Joe Cunningham, WHLO Akron | May 30, 1970

640 Akron WHLO

Someone commented on another exhibit that it was so nice back in the old days of AM music stations to be able to travel from one city to another and be able to tune into local and regional, live stations, staffed by talented jocks and newsmen. Looking back, these guys put together a sound that sounded great. Perhaps that’s how you’ll feel listening to this aircheck of Newsman Dave Lieber and Deejay Joe Cunningham on the Big 64.

What I find interesting about this is not so much the format, are the songs in the playlist. These are NOT the same junk tunes we hear over and over ad-nauseum on today’s Oldies or Classic Hits stations. Webmaster’s disclaimer: Full length songs are edited out to comply with copyright law. You only hear a few seconds at the beginning and end.

Included: A partial report on the 1970 Indy 500 in progress that day in a rain delay, and live commercial reads (who does that anymore?)


  1. Peter

    Good point on local AM radio back in the day. What fun it was driving into different cities big and small to hear live local programming and deejays an music different from town to town. Now AM is the same whereever you go, syndicated talk, sports talk, religion and spainish. No live jocks. You cant even get a weather forecast on weekends! And on the FM dial oldies and Classic Rock play the same beat up top 10. On this aircheck is the Fortunes “Same old Feeling”. When is the last time you heard that song on your” Good times, great oldies syndicated satellite oldies channel.

    • chris sutton

      I sure agree with u,theres nothing better on the web than airchecks of sixties and seventies Top 40 stations. Its with respect that I point out that “Same old Feeling” was done by Pickettywitch,not the Fortunes

  2. Fred Greaves

    Love it, I was the engineer playing the records for Joe at Maddox Furniture. Sure brings back memories. Sad to say that Joe passed awaw a few years ago. He was a good friend. Just fyi. It’s Dave Libereth not Liber. If any other alumni of WHLO for this period 60’s to ’80’s sees this, would love to hear from you.

    Fred, former CE.

    • Paul Sharp

      I remember growing up listening to WHLO “Hello Radio”. Bobby Harper starting the show Sunday at eleven in the morning. Joe Cunningham signing off by saying, A smile on my face and a song in my heart for you.” “Goodnight everybody.” Those were the good days of AM radio.


      I remember old studio in O’NEIL store building in 1960’S I visited there many times to see dj’s on air viewing from the glass and getting top tune survey sheets.
      Remember station going off air at 745 PM in winter and 11PM in summer due to KFI in LA CAL 640
      I am now 63 years old still live in AKRON I have old airchecks from 1963.
      I remember station going on air at 6 am
      Good old days of AM radio
      From longtime listener WHLO AND WHKK

      • Ron Allen

        Hello Robert – I’m a former newsman from HLO and WAKR during the late 60s. If you have airchecks from the early days of WHLO I would love to hear them. Let me know what format they are in. Thanks

        • robert devinney

          i have a newscast from 1963 thanksgiving day whlo approx 4mins 1.64 mb you should be able to receive in your email mp3 format give me your email I
          will send it
          I recently sent some airchecks to warren duffy in ca

          BOB DEVINNEY
          AKRON OH

          • Ron Allen

            Hi Bob – look forward to hearing that air check from 63 of the big 64. Thanks

    • Ron Allen

      Hi Fred – how are you doing? Would like to hear what you’ve been up to in the past 40 years. Are you still in Akron?

    • Rob Maddox

      I’m the son of Bob Maddox who owned Maddox Fabulous Furniture. Great memories of Joe and all of the other DJ’s that broadcast from the store – Johnny Andrews, Ralph Lockwood, Warren Duffy, many others. During the 60’s and early 70’s WHLO, WAKR, WSLR and WCUE all broadcast from the store. WHLO sleep-a-thons, Toys for Tots, Free 45’s… Good times. AM radio was the king.

