Composite: WHBQ, WMPS, WDIA Memphis | 1972

560 Memphis WHBQ Rob Grayson Chris Curtis George Kline Jack Parnell

This runs almost 24 minutes and may be somewhat confusing. Listen carefully because this is presented as one or two breaks from one station, then flips to another for a few breaks, etc.

Other than being a somewhat muddy sounding recording – the tape is 42 years old after all, this is an excellent representation of the state of popular music radio in Memphis in the early 1970s. Don’t be fooled, however. Each station represented has its own unique approach. WHBQ is solidly Top 40, and a typical RKO General station in its jock style and approach. WMPS bills itself here as “The Rock of The River”, no doubt referring to the mighty Mississippi which separates Memphis Tennessee from West Memphis, Arkansas. The jingles are a re-sing of WLS’ “The Rock of Chicago” package. And finally, WDIA is represented with its Soul/R&B format. Jingles included, and screamin’ Top 40 style jocks!

You’ll notice the very first personality heard on this composite is Johnny Driscoll, of WCFL Chicago fame. He’s on WHBQ in ’72 and sounds as great here as in Chicago. Plenty of other jocks of note, listen for names and stations.

Just before the end of this, listen as WMPS temporarilly drops its carrier and does an obvious pattern change. This was definitely recorded in the late afternoon/early evening, based upon the pattern change and the sound of other stations bleeding through the WHBQ signal at the start of this. It also sounds as if this recording was made at a considerable distance from Memphis, although its difficult to know exactly where – possibly eastern Fayette County since WHBQ must protect stations to the east, particularly in Philadelphia and Springfield Mass. Just a hunch.
Enjoy this 24 minute listen to three BIG AM stations from 1972 and remember, there wasn’t much of anything in Memphis on FM during this time, so these were the major stations at the time.

680 Memphis WMPS


  1. Rob Grayson

    Starts out as a battle of the big voices! Gary Smith on the WMPS aircheck later did mornings at WHBQ, and went on to Dallas, Powerline and KLOVE fame as Brother Jon Rivers.

  2. Dave Laird

    Just discovered this. Great hearing the market from back in the day. Some pretty great radio. I left WMPS in September 1972 after a couple of years. Good times. What happened to radio? 🙂

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