Rock Radio Heaven (U-V-W)


TOMMY VANCE

Born: July 11, 1941, Oxford, England

Died: March 6, 2005, Dartford, England

Also known as: His birth name was Richard Anthony Crispian Francis Prew Hope-Weston; called himself Rick West on-air when he first arrived in the U.S.

Stations: KOL Seattle, KHJ Los Angeles, Radio London, Radio Caroline, Radio Luxembourg, BBC Radio 1, Capitol Radio, Greater London Radio (GLR), Virgin Radio, VH-1 in the U.K.

Notes: Got his air name at KOL after taking the Tommy Vance name that had been intended for another jock. Interviewed an estimated 10,000 guests in his career, including Prince Charles and the Rolling Stones. Died of a heart attack.


BOB VERNON

Born: 1942, Ohio

Died: September 30, 2012, Parker, Colo.

Also known as: Vernon with a "V" at WNBC Birth name was Robert Vernon Cosart, Jr.

Stations: WNBC New York, WGAR Cleveland, WRAL-TV, WLFL-TV Raleigh, N.C.

Notes: News anchor at WRAL-TV from 1989 to 1995, then at WLFL-TV, which became WB-22, from 1995 to 2006. Grew up in Ohio. Died at the age of 70.


JACK VINCENT

Born: November 7, 1917, Youngstown, Ohio

Died: January 29, 2017, Santee, Calif.

Stations: KXO San Centro, Calif., KFXM San Bernadino, Calif., KCBQ San Diego.

Notes: Helped build the Boulder Dam - now the Hoover Dam as a construction worker. Later went into the U.S. Marines. On-air at KCBQ from 1955 to 1970. Broadcast his show from the former transmitter site at Santee, and people would come to watch. He transferred to engineering in 1970, staying at KCBQ until his retirement in 1982.


LEE VOGEL

Born: March 3, 1927, Pittsburgh

Died: August 28, 2013, Charlotte, N.C.

Also known as: Birth name is Leo Francis Vogel

Stations: WMAQ Chicago, KQV, WJAS Pittsburgh, WDRC Hartford, CKEY Toronto, WKBW, WBNY Buffalo, N.Y.

Notes: Taught in Pittsburgh before going into radio. Earned a gold medal for South Carolina in basketball at the 1998 Senior Olympics. Huge history buff including anything on the Civil War.


LONG JOHN WADE

Died: May 15, 2005, Cape Cod, Mass.

Also known as: The Love Leader, His birth name was Carl Wehde

Stations: WDRC Hartford, WFIL, WIBG, WIFI, WCAU Philadelphia, WSPR-AM Springfield, Mass., WHIL Medford, Mass., WAAB Worcester, Mass., WHAV Haverville, Mass., WORL, WTAO Boston, WCBS-AM New York

Notes: Was the only deejay to accompany the Beatles for their entire 1964 tour, some 35 days, 26 cities and 15,000 miles. His brother, Don Wade, worked at WDRC at the same time he did. Ran the American Academy of Broadcasting from 1970 to 1979. Was Jerry Blavat's announcer on his syndicated TV show. Gave up his school and broadcasting after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Settled in Cape Cod in 1993 but suffered a stroke in 1995 which left with speech problems and loss of the use of his right hand. Died of a heart attack at the age of 66.


PAUL WAINWRIGHT

Born: December 2, 1957

Died: July 15, 2014

Stations: CKGL Kitchener, Ont., CHOG, CISS-FM Toronto, CKOC, CHAM, CKLH (K-Lite) Hamilton, GIANT-FM (CIXL) Welland, Ont.

Notes: Spent nearly 19 years at CKOC-CHAM-CKLH beginning in 1986. Actor and extra for films like "Man on the Train", "Mr. Viral", "1-800-MISSING", "My Babysitter's a Vampire" and the TV show "The Border." Worked as a corporate head-hunter after his radio days and also drove a truck. Died of a heart attack.


