In the late 1950’s, Roy was Program Director at WHOO, one of two Orlando Top 40 stations (the other, WLOF), while Tampa Bay didn’t yet have even one. Upon hearing that the station was tearing up the market over there, WALT General Manager George Fee hired Roy and brought him to Tampa to see if he could duplicate the magic. The opportunity came in December 1958 when WALT flipped to Top 40 and the audience reaction was immediate. It was a HUGE hit!
The following year, Rahall Communications’ St. Pete Mutual affiliate WTSP also switched to Top 40 as WLCY. They, too, recognized this radio genius from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and soon hired him away from WALT to be their Operations Manager and fill afternoon drive. As the “Shy Guy,” he kept WLCY on top throughout the 1960’s and, along the way, coined the phrase “Great Tampa Bay,” which was widely used on the station.
When WLCY-TV Channel 10 finally got the okay from the FCC to go on the air in 1965, it was good news for Roy, too. He got the nod to host its Saturday afternoon teen dance party, “10 A-Go-Go.” In the 70's, he formed Wrenpro Corporation with former WLCY stable mate Dick Stambaugh (Dick Starr) to syndicate the radio show “Opus,” an annual countdown of the top 100 songs of the year, and other audio productions.
Then, in the early 80’s, after a long absence on the air in the market, he and his dozens of show characters, like the Weather Chick, resurfaced on WHBO, which had switched from country to an oldies format. A few years later, in 1985, he tried politics and made an unsuccessful bid for mayor of St. Petersburg.
Radio legend Roy Earl Nilson, a man with a genius IQ and a member of MENSA, passed away in 1987 from lung cancer at the age of 52.
1958 - 1987 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Program Director)
1958 - 1987 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)