      • James Knight

        Many cool memories from WHLO, and Joe Cunningham and Maddox Fabulous Furniture Sunday broadcasts are the two things I remember the most (besides the music!). Nice to check back with the great memories…

    • don krieger

      Those were the days. hi Fred. still alive and kickin in Durham, NC. Not many of us left. Is anybody left from whlo ??
      Carl day still in ??? dayton. Lost his wife a couple yrs back. Love the south… its all you claimed it to be. been here 4 yrs now. Joe just came to mind tonight and had to look him up. pray all is well with you and thelma. good night –

    • ed zell

      Hello I just was going thru the web and I noticed that you worked at the old W H L O and all these years from the 60’s I have been wondering what type of nice reverb unit was used on the music back at that time. I am in my sixty’s I still a few reverbs dry spring and fluid damped types. But H L O ‘s was the best and I also have some recordings on tape of the songs with H L O reverb. Maybe you can get back to my on this I do realy appreciate it . Thanks ED ZELL Eastlake ,Ohio

    • Don Husat

      Just found this info about WHLO. Wikipedia says it became WHLO from WHKK in 1962. I am positive it was WHLO as early as 1960 when I was a freshman in high school. Can you confirm that? Joe Cunningham, Bill Ridenour, Johnny Andrews, Johnny Mitchell and others still stick in my mind. Saw Dave Lieberth at an event in Akron about 2 weeks ago.

      “What’s the weather today…what’s the weatherman say? Is it sunny and fair, is it blowing out there? Will you be a sorry fella if you leave that old umbrella? WHLO reporting…here’s the weather today.”

      I used to stand with my nose against the glass watching when the station was in the O’Neils building. I went into broadcasting in college, but later ended up at BFGoodrich. But I do have great memories.

    • edward zell

      I have many recordings from whlo from the sixties and i am still trying to figure out then and now what was the set up on the reverb and echo used at the station on the music and overall .This made the music with sound great with tone and overbody which I think was great sounding ! Thanks hope to hear some response on this .

    • Kim Culhan

      Hi Fred, I was on ham radio in those days and bought a couple used
      transmitter tubes from you, 4-400’s from the whlo transmitter.
      Jeff Steinwedel was a friend I met at the Cuyahoga Falls Radio Club.

    • James Knight

      WHLO 640 bring back such great memories during the golden age of AM radio. It makes my heart glad that some of these awesome memories have been saved for the listeners – thank you! I live, and still do in the Akron area, and was about 15 or so during this particular broadcast. They were simpler times that we took for grated at the time, but are much cherished moments to us now… Loved WHLO Hello radio.

  3. Bob

    I just found an old window advertisment – “TEEN_AGE DANCE featuring WHLO Disc Jockey every Wednesday 8:00 to 11:00 pm MINERVA ROLLER RINK Admission 75@ ” Any idea what years they were held ?? Super old nostalgia from the good ole days !! Thanks for any help !!

    • Denny Willis

      The dances at the Minerva
      Roller Rink were in the years I was in high school in Minerva. They would have had to have been between 61 and 65. Who were the other personalities during this time?

  4. John Basalla

    I used to listen to the WHLO Top 40 Countdown Shows. They put a usable signal into Southwest Cuyahoga County. Used to keep my own list of different stations’ Top 40, or in the case of CKLW, Top 30 list. Todd “Turkey” Taylor hosted many of these shows. I remember songs that I only heard on WHLO. Do you? Here are mine:

    This was one of WHLO’s “Pick Hits of The Week”, meaning a new song they thought had a good chance of making a big splash. This was one of Tommy’s last ABC records. It bombed. As you might think, it was an upbeat bubble-gum Rock song.

    “CHILD OF DECEMBER” by Larry Sanders.
    Now, here’s something that won’t happen much, if at all, on your local CHR station… the playing of a local area record. This was mid tempo soft rock piece. It was on the Stone Head Records label from Mansfield Ohio. The song got a second life as the very last track on the Climax album that featured their smash hit “Precious and Few”.