RHETT HAMILTON WALKER I

Died: December 18, 2012, Victoria, Australia

Stations: KUTY Palmdale, Calif., KOL Seattle, KYNO Fresno, Calif., KFXM San Bernadino, Calif., KRLA Los Angeles, KRUX Phoenix, 2UW Sydney, Australia, 3DB, 3AK, FOX FM Melbourne, Australia, 6PR Perth, Australia

Notes: Born in New Zealand to an American mother and a British father, Walker came to the U.S. in the mid-'60s when hiring British-sounding jocks was the thing to do (his New Zealand accent was considered close enough). Left the U.S. in 1969 and moved to Australia where he worked at various AM stations and helped establish FM radio. Was first GM at FOX-FM in Melbourne when that station launched in 1980. Left radio to become professor of business at Latrobe University in Victoria.


DON WADE

Born: 1941, New York

Died: September 6, 2013, Florida

Also known as: Birth name was Donald Wehde. His on-air nicknames included "The Swinging Six Plus One", "Don Juan", "Long Don Wade" and "Long John's Other Brother"

Stations: WTID Norfolk, Va., WHAV Haverhill, Mass., WORL Boston, WUPY Lynn, Mass., WDRC Hartford, WNOE New Orleans, WKBW Buffalo, CHAM Hamilton, KLIF Dallas, WIBG Philadelphia, KOL Seattle, KTAC Tacoma, Wash., WUSN-FM, WLS Chicago

Notes: Spent 55 years in broadcasting. He and his wife Roma entertained at WLS for 27 years ending in 2012 (they kept the fact they were married a secret until 1998). Brother of Long John Wade. Died of a brain tumour at age 72.


JOHN WADE

Born: December 31, 1939

Died: May 15, 2006, Cape Cod

Also known as: Long John Wade, Johnny Midnight (WSPR), Big D Wade (WDRC for two weeks); birth name was Carl Wedne.

Stations: WHIL Medford, Mass., WAAB Worcester, Mass., WHAV Haverville, Mass., WORL, WTAO Boston, WSPR Springfield, Mass., WDRC Hartford, WFIL, WIBG, WCAU AM/FM, WIFI Philadelphia, WCBS-FM New York.

Notes: Nicknamed "Long John" because of his 6' 4" frame. Accompanied the Beatles during their first tour of the U.S. in 1964. Brother of Long Don Wade. Left WFIL in 1970 to start the American Academy of Broadcasting. It closed in 1979, as Wade gave up the school and broadcasting due to illness. Inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in 2009.


JACK WALKER

Also known as: The Pear Shape

Stations: WADO, WLIB New York

Notes: Shot to death in 1970.


GLENN WALTERS

Born: 1937

Died: December 9, 1999, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Also known as: Big G

Stations: CKEY, CKFH, CFTR Toronto; WBAB Babylon, N.Y., KODS Duluth, Minn., CJLB Thunder Bay, Ont.

Notes: Did "The Whole Bag" show at CKFH, one of Canada's first progressive rock music shows. Worked in 14 radio markets during 40-year career, including New York, Los Angeles, Honolulu. Nickname "Big G" came from General Foods, a sponsor of one of his early shows. Had voice part in the movie "Jaws". Died at age 62.


BILL WARD

Born: January 29, 1930, Italy, Texas

Died: July 30, 2004, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Also known as: Birth name was Billy John Wardlaw, Nickname was "Butch"

Stations: KBEC Waxahachie, Tex., WAKY Louisville, Ky., WRR Arlington, Tex., WPKO Providence, R.I., WPLO Atlanta, KBOX Dallas, KBLA-KBBQ, KRLA, KLAC, KMPC, KUTE-KMPC/FM-KEDG-KLIT-KSCA Los Angeles

Notes: Started in radio at age 15 in Waxahachi, Tex., near his hometown. Programmed WPLO and KBOX. Also programmed KBLA, helping that station transition to a country format as KBBQ. Later became station manager at KBBQ, then at KLAC and went on to become executive VP and then president of Metromedia. Left Metromedia in the early '80s to become president of Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters, where he became VP-GM of KMPC. In 1985, Ward bought KUTE for Golden West and a few call-letter changes later it became the first AAA station in Los Angeles as KSCA. Ward retired after the station was sold in 1997 and made into a Spanish-language station. Died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 65.


