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Shep's History at Station
Last Update: 03-19-2017

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WCKY - 1530 AM
Cincinnati, Ohio
March 1, 1948 to October 18, 1948


[ Courtesy: Steve Glazer - 09-26-2016 ]

Shep sometimes spoke of working in his early broadcasting career during a "hot summer" at a powerful Midwestern radio station, running 50,000 watts, that was heard farther than even WOR. According to Shep, it was located in a hotel, with the studios in large, empty guest rooms, while its offices and engineers were located 7 floors away. The station was said to be owned by "C. G. Bullard," a very short man of between "4 feet nine inches and 4 feet 12 inches," who also owned many other businesses. Bullard required his name to be constantly mentioned on the air. Shep was given the assignment of working a daily all-night show, which he variously called "Hillbilly Hit Parade" or "Hillbilly Hit Parade Jamboree." Shep said the show had been on for many years, and always opened and closed with the same old scratchy copy of its theme music, "Steel Guitar Blues." Shep told how he quit the station after being asked by Bullard to sign a 3-year contract. Shep never did mention the actual call letters of the station, but he did refer to it as "K-L-U-C-K." Two of the WOR shows where Shep talked about this station aired on June 27, 1964, and August 4, 1975. The historical record demonstrates that the station was WCKY. ************************************************************************************************************* Radio station WCKY was created in 1929 by Lydell Beall Wilson -- who always went by "L. B. Wilson" -- in Covington, Kentucky, the "CKY" in the station's call letters. L. B. Wilson, the station's longtime owner and general manager, was small in physical stature: his WWI draft card called him "shorty"; his WWII draft card more precisely said he was 4 feet 11 inches tall. In 1939, the station increased its power to 50,000 watts on a clear channel of 1530 kc., and moved its offices and studios from Covington (corner of 6th and Madison Avenue) to the Hotel Gibson at Fountain Square (Fifth and Walnut Streets) in downtown Cincinnati, right across the Ohio River from Covington. (The Gibson was torn down in 1977 and replaced by Fountain Square South.) The station's offices were on the mezzanine level of the Gibson, while the programs were broadcast from former guest rooms located on the floors above. After the move to the Gibson, the station's powerful transmitter and antennas remained in Kentucky, giving WCKY a signal heard throughout much of the United States, and even outside the country. L. B. Wilson also maintained his numerous business interests in Covington, including many movie theaters and a bank at the site of the station's former studios on Madison Avenue (a block or so from where Shep first lived after moving to work in Cincinnati in 1947). In the mid-20th century, WCKY was particularly well known in the Midwest and South for its evening country music programs, which went by the names of "Hillbilly Hit Parade" and "WCKY Jamboree." The country music programs actually started and ended with "Steel Guitar Rag" -- not "Steel Guitar Blues" -- the station's longtime theme. Hear the 1946 recording of the station's actual theme music here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEvOGPnnzkA Shep started at WCKY on Monday, March 1, 1948, after having left WSAI less than two months earlier. His WCKY debut was apparently as DJ on an all-night record program called "Night Hawks," which had been added to the station's lineup two months earlier, on New Year's Eve. In May, Shep moved from the station's all-night record show to its 2-hour mid-morning "Gold Rush" broadcast, following the 8:00 news. Shep's last appearance in the local radio listings for WCKY was on October 18, 1948, on "Gold Rush." Two weeks later he would be back on the air as an announcer at WKRC in Cincinnati.

Where Shep Made Reference To This Subject
Photos:




Vintage postcard for Hotel Gibson

Courtesy: Steve Glazer




L.B. Wilson (aka C.G. Bullard), owner of WCKY

Courtesy: Steve Glazer




Sign for WCKY at Hotel Gibson

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



March 01,1948
Radio listing from Cincinnati Enquirer

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



March 02,1948
Article from Cincinnati Enquirer announcing Shep's debut on WCKY

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



April 02,1948
Ad from Cincinnati Enquirer for live appearance by Shep

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



May 13,1948
Article from Cincinnati Enquirer announcing Shep's move to "Gold Rush" program

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



October 18,1948
Cincinnati Enquirer - last radio listing with Shepherd on WCKY

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



1948
Radio Annual listing for WCKY

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



December 07,1966
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


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