    “WE’RE ALL PLAYING IN THE SAME BAND” by BERT SOMMER. Bert was a critic’s fave who everybody had high hopes for. I think he was the first artist to play at Woodstock. This is a medium-upbeat acoustic pop-rock tune that attempts to be a fun sing-a-long type tune.

  5. dave

    I just found this site and have a bunch of questions for all of you about WHLO. As a kid in the Akron area I listened to WHLO and saw a number or their remotes at Maddox, Parade of Homes, the home show, and O’Neil’s down town. I also got to see Warren Duffy in the old O’Neil’s building studio. Great memories!!

    First question is why was WHKK on 640, instead of the original 610 that was in Cleveland? 640 came to Akron as a trade from Columbus.

    640 in Akron was (and is) set up so it is not in the Cleceland market. Why? Yes, there was a Canadian station on 640, but that fact still doesn’t seem to make sense as WHLO was sun up to sun down + 2 hrs. to protect KFI in Loss Angeles (which is no longer required I believe). Seems like one of the owners should have been able to persuade the FCC that 10 more miles to the north would not have been a problem.

    Was the North Hampton transmitter site and the O’Neil’s building the original transmitter/studio locations of WHKK? I visited the North Hanpton site once and it looked like the south tower had been jacked up a few feet in height and the north tower seemed newer, so I wonder what was going on?

    What was the musical format of WHKK? I know that WHKK did get into rock & roll in the later 50’s. Are there any air checks form that time? Who was the owner of WHKK prior to Susquehanna?

    Susquehanna took over in 61 according to Warren Duffy’s blog. Who were the news/DJ’s at that time and are there any air checks? Was Allen Saunders the original manager of WHLO?

    Fred, two questions. Why is the south tower taller than the north tower at the Minor Rd. location? I believe you designed the site (well, as per Uncle Joe anyway). Were the remote lines from places like Maddox 5 KHz or 8 KHz? They sounded great, so I assume 8 KHz. Do radio stations still use dedicated lines for remotes, or is it all ISDN and SKYPE?

    Speaking of Uncle Joe, Fred mention that he passed away. I recall meeting him and his son once. He seemed like a man with a deep soul — far deeper that he let people belove on-air. When did he pass and where was he? I think he was in Columbus for a while, but may have move on from there.

    Finally, it would be great if there was a hall of fame web site for WHKK/WHLO from the time WHKK went on the air until WHLO went talk (mid 70’s??). Any one interested????

    Dave Boland

  6. Jim Carney

    I love this and just forwarded it to Dave Lieberth. I worked in the WHLO newsroom from August 74 to April 79. We had about ten news reporters and anchors and covered everything that moved from the WHLO Newstalk 64 newsroom. Those were the days for sure. Miss Uncle Joe, a true sweetheart. Hey Fred, Don and Ron!!

    • Don Husat

      I dug out my copy of the 1968 Broadcasting Magazine yearbook, which lists all domestic AM, FM and TV stations. According to this authoritative document, WHLO first wnet on the air in October 1940. Call letters are not indicated. Susquehana Broadcasting acquired it as WHKK on November 16, 1959 and changed the call letters to WHLO. The aforementioned Wikipedia article is wrong on that score. Alan Saunders was VP/GM, and Fred Greaves, who has posts on this site, was chief engineer.

  7. Hi all WHLO alumni and listeners.
    The station held many happy memories for me.

    I had the best experiences there ’77-’78 as the board-op for some fo Akron’s best talents! From Uncle Joe Cunningham and toooo many to mention.

    That was my springboard to leaving Akron for Los Angeles to work ‘on air’ as one of ‘RICK DEES CAST OF IDIOTS’ over 20 years.