EARL WARREN

Born: October 10, 1933, Regina

Died: October 19, 2002, Toronto

Also known as: Birth name was Earl Warren Segal

Stations: CKCK Regina, CKY, CJOB Winnipeg, CFRN Edmonton, CFRB Toronto, CING-FM Burlington, Ont., CHWO Oakville, Ont.

Notes: His midday program "The House of Warren" was an institution at CFRB for 22 years. Spent 52 years in broadcasting. Died of cancer.


ALLAN WATERS

Born: August 21, 1921, Toronto

Died: December 3, 2005, Toronto

Stations: Best known for making CHUM Toronto the first 24-hour Top 40 station in Canada.

Notes: Waters was selling patent medicine in 1954 when his boss offered to sell one of his properties to him. The property he wound up with was CHUM, a low-rated dawn-to-dusk station that didn't seem to have much of a future. Under Waters leadership, CHUM became one of the leading Top 40 stations of all time, and CHUM Limited became one of Canada's leading broadcasting companies.


BOBBY WAYNE

Died: 1990

Also known as: Wizard, as in Wizard Bobby Wayne; Birth name was Wayne Satterfield.

Stations: WITH Baltimore, WGKV Charleston, W. Va., WWHY Huntington, W. Va, WSAI Cincinnati, KDWB Minneapolis, KCBQ San Diego, WUBE Cincinnati, WCBS-FM, WYNY, WHN New York, WSRZ, WAMR Sarasota, Fla.


HAL WEAVER

Died: December 31, 1971, Surrey, B.C.

Also known as: Birth name was Harold Douglas Weaver

Stations: CKRD Red Deer, Alta., CJCA Edmonton, CHLO London, Ont., CKOC Hamilton, Ont., CHUM Toronto, CFUN-CKVN, CJOR Vancouver

Notes: One of the many notable afternoon drive men CKOC has had (others include Roger Ashby, Dave Charles, Dave Smith and Jason Farr.) Died of cancer at age 28.


GENE WEED

Born: April 12, 1935

Died: August 5, 1999

Also known as: "The Weedy One"

Stations: KFWB, KLAC, Los Angeles, WQAM Miami, Armed Forces Radio, also worked in Texas and Omaha radio

Notes: Did last music show on KFWB on March 10, 1968. Voted top all-night deejay by Billboard Magazine in 1966. Produced "song films" well before they became popularily known as "music videos". Also produced many television programs, including the Golden Globe Awards. Died of lung cancer.


JIM WEIR

Died: March 16, 2017, London, Ont.

Stations: CFPL London, Ont., CHOK AM-FM Sarnia, Ont., CFOX, CKGM (as Dave Cannon) Montreal

Notes: Most of his 30-year career was spent at CFPL. His brother is CFL Hall of Famer and two-time Montreal Alouettes Grey Cup champ Glen Weir (1974 and 1977). Jim Weir died at the age of 69.


WEIRD BEARD

Died: November 22, 1995, Pewee Valley, Ky.

Also known as: Birth name was Carl Burton Markert

Stations: WPDF Coryton, Ind., WINN, WAKY Louisville, WBBF Rochester, N.Y.

Notes: Diagnosed with MS as a young man, but that did not stop from from becoming a great career in broadcasting and law enforcement. Went into law enforcement with the Rochester Police Department after his stay as PD at WBBF. Sometimes played his father's old bugle on the air. Died of complications due to MS.


BOB WELLS

Died: December 7, 1989

Stations: WEBR, WGR, WKBW-TV, WGR-TV Buffalo, N.Y., WBTA Batavia, N.Y.

Notes: Did famous Saturday morning "Hi-Teen Show" in the fifties; some say it was a forerunner to American Bandstand. Did "Pick-a-Polka" show on WGR-TV in 1950s. The Niagara Falls, N.Y.-native died at age 68.


DARYL WELLS

Born: December 10, 1922, Victoria, B.C.

