voice for radio, it was Jerry Joynes.

Thanks again for a great job. If you ever take this site down, archive it somewhere!

DeWitt Shank Lewisburg, WV

Thank you DeWitt for the info on Jivin' Jackson. On a future Roanoke trip maybe we can find one of his relatives. Any Allens in the phone book in the Bonsack area?

February 2, 2005
I never worked at WROV, but I did enjoy them while at Virginia Tech from 1973-1977. I worked at 7Q in Christiansburg and later on at stations in Charlottesville, Richmond, Baltimore and Washington at DC101 for 14 years. I still remember WROV and Bart Prater as one of the best ever! I did not realize that former WUVT alums Matt Eakle and John King became a part of WROV history. I envy them for that. I also worked at different places with Marty Shayne and Barry Michaels. Bart's comments about Burt Levine's legacy are absolutely true. You have a created a website that is worthy of the great WROV, and I thank you.

Ernie Kyger WASH-FM, Washington DC

Ernie (a.k.a. Ernie Kaye) worked at DC-101 with Howard Stern & The Greaseman. WOW! Also Carl Foster, who was at WFIR for a while in 1978.

The DC-101 Boss Jocks, 1986
Front: Dave Brown, Linda Mondesire, Ernie
Back: Carl Foster, Greaseman, Adam Smasher

December 1, 2004
As a native of Roanoke who grew up on a steady diet of WROV, reading this site brought back a lot! I wasn't really a big listener until the 1970s... with "Big Bart, BP, the wizard of rock at ROV". The first promotion I remember well was when WROV lost its "W"... this was probably after the Ides event you recounted, so it must have taken a lot of nerve to try the same sort of concept again. I think the "W" was found not so far from the Ide, it was on a Wiley Drive sign down by the river as I recall. Have you heard a radio contest that original since then? I sure haven't.

I also think if I heard the Super High-Low jingle today I would still grab a telephone and dial 343-4444 before I realized what I was doing. Considering it took a day or so to nail down a jackpot worth maybe $89.34 or something like that, this must have been the most cost-effective promotion ever run - and the bane of C&P telephone!

And then there were the continuing adventures of... Chicken Maaaaaan (HE'S EVERYWEHRE, HE'S EVERYWHERE).

Thanks for putting this together. With all this thinking about old times in the Star City, I've really worked up a taste for a Cheesy Western and a bowl with! Too bad it's 1100 miles to the TT from here.

Bob Glenn
Dallas, Texas.

Bob is in Texas, but is 1100 miles from the Texas Tavern. There's something wrong here. And "The Lost W" -- wasn't that also the name of a report issued by the Texas National Guard? Gee, wonder how many more times we can work Texas into this note?

Chicken Man. He's everywhere! He's everywhere!

November 24, 2004
First of all, my sincere compliments on a labor of love that's long overdue: one of America's great radio histories has finally come to roost online.

If I may be so bold...

Everyone has regrets, and I've had a few ("Hey, turn down that Sinatra song!") One thing that just didn't happen for me was to have worked, even for a few months, at the "pole in the hole" (I believe that was a "Prater-ism") although I did send Bart an aircheck in the early 70s while I was at WJJJ in Christiansburg and he was classy enough to send a reply that he would keep it on file for six months. Thanks, Bart: you made my day.

I remember hearing 'ROV for the first time when I went to Salem to visit my cousin, a school-teacher at what was then Andrew Lewis High School. Growing up in the wilds of Giles County didn't expose one to a lot of good local radio during the day, but when the skywaves from WCFL, WLS, WABC started rolling in, the mountains started rockin'. So it was mind-blowing to hear a station in Roanoke that sounded like it could have come out of Chicago or New York. I remember lots of commercials on WROV that Summer I visited Salem, but I didn't dare touch that tuner: who knows what the jocks were going to say...and what heavy hummin' hit was going to blast out of that little 4-inch speaker. Finally in the fall of '69 I got a board op spot at our local 5KW daytimer and I lurched somewhat shakily on my own future in wireless communication.