    (Any memorabalia I had was given to my cousin Rich Berg who helped w/the Broadcasters Hall of Fame…There was a ‘wear it and win’ pin on button, I have fliers which promoted on air staff of Steve ‘BOOM BOOM’ Cannon and Joe,as they began doing all talk.

    I also possess a ‘rare’ cassette tape 30-60 minutes of a mock AKRON Thanksgiving Day parade pre-recorded of Nick Anthony and broadcaster Bob Simpson (circa’77), which allegedly sent the Akron Police scrambling to the scene to control the non existent traffic. It was a joke they apparently weren’t happy about.
    (one excited moment they mention was the Blue Angels Jets were flying by -which all it was ,was SFX. of jets)
    Ahh,theater of the mind!

    Since then,I’m living the dream.. I became an actor/voice talent on many prominent projects..and look forward to many more years and projects ahead. And thankful for my past opportunities in Akron and the great group of people who were WHLO.

  8. Terry McGee

    I was a fan of “Hello Radio, WHLO. That was in the early 60’s. They had a song they used to play called Akron, Canton my Home Town. Or something like that. It mentioned: “Derby Downs, stadium park, that’s why I say, Akron, Canton …. Does anyone remember that song?

    BTW, I’m in Saint Augustine, FL now.

    • Bobby Knight

      I actually have a copy of the Akron-Canton Hometown Song.
      Joined WHLO in 1968 with Carl Day….” Day and Knight are coming to WHLO”.

  9. Tom Tambasco

    Have been out of touch with radio for quite a while. Sad to hear of Joe Cunningham’s passing. I spent a number of years in radio news in the 70’s including two-plus at HLO. I was Thomas Mitchell on air and had the pleasure of watching (and hearing him on air) as my hours extended through Joe’s. I came to Akron in late 73 from WTRY in Troy, NY (Dan Thomas there but WHLO already had Scott Thomas) Dave Leiberth was a great news director AND court reporter. MISS THOSE DAYS!

  10. bob devinney

    i have a recording of whlo on thanksgiving day 1963 with news and music i would be glad to make a cd and send it to anyone johnny andrews is on it

    • ron allen

      Hi Bob – please email that air check of Johnny. If you can’t I’ll send you an address for the CD. Thanks so much

  11. Joe Cunningham was the best spirited, most loving guy. A real standout for me in 42 years of doing radio. My claim to fame from then; I was the remote killer at Maddox Fabulous Fine Furniture 3089 Manchester Rd in the Portage Lakes. The Colonel wasn’t a fan, and well … it was back to the studio for long, lonely 6 hour Sunday shifts,trying to think of 4 ways to intruduce Neil Sedaka’s “Bad Blood.” I remember we made more money from appearances there than for salary. But, after a while they realized that the DJs weren’t a draw, the promos were. So, they acutally paid us NOT to be there. We just ran the promos,for which they paid, and they gave us the money, which we had to collect our selves. We’d always go out in twos to places like the Bada-Bing and try and get the full hundy out of Tony, for the boys back at the station. Yikes. I was 18 and fresh off the farm. Joe Cunningham and Jerry Vincent (Jack Pancher) made that all comfortable. Last story, when I decided to leave to move to Tulsa, OK for college, I was at the station running off copies of my resume in the middle of the night. Well, the copy machine ate my resumes and flashed “Call Key Operator.” Crapppppppp! It was like Mission Impossibe trying to get that tank open and the damning evidence out. My face looked like Toner Man, friend of the coal miner, and I never did get them out. Heck, I was on till 11PM on Summer nights. No boss was listening, I should have just given a Glass Harp Tee Shirt to the first Key Operator who showed up. A wacky DJ Stunt! – Jeff Detrow

  12. mike luck

    Joe crossed my path about 30 years apart.
    Listed to him growing up in Akron. He used to DJ swim parties at Loyal Oak Swim Club.
    Thirty years later his son played on the same Little League team with my son in Gahanna OH.
    Still the same nice guy!!!

