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Picture of Ron Brandon at WAYS
Ron Brandon at WAYS, Charlotte, NC, circa 1966.

Picture of Magnecorder M30 full-track tape deck
A Magenecorder M-30 full track "portable" tape deck, mid-1950's. (Courtesy reel2reeltexas.com.)

Picture of Ron Brandon at WLEE
Ron Brandon at WLEE, Richmond, VA, circa 1969.

Picture of Deborah and Ron Brandon
Mrs. Deborah Brandon, (The former Deborah Pickens, Associate Editor, Radio Music Report), with Ron Brandon at Fort Sumter, SC, 2003.

The Ron Brandon Collection

BY RON BRANDON In the tenth grade in Memphis, Tennessee, I elected to take a course in "radio" (it was that or bookkeeping, tough choice). Turned out that the FCC inspector came to town four times yearly to administer tests for various licenses. In order to get out of school, we would always take a test. Got a ham, second class telegraph, and first phone licenses before graduating high school. Then a fellow from WTUP in Tupelo, Mississippi called and wanted to know if I would be their engineer (all stations had to have first phones in those days). Sure, why not. He let me run the board, and eventually play some top 40 at odd hours.

For you Elvis fans... when Elvis came back to Tupelo in '56 to play a concert at the fairgrounds.. I was in control of a one-track Magnecorder (who remembers those?) and the interviews with Elvis, and his mom and dad on that 50th anniversary album were recorded by me. When showtime rolled around, novice that I was, I asked the RCA man if I could record the show. He, of course, said Hell no!. So I shoved the recorder under the stage, snaked a mike out in front of the speaker, and recorded it. When Elvis' mom died, I sent him a copy of the tape, and RCA found it in the closet at Graceland after his death — and that's the concert you hear on the album. History!

On to WMOC in Chattanooga for six months, then to WNOE in New Orleans. What a thrill working 9p-1a at a top-40 of that era that covered three states at night! And the road unfolded: BIG WAYS in Charlotte — a truly legendary station working with Jack Gale, J.J. Jeffrey, and Long John Silver. WLEE Richmond for my first taste of programming, and I hosted a weekly dance party on WTVR-TV6 and promoted concerts (Hendrix, Supremes, Chicago, The Who, etc). I was PD at WGOW Chattanooga when Ted Turner owned it, and spent some time at WSAI/WJDJ Cincinnati, one of the "DJ" stations. And it was while I was at WORD in Spartanburg S.C. I bought a "tip sheet" — Southern Music Survey from Dick Reus — for $1000. It was started by Paul Drew; Dick wanted to sell and get into record promotion.

I had the sheet (Radio Music Report) for about six years, moved to Atlanta, and had about a dozen conventions. I got to know a lot of great people, like Scott Shannon, Ole Bear Davenport, Charlie Minor, John Long and others. The magazine failed in the depression of 1980, and it was back to radio for a living, first at WCAW/V100 in Charleston, WV, and then WGRD Grand Rapids, MI, plus an effort as GM at a couple of stations. Burnout, and the advent of consultants, rigid formats and playlists, etc. wrote it on the wall for me. I "retired" to Charleston, SC and got into the nightclub biz some 12 years ago. Still active as ham (N4AH) and play a lot of golf.

The Repository thanks Ron Brandon for sharing!

[Descriptions by Ron Brandon and Uncle Ricky, as indicated]

G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (14 Khz)
Ron Brandon, WAYS Charlotte, NC November 13, 1966 (14:07)

. . . it's necessary to go back and make a very technical adjustment with my left foot . . .

Picture, Description rightHere's a "One-Sheet" from the WAYS sales department, introducing Ron Brandon to potential advertisers (Click to Enlarge)
[Description by Ron Brandon]

Here I am on a Sunday afternoon in November, 1966 at WAYS in Charlotte. What about that reverb! And it's true, the Kaplans did buy nearly every jingle that PAMS produced. Note the variety of contests — always running. You'll hear Jack Gale on production, as well as Long John Silver and Melvin.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (14 Khz)
Ron Brandon, WGOW Chattanooga, TN 1973 (07:13)

. . . I'd like to study abroad for about a year, overseas, or right here at home . . .

[Description by Ron Brandon]

This is an aircheck of Ronny Ronnie Brandon, during my short stint as PD at WGOW, Chattanooga Tennessee, Spring of 1973.

Ted Turner owned the station while I was there, and it was fun.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (14 Khz)
Ultimate Radio Bootleg, Southeast Edition:
Z93 WZGC-FM Atlanta GA 1979
(07:59)

. . . There's no other cereal like Tree Krispies . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

This exhibit is from Ultimate Radio Bootleg, Special Southeast Edition, distributed by Mercury/Phonogram in 1979. It's a composite of WZGC/Z93 featuring Ross & Wilson, John Young, Randy Reeves, and Dale O'Brien. The LP was mixed and mastered at WHBQ in Memphis by production wiz Rusty Black.

Top quality all the way through, great voices, fun contests - for those who think Top 40 ended a few years before 1979, you may change your tune after hearing this very slick composite of Atlanta's Z93.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (14 Khz)
Ultimate Radio Bootleg, Southeast Edition:
WBBQ Augusta GA 1979
(05:00)

. . . the Americans had their Tang, the Russians had their vodka, and they said that's one giant screwdriver for mankind . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

This exhibit is from Ultimate Radio Bootleg, Special Southeast Edition, distributed by Mercury/Phonogram in 1979. It's a composite of WBBQ featuring Buddy Carr (Comments say not the same jock with the same name from KAAY almost two decades earlier), Charlie Fox, a Q In My Car jingle, and Dickie Shannon. The LP was mixed and mastered at WHBQ in Memphis by Rusty Black.

This is a great composite of Augusta Top 40 from July 20, 1979, or at least, that's the day that a portion of the Buddy Carr excerpt was recorded.

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Golden Gifts, previously contributed by Ron Brandon
Bobby Ocean KHJ Radio and Records Weekend 1979
Crazy Dave Otto, KOPA Scottsdale AZ, 1979
Dick Purtan, CKLW, 1970-something
KCBQ San Diego, 1958-1978
Seattle Radio Crazies Reunion KYYX 1979
The Legendary Lujack
Murphy in the Morning, WAYS Charlotte, NC
Ron Brandon, WNOE New Orleans 1963
Rick Dees, KHJ Los Angeles, 1979
Disco Sucks WHBQ Composite and Bob Sherwood, 1979
WRJZ Knoxville, TN Composite, 1979

More to Come from The Ron Brandon Collection!
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