Friday, September 27, 2013

Patsy Cline's Funeral

Without getting into her life story, let's begin with Patsy Cline died over 50 years ago, but her legend lives on.  If that's your cup of tea, Ellis Nassour wrote one of the best Patsy Cline biographies out there Honky Tonk Angel. I read it, the radio detail that caught me was that of her six pallbearers, five were disc jockeys. The sixth was a Nashville area producer of little renown. Patsy's career rose in an era when personal relationships with DJs could make or break a career. She made it.

Joltin' Jim McCoy - WJEJ-AM, WHPL-AM, WEFG-FM, WINC
Jim actually had a long radio career in Virginia. His first gig on the radio was as a performer with Bud Messner and his Saddle Pals on WJEJ-AM in Hagerstown in about 1945. He developed a taste for radio and by 1946 got a 30 minute Saturday morning slot on 1400 WINC-AM in Winchester, VA Patsy's home town. It was that year a 14-year-old Patsy Cline (the Virginia Hensley) played on his program. In 1960 he became a weekday morning show host on 610 WHPL-AM across the street. He cut some of his own country tunes and later had a late night talk show, heavenly Hot Line on gospel station 102.5 WEFG-FM, again in Winchester.  More here.

Sammy Moss - WRFL-FM, WINC-AM
Richard F. Lewis, Jr. launched WFVA-AM in Fredericksburg in 1939. Two years later, he built 92.5 WRFL-FM in Winchester, which was one of the first FM stations in the nation. WRFL later became WINC. Sammy led Sammy Moss and the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys in the late 1940s. He later had a program on WINC at the same time as Jim McCoy. WINC-AM and WRFL-FM simulcast 50% at that time so it's unclear which station he was on. In all likelihood it was both. In the book Mountaineer Jamboree, Ivan M. Tribe wrote that Patsy played his show as well.

Bill Allison - WINC-AM
Bill was a much more obscure character. He's listed as press at 1400 WINC-AM in 1965. Prior to that the only reference I find is at 690 WNNT-AM in Warsaw, VA

Dick Dovel - WFTR-AM
Apocryphal. There are no references to Mr. Dovel outside of the Nassour book. The radio station 1450 WFTR signed on prior to 1951 on 1450 AM in Front Royal, VA and continues today as a Dial Global satcaster.

Eddie Matherly - WKCW-AM, WICO, WDVM
WKCW in Warrenton, VA was the "Big K" in that era. He was also on 540 WDVM-AM in the late 1950s.  He hosted a morning show Hits From The Hills, and an afternoon country show the Delmarva Jamboree.In 1959 he moved to WICO-AM in Salisbury, MD. He worked as far west as KRES-AM in Moberly, MO in 1961. He only started at 1420 WKCW-AM shortly before Patsy Cline's death in 1963. He died of a heart attack just a year after Patsy. More here.

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