Fast forward several years and a jump to a part-time gig in Pulaski, I again visited my "cuz" in the Roanoke Valley. Listening to Prater one afternoon, he did a "name it and claim it" contest...I immediately recognized the song as being "Annabella," the follow up to Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds' "Don't Pull Your Love"...I hit the phone and amazingly didn't get a busy signal. Bart picked up...I spilled my answer down the telco and he said come get yer tune and gave me directions to the station. I jumped in my rusty Dodge and headed over to the Rock & Roll Doublewide to claim my 45. I was working at WPUV in Pulaski with a guy named Chuck who had worked with Bart in Marion. After asking the receptionist if I could speak to Bart, since I "was in radio and worked with one of his friends from Marion," she politely sent me toddling down the hallway to the studio where I believe Paul Houston had just told Bart a joke that sent them into near hysterics (or they were laughing at the geeky kid staring into the studio).

I waved at Bart who graciously allowed me to enter his kingdom. After thanking him for the 45 I related my "I know a friend of yours so we're practically co-workers" story. He smiled and we spoke briefly of our friend, and then he had to do a break, cracking the mike on that lovely Gates Diplomat and being...Bart. Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I pledged to say "Hi" to Chuck and I walked merrily out of the studio and back down the hallway (where I saw a note from Paul warning people "don't blow my cool") and out to the parking lot.

I still have the record...somewhere.

WROV-related Bits & Pieces:

A student nurse I was dating in the early 70s made me a "Pickle Jar Lid" and put it on a locket...wonder where she got that idea?

I remember being on the air at Triple-J in Christiansburg when Phil Beckman stopped by to use the bathroom. Hey, when ya gotta go...

One time the "Bly Guy" came to Blacksburg to speak to a group of radio folks at VA Tech. Afterwards, my wife and I were enjoying a visit with Bob Ridle (from WRVA at the time) who used to work at WJJJ. We were rather loud, and Larry politely tried to get us to hush up. Lar': I am SO sorry about that.

Tom Twine (a great guy whom I don't see enough of) used to follow me when we worked at WUVT at VA Tech in 1970. He later did a gig at WROV, as did Wally Sale, who also worked at the 'WOOV.

More time passes. I wind up at WLVA in Lynchburg, first at night and then mid-days with a brief detour on mornings. That little station (which could use a tribute site of its own) had the good fortune to be a "Beach House"...where several former WROV jocks, who left there for whatever reason, could find a place near Roanoke to work while sitting out their non-competes and we benefited from their talents. Along with Rich Randall and Chuck Holloway (I worked for Chuck when he was PD...great guy...gone way too soon) there was another former WROV jock who came to 'LVA mid days...I'm thinking his name was Rob (not O'Brady) and I remember him doing a spot for Earl Pace Photography that began: "Hello, I'm Earl Pace...and I'd like to shoot you...I'd like to shoot you in your home...in your back yard...etc." of course referring to shooting people with a CAMERA. I believe it won an Addy Award. Steve Finnegan worked at WLVA for a while too.

I eventually wound up at Susquehanna Radio's WARM-FM (WARM-103) in York/Lancaster, PA, where I've been doing mid-days for 21 years (no ambition at all) and futzing with our three local stations' web sites. It's okay...but I regret never getting "The Rock of Roanoke" on my resume'. I believe our sister station (WSBA) was Central PA's version of WROV in the 60s and 70s, with a likewise list of real personalities back when that kind of thing really mattered.

Well, I've rattled on to long. Thought I'd share my memories of "working around 1240 but never actually working there" with you...you don't have to put those on the web site (unless you really, really want to...it's pretty rambling). Again, great job and I'll check back for new additions.

Larry Dillon aka Larry K. Scott Lancaster, PA

Larry, at WLVA, had a rubber duckie in his bin that he used on his morning show. Finnegan used to "squeek" it in the background on Sunday nights during Jerry Falwell.

November 21, 2004
To start off, whoever made your sight, needs to have bigger print. Hello, the people who would actually care, are not that young, and need at least regular size print. This is the most hard to read sight, I have ever seen. Were is the audio of the old jocks, that Roanoke.com talks about? You can not read your links, they are way to small. My mother, use to date Fred Frelantz, and wanted to hear the old voices again. I am trying to help her, but your sight is set up really badly. thank you


Fred used to date your mother? Was she Za Za The Blonde Bombshell from Papa Joe's?

