1070 Memphis WDIA

Memphis Composite: 56 WHBQ, 68 WMPS & 1070 WDIA | Summer, 1972


680_WMPS-1958Who knew that WMPS shared a similar sound and set of jingles with WLS Chicago? They even use the line “Mid-America’s new city!” What the heck? And during this time period, in my opinion, WHBQ sounds old and tired compared to WMPS. And then there’s WDIA. WDIA uses the “Soul Power” positioning statement.

Read more below.
To listen, click the BIG BLUE BUTTON BELOW!


Each month, we ask for donations to support our online museum. It’s an ongoing request, because only a few ever donate, despite an audience in the thousands every day. Won’t you please help out and chip in? It goes to a worthy cause, helping to keep these classic radio recordings online and free to the user. Airchexx is a user-supported but free historical and educational website that also provides thousands of hours of listening enjoyment every day. You can make a voluntary, monthly contribution below, or look in the sidebar to the right for a link to make a one-time donation to help us defray costs. Thank you.


Here’s the nitty gritty details:

WHBQ – Jocks: Johnny Driscoll, Stu Robb. News: Syd Leak
WMPS – Jocks: Gary Smith (Gary Gears at WLS), Ron Baker. News: Mitch Michaels
WDIA – They never say their names. Not once, and there’s plenty of WDIA in this aircheck!


This is probably the definitive aircheck of the Mid-South during the Summer of 1972. There are a few interesting tidbits that go along with it. You’ll notice a few commercials voiced by some legendary Memphis jocks not heard here. Tennessee Radio Hall of Famer Jack Parnell voices a few commercials. There’s lots of Schlitz beer commercials and one spot that’ll stick in your head all day once you hear it. A commercial for “Baconettes” from Frito Lay. I never heard this before. Is Baconettes still a product? But that jingle plays several times in this composite.

Just – wow!
Aircheck by the late Robyn Watts (RIP my friend. We hope you’re smiling down on us!)
Photo by Historic Memphis – Thank you!


Steve West is a 39 year veteran of broadcasting. His air work as a Jock and News Anchor includes six radio markets and over two-dozen radio stations. Steve currently works on-air for the Super Radio USA media group out of Minnesota. Steve is the founder of the Airchexx Media Group and manages Airchexx.com and Airchexx Live - the official station of Airchexx.


November 30, 2019 at 2:07 pm

WHBQ back then was a farm-team station for Bill Drake, WMPS was Memphis, and WDIA was great R&B. WHBQ jocks have a controlled pace and style that was in keeping for the Drake Chenault sound of the era, not KHJ which had powerhouse personalities, these guys were getting their chops together to put the perfect air-check and consistency into their work to perhaps make a market jump. WMPS sounds more relaxed, love the jingle package, (maybe my favorite “The Rock..”) and presentation. WDIA is very entertaining musically and their 1972 street vibe I believe WMPS was extremely competitive with WHBQ, For my vote in the direct Top 40 race I give the edge to WMPS a bit. WDIA is awesome as well. WHBQ- Memphis served the same purpose as KYNO – Fresno, totally professional, tight, bright, well produced, but in this case didn’t quite fit the laidback vibe of Memphis.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: