680 WMPS

Rob Grayson: 45 Years in 5 Minutes

Description by Steve West I don’t know if this was intended to be a demo or not, but longtime Memphis radio personality Rob Grayson recently put together this really fun piece, condensing his radio career down from his early radio beginnings in the 1970s right up to just about current, as of this writing. While there’s really no way to include all the great moments in someone’s career, this one leaves us begging for more. Here’s hoping Rob sends us some more of this awesome radio candy!  And yes.  It really does only run about five minutes! #1605 Advertisements

Harry Chapman on WMPS 680 Memphis | July 19, 1963

Courtesy of Skip Reynolds, CE of Entercom Memphis… Skip tells us he found this tape at the transmitter site of what is now WSMB 680 a while back. This is an original recording of Harry Chapman, the morning man on what was Plough, Incorporated owned WMPS. Listen to the old commercials! We couldn’t recreate the “quaintness” of these old swing-era sings. WMPS sounds very Middle of the Road here, playing hits from Ray Charles, the Four Seasons and some lesser known regional hits. Without hearing the rest of the broadcast day it’s hard to get a feel for WMPS’ format, but the station is VERY sold out, with this 45 minute morning show clip being more commercial load than music. Lots of live reads. Ever wonder what early 60s radio sounded like… radio befor...

Composite: WHBQ, WMPS, WDIA Memphis | 1972

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&...

Mitch Craig, 68 WMPS Memphis | Spring, 1973

“From the Gateway to Mid-America!…” The WMPS Top hour legal ID says it all. A Broadcast service of Plough, Incorporated, WMPS put up stiff competition to RKO General’s 56 WHBQ and for a while they even seemed to trade jocks! Mitch Craig is heard doing Afternoons. This is short and much of it was scoped before we got it in the Airchexx studio, but you will hear Casey Casem voice a full commercial for Stag Beer (who drank THAT?). More of the faux WLS Top 40 format and lots of fun from a great era in Radio!

Donnie Brooks, 68 WMPS Memphis | Spring, 1973

It’s a Friday night at “Super 68” and Donnie Brooks is at the controls of Plough’s superstation! WMPS is doing its best to imitate Chicago’s WLS, and by the sounds of this aircheck, it’s working. Note the WLS type jingles, such as the cut “The Rock of the River“, set to the tune of WLS’ “The Rock of Chicago“. Note the full length commercial for Wrigley Spearmint Gum, and some historic Memphis movie theaters that are no longer there. Courtesy of Rob Grayson, who was there to capture it all!

Format Change: Standards WJCE Flips to Progressive Talk 680 WWTQ Memphis | January 28, 2005

With ratings continuing to slowly fall, aging demos and a business core becoming more unwilling to advertize to persons over 55, Entercom pulled the plug on its AM Standard’s outlet WJCE. The call letters were originally chosen to compliment an Urban AC format called “The Juice” some years earlier and were not changed when that format expired after the emergence of crosstown FM Urban AC 103.5 WRBO. So, with little fanfare and virtually NO imaging or announcements whatsoever, the music was pulled in the middle of a song and the CNN News feed simply clicked in, followed by the Al Franken show on the Air America Network. One of the most haphazard format changes heard in ages. We present it to you as a scoped 10+ minute audio time capsule, to serve as a place holder for the n...

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?

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