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 THE DISC JOCKEYS


Jim Oliver
 

When Huntsville, Alabama's Jim Oliver was a child, he would get out his 45's and play them on the stereo, pretending he was a disc jockey. After graduating from high school in the mid-70's, Oliver went to college for broadcasting. He jumped through all of the necessary hoops...then as Jim says, 'I couldn't believe how hard it was to get into radio.' After going to every station in town time after time and finding the doors closed, he finally caught a break. In 1977, WLRH Huntsville's General Manager George Dickerson hired Jim to work a couple of days a week as the 'sign-off' guy. Oliver told him he'd love to, but didn't know how to sign off a radio station. After learning the drill, Oliver assumed the 8-10 PM shift (signing off at 10) running pre-recorded programs. A mere 2 weeks later, Jim landed a gig at WHBP. 'HBP was the top Country station in the market. He did all-nights on the weekends. After a month of running time and temp voice tracks voiced by the daytime jocks, Jim was allowed to do his own thing. In 1979, local 50,000 watt Top 40 powerhouse WAAY had an opening. Jim answered the ad, and was hired a week later. Jim says, 'If you landed a job there, you were considered to have made the big time. I felt I had arrived. After about a year, FM radio began to rise in popularity. A change in programming took place for my shift. WAAY radio was losing its listeners to FM and the ratings. Upper management went to Larry King live at nights. I was disappointed and told the Program Director he could get anyone to baby-sit the station and take meter readings.' In 1982, Oliver went down the street to WAHR (Top 40 FM). In '83, over to WFIX (Oldies). By 1989, Jim went back to his original port of call, WBHP. He recalls, 'One day Bill Murry (the Program Director) asked me if I would consider a format change on Saturday nights to a Classic Country format. I agreed. He gave me full access to the station library and told me to have fun with it. I could play anything I wanted as long as it was Country and stayed within the format. To make the show interesting, I tied in fads, fashions, and events of the decade of music I played. I spent several hours each week doing research for this one night a week show that aired Saturday nights from 7PM to midnight. 'The Classic Country Jukebox' quickly became the highest rated show at the station and pulled good numbers in the Arbitron ratings. Soon I was not only hosting the show, but also became the producer, writer, and director.' Around the start of the 90's, WHBP (an AM station) was sold and the new owners changed the format to News-Talk. After a stint at WPZM-FM (Possum Country) from 1995-97, Jim Oliver left radio. Today he's employed as a wholesale account sales representative for the Century Automotive Group in Huntsville. Like many of his contemporaries, Oliver misses the old days of radio when the DJ had to be creative and make the station successful. E-Mail him at joliver2@hiwaay.net

  

 
     

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