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1480 WMQM / 560 WHBQ / 680 WMPS / Memphis

Memphis Composite – WHBQ, WMPS, Others | September 2, 1972

Well… Look what we found lurking on the back of a KLIF tape… Dueling Top 40 stations 56 WHBQ (RKO General) and 68 WMPS (Plough)!

Imagine the surprise hearing this tape. Rob Grayson, where are ya! This is from before the Memphis appearance of Rick Dees, before FM 100 was Top 40… even before FM was even popular!

Regardless of how good these stations sound here, the number one station hands down in the city was neither. It was the Soul station, WDIA 1070. And the Memphis sound sure is heard all over this aircheck. Take a listen and go back to a more troubled time, almost 34 years ago!

Was it really that long?

680 Memphis WMPS

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20 Comments


  1. Great treat to hear radio from the era that made me want to be in radio. Where was I? In September ’72, I was going into the 10th grade in Greenville, MS, but listening to these very stations. By August ’76, (by the grace of God) I was in Memphis, on the air at WHBQ!

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  2. Steve, I am still searching for stuff from MPS from 73 to 77….Dan

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  3. I wanted to add that I sure enjoyed this aircheck though….thanks. Hope all is well with you.

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  4. It was great to hear the air checks from way back when. In September 1972 I was a part time transmitter engineer at WMPS’s transmitter plant on Benjestown Road in Fraser, where Harry Simpson was the night announcer. The monitor speaker at the transmitter was set up to switch back and forth between the AM and the FM every 10 seconds. Imagine 10 seconds rock then 10 seconds classical then repeat. All day and all night until FM signed off. It messed with your head . . .

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    • I was a young fellow then but used to lay awake with my “spy radio”… waiting for Harry Simpson to come on… he was my Grandfather

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      • Richard, I would love to hear from you. Harry Simpson was my uncle! I lost track of a lot of family members when I moved away from Memphis. You can send me a friend request through Facebook.

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  5. Sounded like pure 1972 radio. Recognized the music of the era, easily plus Memphis radio market sounded very professional and good. Enjoyed listening to this aircheck. Go Memphis!!!

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  6. Johnny Driscoll on WHBQ. I worked with him in Miami at WMYQ. His name there was Bob Shannon (not the same as the one in NYC). Then he went to WCFL as Johnny Driscoll.

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  7. Just surfed in. Recently semi-retired and living in Smithville, TN. I have discovered a few airchecks of WMPS from 1970 through & 1972 when I was PD and afternoon drive. I’m in the process of copying the material to digital, and cleaning up the audio. Good to hear Memphis radio from that era. Those days are over, for sure. 🙁

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  8. The ground conductivity to the west and northwest was high and when in “The Bootheel of Missouri” and the “Rice Patties of NE-ARK”, WHBQ’s 5kw day and WMPS’s 50kw day covered my relatives area like a local… Dees, and earlier famed jocks were a BIG INFLUENCE! John Long was a BIG influence in programming…

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  9. Grew up listening to 56 WHBQ during the early to late 70’s when Rick Dee’s was one of their DJ’s. I grew up in Clarksdale, MS., but this was one of my favorite stations… Believe it or not, I listened to WEZI (easy listening) @ night when going to bed when a child! 105.9??? 105.7??? It’s been years…. I think they later changed frequency to 94.?? (I could be wrong)…..
    Memphis stations played a big part in my growing up in the Mississippi Delta. I have been away from that area for over 25 yrs, and still miss Memphis…

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    • WEZI (1973 – 1983) was 105.9

      I also went to sleep listening to that station, although I actually enjoy easy listening, as my mother always played it when I was growing up in the 60s/70s. If you’d like a flashback feeling, download the “Airstream beautiful music radio” “app” on your smartphone (I finally broke down and bought an iPhone) – you’ll feel like it’s 1974, again…..and drowsy.

      I spent 74 – 80 in Northwest TN. In Texas these days, though my parents settled in NE TN in 1983.

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  10. Wow! This brings back memories. I’m old enough to remember Dewey Phillips on WHBQ (56 push button 1 on your radio dial) and Emperor Charley Watson on WMPS. Growing up in the Mississippi Delta, these stations and their music were our portal to another world.

    As a child, I wondered how WHBQ got all of those car makers to set their radio push-buttons to 560.

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  11. This is awesome to hear the old air checks. My Aunt & Uncle are “Sexy Sandra” and Roy Mack from WMPS.

    I’m looking for more audio from when they were on air

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  12. Nice to hear the sound again after all of these years… Harry Simpson was my Grandfather!

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  13. Wow, great stuff. My Dad worked at Q during the 60’s and 70’s – those were some great years on the Highland strip. Later he moved on to WDIA.

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  14. Great snapshot of what Memphis radio sounded like in 1972.

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  15. Does anyone remember when Rick Dees first started working as a DJ in Memphis? Was it at WHBQ or WMPS?

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    • Left Birmingham for WMPS first.

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    • Disco Duck was in 1976. I think Dees was there in ’75.

      Reply

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