Died: December 12, 2003, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Also known as: Birth name was Daryl Wille

Stations: CHML, CHCH-TV Hamilton, Ont., CFRB Toronto

Notes: Best-known as the "Voice of Racing" at Woodbine and Fort Erie race tracks in southern Ontario from 1956-1986. Worked as a deejay, sportscaster, big-band announcer and host of "Bandstand"-style TV show from Hamilton, Ont., in late '50s. Was voice of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (football) and Hamilton Red Wings (hockey). Son Daryl, Jr., followed in his footsteps as a track announcer. Died of heart disease.


CACTUS JACK WELLS

Died: 1999

Stations: CKY Winnipeg

Notes: Did mornings at CKY. Father of TSN's John Wells.


KENNY WELLS

Died: May 25, 2003

Stations: CKFH Toronto, CING-FM Burlington, Ont.

Notes: Wells was part of the first year rock lineup of a CKFH, part of an on-air staff that included Tom Fulton, Big G. Walters, Norman B., and Mike Williams, also deceased. Died in boating accident near Honey Harbour, Ont.


MARK WHEELER

Died: October 28, 2001

Stations: WONN Lakeland, Fla., WLCY, WINQ Tampa Bay, Fla., WYSE-WWAB Lakeland, Fla.

Notes: Started in radio at age 14 in Rock City, S.C., His great voice enabled him to do much production work on his side with his company Wheeler Productions. Was PD and air personality at both WYSE-WWAB and WONN. Operations director at WLCY. Died in his sleep of a massive heart attack.


BIG JIM WILLIAMS

Died: 1974

Stations: KDKA, KDKA-TV, WWSW Pittsburgh

Notes: Originally from Uniontown, Pa. Williams did weekly countdown show on Monday nights during his 1960-69 stay at KDKA. He did the last-ever all-night music show at KDKA in the summer of 1969. After leaving KDKA, Williams managed an ice cream parlour in the South Hills section of Pittsburgh. Died of a heart attack at the age of 51.


CHUCK WILLIAMS

Died: September 9, 2008, Phoenix

Also known as: Birth name was Jim Welch (which he used at KMBR/KLTH), was also Chuck Williams (at WHNC, WLS and CKLW), Chuck McKay (at CKLW) and Greg Austin (after CKLW)

Stations: WNHC New Haven, Conn., WLS Chicago, CKLW Windsor, Ont., WMYQ Miami, WVBF Boston, KRIZ, KKLT, KTAR Phoenix, KVI Seattle, KWFM Tucson, Ariz., WHB, KMBR/KLTH Kansas City

Notes: Earned everlasting Top 40 fame for his on-air meltdown in 1975 http://rockradioscrapbook.ca/cklw-chuckmckay.ram. Died of natural causes at the age of 59.


MIKE WILLIAMS

Born: 1941

Died: December 30, 1985

Also known as: Mysterious Mike Williams; Birth name was Ken Clarke which he used at CJSB

Stations: CKFH Toronto, CFOX, CKGM, CJAD Montreal, CJED Edmonton, CJSB Ottawa

Notes: Originally from the Vancouver area. His brother is Terry Clarke, jazz drummer with the Jim Hall Trio and Oscar Peterson among others. Williams was killed in an auto accident while driving between Ottawa and Montreal on December 30, 1985.


NAT D. WILLIAMS

Born: October 19, 1907

Died: October 27, 1983

Stations: WDIA Memphis

Notes: Williams broke the colour barrier in the south with his "Tan Town Jubilee" program on WDIA from 1948 to 1972. For more on Williams, click here.


BIG WILSON

Died: October, 1989, Selma, S.C.

Also known as: Birth name was Malcolm John Wilson, Jr.

Stations: WNEW-AM, WNBC, WHN New York, WKAY, WIOD, WCIX-TV Miami, KYW Cleveland (among others)

Notes: Spent 11 years at WNBC before leaving in 1974. TV voice of the PBS program Star Hustler. Was a movie host at WCIX-TV. Was 6 feet, six inches tall and weighed over 300 pounds. Died on 65th birthday.


GERRY WILSON

Born: July 10, 1924, Hamilton, Ont.