November 17, 2004
Super website! I never had the chance to work at ROV, I received the call to do so the day after I went on active duty in 1968. My first job in radio was at WHYE when I was 16. I can still remember the day that "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison arrived in the mail. After the first play I knew it was going to be a hit! At the time Jan Wilkins was working there. Johnny Holiday sold the station to Homer Quan and he changed the format to country. I remember doing "record hops" in high school and junior high gyms in the early sixties. Coke paid us a fee of $25 per dance and we would have to split that two ways. I worked with Dick Brooks (WHYE), Bill Sparr (WDBJ) and Fanny Boone (City of Roanoke). After getting out of the Navy where I worked for AFTS in Naples, Italy (Armed Forces Radio & Television Service).

I went to work for WPXI. The day "Pixie Radio" signed on the air, Buford Epperson sent Burt Levine a funeral wreath. I understand that Burt had the wreath put in storage and when "Pixie" went under; he returned it back to Epperson. While at "Pixie" I worked with Bob "Boom Boom" Branigan (formally of WROV), Johnny Angel, Bob Dale and Perry Woods (later went to ROV) (did you know that Perry named his daughter Holly?). Boomer had signed a non-compete contract, but he was under 21 at the time and the contract did not hold up in court. Bob was killed in a motorcycle accident within two blocks of the station.

Upon leaving the service, I joined Bob Dale and Johnny Angel (stabbed and died in North Carolina) at WKYE in Bristol. From there I worked for WSLS radio when it was owned by Shenandoah Life Insurance Company. Other Staff included Bo Wiley (died of a heart attack) King Edward IV (deceased), Jim Clark and Sonny Widner. Back in the day larger market stations would hire an entire staff when they would change formats. The KYE staff went to WIST in Charlotte, NC.

Next stop was WKBX in Winston-Salem. I lived in the same apartment complex with Rick Dees (he worked at rival WTOB with another Roanoke native Bob Dale (Bob Lackey). Rick is the only jock that I knew that really hit the big time. Another Jock's wife worked for Piedmont Airlines and she would get free tickets for us and we would leave in the evening and fly to New York and spend the night listening and visiting the big stations. What a trip! We would return before morning and back to work.

After leaving radio (due to low wages and probably a lack of talent) I came back to Roanoke. I worked for Q-99 FM part-time for almost nine years doing the Sunday Night Classics. Today I'm a vocational instructor for the Department of Correctional Education and operate a mobile DJ business. I still work with Jack Fisher providing music and sound reinforcement for high school reunions and events. We are working on the up coming William Fleming Class Reunion in August of 2005.

Steve Nelson
Roanoke, VA

We're trying to talk Steve into helping us add a PIXIE page!!

Another note from 12/2005: Actually, Steve has done better than creating a PIXIE page; Steve has done an entire Roanoke Radio website !!! Check it out!!

November 12, 2004
I scanned over some of the stuff on your site and I have not found anything mentioned about the 10-or-12 tickets given away by WROV to see the Beatles in Washington DC Stadium in the summer of 1966. Does anyone remember that? I believe there were two buses that left Roanoke with a stop or two in places like Bedford or Lynchburg to pick up a few more people on the way to DC. I think there was a reporter from The Roanoke Times/World News who went along trying to pose as a teen, to report on the concert and the trip. I went on the Beatles trip. I was one of the lucky winners. I think I remember Fred going, but I thought Jack went too. I do remember the reporter as I thought she was asking too many questions. I talked her into massaging my neck. The article mentions a girl from Lynchburg who caught everyone's eye. I think I remember her too. I think she was a bit short with a dark complexion, dark eyes, and dark hair. She was a cutie alright! One thing I do remember is that the sound system was terrible, but that was 38 years ago.

John Gibson, Sr.
Roanoke, VA

John's Beatles Ticket Stub....COOL!

Thanks, John! We'll be adding this to the story! And thanks for sending us a scan of your ticket stub!!

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