John R., 1510 WLAC Nashville | 1967

John R. (Richbourg) was one of four Rhythm & Blues deejays who graced the airwaves of WLAC after dark, when the station’s powerful 50,000 watt signal could be heard via skywave across 38 states and parts of the Caribbean. When we first posted John R., way back in 2004, the aircheck became one of our most popular recordings.

The quality of this tape is amazing. It was apparently transferred from the source reel right onto this cassette by our contributor, Frank Davis. Richbourg is upbeat and ever so knowledgeable about the music. There are some live commercial reads here also, as were the majority of spots aired during John R’s programs.

You want real R&B, this is it! The Real Deal! This is partly scoped, so you won’t hear all these obscure cuts, but you will get a feel for the program, and what it was like to listen to 1510 WLAC at night. This certainly was not WLS, WABC or KHJ! Those Top 40 sounds and elements were not heard on WLAC… John R. was a one man show. Arguably, one of the most popular shows among African Americans not only in Nashville, but nearly everywhere WLAC’s signal could be heard.

We hope you enjoy this true museum piece. It belongs to the ages – and the listeners, to hear once again, and remember.


  1. ron

    good quality sound!!! I remember listing to WLAC down in south fla in the 70s when I lived down there…it was 50,000 and it came in like it was in florida!!!…Do You have any of WLAC from the 40s or 50s??? that would be real interesting to hear…thanks for the great website, keep adding more stuff, the OLDER the better!!! Ron.

  2. Wayne

    Growing up in south Mississippi, would go to bed with my transistor radio listening to John R. Then spent 38 years in broadcasting, most in television but started in radio. Thank you John R. Wish we still had you around instead of MTV.

  3. walt battle

    this takes me back to my child hood. I love this. and would have this for myself..

  4. Ric

    I might have even heard this broadcasts live. We could hear WLAC in far northern Illinois at night especially in the winter. I remember Ernie’s record mart. WLAC Nashville Tennessee wheeling and dealing in rhythm and blues we’ll keep ya up to date with the latest news.

  5. Paul Bottoms

    Man, I loved to hear John R when growing up in Arkansas in the 60s. I didn’t know he was white but I loved r&b—-and I also loved Hoss Allen.

    This is so dated for the time, no time checks, weather reports, phone calls, jingles, etc. The program could have been recorded at any time.

    John R also produced hit records including some of the Joe Simon stuff

  6. takes be back to 1957…under the covers with my little radio when I was supposed to be sleeping…..WLAC and WLS played the music you couldn’t hear anywhere else…


  7. “Get your baby chicks!” I love it.

    Funny thing was that around this time, although all four jocks–besides John R and Hoss Allen, there were Gene Nobles and Herman Grizzard, who was a staff announcer for decades at WLAC and always sounded like he didn’t really care for the music he was playing–were white, the station’s news anchor at night, a gentleman named Don Whitehead, was black.

    And during the day, WLAC was your typical full service MOR CBS affiliate.

  8. Awesome! Brings back so many great memories. Everyone in the south listen to WLAC. This was the best of times.

  9. Ken

    I heard WLAC on some nights in Chicago back around 1962–I even bought some 45’s via the mail from Buckley’s Record Mart in Nashville. What a gem of a station. Thanks for the sound check.

  10. Ken

    WLAC came in strong in NE Texas. It was THE night station for me when I was dating 1955-1958. The tube type radio in my old Ford ran the battery down a few times – learned to park on a hill where I could shove it off and get it started. Wonderful memories.

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