Died: June 27, 1998, New York

Stations: CKFH/CJCL Toronto

Also known as: Birth name was Gerald Allan Wilson

Notes: Chief Engineer throughout CKFH's 30 years of existence and continued in that role when the station became CJCL in 1981. Produced Toronto Maple Leaf and Toronto Blue Jay broadcasts for many years. Had his own company, Wilson Sports Productions. Of trivial importance is the fact that he hired this site's webmaster for his first radio job in 1974. Died of cancer.


LARRY WILSON

Died: January 5, 1997

Stations: CHUM, CHUM-FM Toronto

Notes: Wilson worked as a newsman deejay at both CHUM and CHUM-FM and also did sports at CHUM. Broke news of John Lennon's death on CHUM-FM. Left radio and moved to Dominican Republic after three decades at CHUM.


VERNON WINSLOW

Born: April 1, 1911

Died: December 13, 1993

Stations: WJMR, WYLD, WMRY, WWEZ, WJBW New Orleans

Notes: Doctor Daddy O; wrote column under the name Poppa Stoppa and tutored many white deejays who used the Poppa Stoppa nickname. Was fired from WJMR for talking into the mic when a white deejay was a no-show. He then moved to WWEZ, but had ride freight train to the studios because of his colour. Billed as "New Orleans First Coloured Disc Jockey". His show - called Jivin' with Jax (it was sponsored by Jax beer) - was the top-rated in New Orleans. Taught art at the Chicago Art Institute prior to moving to New Orleans.


JACK WINTER

Died: April 7, 2004, Toronto

Stations: CKFH Toronto

Notes: Was music director at 'FH in the 1970s, during that station's oldies and country formats. Died of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.


BILL WINTERS

Died: November 26, 1975, New York

Stations: WCEC, WFMA, WEED Rocky Mountain, N.C., WGAI Elizabeth City, N.C., WFBS Spring Lake, N.C., WHAP Hopewell, Va., WLCY, WALT Tampa, Fla., WQAM Miami, KYW, WKYC Cleveland, WIBG Philadelphia, CKLW Windsor, Ont., WPOP Hartford, WCAO Baltimore, WBZ Boston, WCBS-FM New York

Notes: Had WPOP's highest-ratings for the morning in the late '60s. CKLW morning man in the early '70s. Died of a heart attack right after finishing his midday show at WCBS-FM. He was 35.


JIM WOOD

Born: 1932, Tyler, Tex.

Died: 1990

Also known as: Big Jim Wood; The Vanilla Gorilla

Stations: KBLA, KGFJ, KRLA, KFFJ, KROQ Los Angeles, XEPRS Mexico, KILT Houston, WIBG Philadelphia, KONO San Antonio

Notes: Won Billboard's Leading Soul Music Air Personality in 1970, 1971 and 1972. Was dubbed the "Vanilla Gorilla" when he was one of only two white d.j.'s on r&b KGFJ. Worked as a security guard after his radio days. Died of complications from emphysema. He was 58.


GEORGIE WOODS

Born: May 11, 1927, Georgia

Died: June 18, 2005, Boynton Beach, Fla.

Also known as: The Guy with the Goods, The Man with the Goods

Stations worked at: WWRL New York, WHAT, WDAS, WPGR, WPHL-TV, WIBF-TV Philadelphia

Notes: Spent more than 40 years on the air. Hosted TV dance show in the '60s. Made the Philadelphia charts in the 1960's with "Potato Salad", a novelty song about his on-air patter. Gave Jerry Butler his nickname "The Ice Man" (because he was so cool on stage) and in 1964 coined the phrase "blue-eyed soul" in reference to the Righteous Brothers. Program director at WDAS. Inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame in 2005. Was a prominent voice in the U.S. civil rights movement. Participated in civil rights marches on Selma, Ala., and Washington, D.C. The City of Philadelphia declared May 14, 1993 "Georgie Woods Day". Died of an apparent heart attack.


DON WRIGHT

Died: June 1, 1997

Also known as: Dandy

Stations: WMJX, WFUN, Miami, WRMF West Palm Beach, Fla.


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