  13. Tim Lones

    The story of why WHLO is in Akron on 640 rather than Cleveland on 610..610 Cleveland was at first WJAY and then in 1937-44, WCLE..WCLE was owned along with WHK-1420 by Forest City Publishing-Plain Dealer/Cleveland News)and also WAIU/WHKC -640 Columbus..

    In 1943 FCC rule were changed to disallow AM duopolies in the larger cities..To get around this, WHKC was moved to 610 in Columbus, while WCLE was given the call letters WHKK and moved to 640 Akron, therefore in a separate market from WHK-1420. In 1954 WHKC became WTVN radio and in 1960 WHKK became WHLO.

  14. Greg Berg

    After the recent passing of ‘WELCOME BACK KOTTER'(Arnold Horshack),actor Ron Palillo, I realized,before leaving WHLO(1978)as Board-Op/Producer, for the Steve(Boom Boom)Cannon Show..I have a reel to reel recording of Steve doing an in studio, on air, interview with him!

    It needs to be put on CD, but may be fun to hear again , as I don’t recall anyone having a ‘Steve show’ copy from his time there. Anyone(collectors) have any?

  15. James Smith

    i had whlo am rock n roll with me all during the mid 60’s and early 70’s. have great memories of fan apprecition days at Chippewa Lake Park. always had my radio hanging on my handle bars of my bike listening to the ” goodguys ” . those were great days back then. thanks for the memories .

    • Jackie Doyle

      I was just thinking about Fan appreciation day at Chippewa today – does anyone remember any of the bands from the 1971 appreciation day? I was there and 15 years old. I had to sneak and go with a bunch of kids in an old station wagon which broke down on the way on rte 14. Some of the guys fixed it and we were on our way.

  16. Sue Fry

    I was fortunate to grow up in and listen to Akron DJ’s 60’s-early 80’s. Enjoyed everyone’s posts. What was DJ’s last name…Terry?something. Cannot recall station…whoever sponsored Dick Clark’s Action Kids tours held in Civic Theatre. I was just racking my brain…it shan’t given me answer yet. LOL.

  17. Scott Thomas

    Stumbled across this website. What a pleasant surprise to read comments from old WHLO friends!! I worked at the station from late 1969 through 75 under the name Scott Thomas. Lots of good times. I remember we were called “the WHLO Good Guys,” but I know we could all tell stories. As far as I’m concerned…what happened in West Akron stays in West Akron!! Does anyone know where Jerry Vincent is living?

  18. Bob

    Have recording of johhny Andrews thanksgiving day 1963 be happy to share it whlo radio

  19. doug miller

    Looking for the date and list of acts that performed at the Fan Appreciation Day in 1967. Any info would be helpful. Thanks.

  20. I worked with Uncle Joe for many years at WMNI in Columbus until his passing. He was one of the great gentlemen of all time. Thanks for the aircheck.

  21. Marty

    There absolutely IS live radio today in 2018. Check out certain hours of SiriusXM radio channel 6,where some DJs – including Cousin Brucie – take live requests. The request phone number is displayed on the radio screen when requests are being taken.

    I believe many portions of WFUV, an FM radio station in New York City, are live.

    Of course, much Talk Radio continues to be live.

  22. Well Marty… of course there’s SOME live radio. Most morning shows are live, albeit from some studio in Los Angeles or New York… or a regional studio somewhere. Probably half of major market Afternoon drives are totally live and local (and that’s assuming all formats, remember, some of the SOFT AC stations track everything but the traffic reports, and even those are often inserted into automation just before air). Yes, certain SiriusXM channels are live in drive times as well.

    Um, how many listeners does WFUV have? 3? But it doesn’t matter because they are subsidized and they can actually AFFORD live talent, even if it’s minimum wage. (I know… they’d go on the air for free because they are activists)

    Now… why did you post that HERE, in a post where everyone is talking about WHLO? I coulda deleted it but I’m curious.


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