Friday, August 12, 2011

WWOD-AM/Lynchburg: One-Time Radio Ruler Now Dust In The Wind

When I was 16 years old, one of my first "real" jobs was working as a weekend/overnight DJ at WWOD-AM in Lynchburg, Va. Man, was that one of the great experiences of my life. This was around the time when FM radio was just beginning to dominate the airwaves—which, of course, eventually led to the demise of any AM outlet whose calling card was music.

When I was there from 1979-1981, WWOD 1390, "Your Place in the Country," was still dominant, but the end was in sight, when a country FM signed on in the early 1980s and almost immediately swiped the vet station's audience, understandably.

The station limped along for years afterward, syndicating various AM talk formats, while its FM WKZZ, an automated AC when I was there (and gospel before that) eventually surrendered any kind of individuality by simulcasting the signal of nearby top 40 powerhouse K92, so that that station had signal dominance in Lynchburg, as well.
The building that housed WWOD/WKZZ has been decaying for years and every time I return to town, I stop by, touch the brick and pay respects. But this year, at last, the structure was leveled, offering its legacy a little dignity. All that remains now are stardust memories.Above, the front of the studios in 1963; below, inside in the late 1970s. That's George Jones in the black and white shoes. He came by the station after performing at E.C. Glass High School and according to the DJ was bombed out of his skull.By 2007, the station had long been boarded up...
Below, a former disc jockey obtained permission somehow to go inside the building late at night, where he took pictures of the rubble that remained on the interior of the building. It's astonishing that when the company finally called it quits, no one bothered to find any value in some of this vintage equipment and keepsakes from a bygone era.Another visit to Lynchburg and another shot of the building...
And then, earlier this summer, the end... You can actually see entire interior walls during demo.
And then, this week.... the final pics I will ever take of WWOD, your place in the country... once more.