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WWKE - A History

WWKE-AM 1370 Ocala – In 1965, Greater Ocala Broadcasting Corp. (O.W. Myers, president; Flem J. Evans, VP; and Robert M. “Bob” Hauck, VP/GM) acquired WKOS, an r&b daytimer owned by WKOS, Inc. (Robert L. Gilliam, president). The station was off the air and had been silent for two years after having had its license revoked for an on-air incident. 

The new call letters became WWKE, an ABC-Contemporary network affiliate promoted as Key Radio.  The five-kilowatt Top 40 station’s main competition in the Ocala-Marion County area was from WAPE 690 in Jacksonville.

WWKE studios were on the top floor of Ocala’s Legal Center at the corner of Pine Street and Silver Springs Boulevard. The announcers on the air were highly visible to passersby getting on and off the elevators because of its picture-window control room on one end of its suite of offices.

A major expense outlay at the onset was the cost for a set of Pams “Jet Set” station jingles. The price was an unheard of $3,500 – unheard of, at least, for a station in a market the size of Ocala. But they sounded great!

When its lease expired at the Legal Center in 1977, WWKE moved to the Cascades Office Complex on Silver Springs Boulevard east of downtown Ocala. However the Cascades had not yet been completed, so temporarily, WWKE moved into a building that had previously been a drive-in restaurant which featured curb service. The overhang that the cars parked under was demolished and the main building was renovated to temporarily house the radio station. This building was located on the corner of the property where the Cascades was located.

In 1983 the WWKE calls changed to WOCA to align the station more with the Ocala community. To promote the pending call letter switch, the station ran a teaser each hour coming out of ABC News which said, “In 7 days, WWKE will become a memory.” Each day the time would change to 6 days, then 5 days, etc. until the last day when the liner said “Tomorrow WWKE will become a memory.” On the day of the change to WOCA, the format for the rest of the day was oldies with the station giving away prizes all day. The next morning WOCA signed on with an adult contemporary format.

Other names from WWKE history include Dick Wilson (PD-1965), Bill Willett (sales manager-1965), Jack Shaw (PD-1966), Jay Kuppers (PD-1967; sales manager-1971), Paul Delaney (mid-days-1967), Bill Eckerd (chief engineer/afternoons-1967), Al Lee (news editor-1967), Simon Touloumis (Simon T/weekends-1967), Mark Adams (Mark Wert/weekends-1967), Jim Maloy (music director/afternoons-1968), Charlie Evans (GM-1969), Gene Hester (GM-1971), Lloyd Hart (PD-1971), Mike Pruett (news director-1971), John Popp (chief engineer-1971), Bill Early (music director/afternoons-1972; PD-1979), Joe Hytovick (chief engineer-1972), Brent Gibbs (news director-1973), Rick Cosner (PD/music director-1973; sales manager-1979), Marlin Moss (chief engineer-1973), W.N. Duncan (sales manager-1974), Byron Holden (news director-1975), James Carrier (chief engineer-1975), Marilyn King (news director-1979), Jay Marks (music director-1979), Clyde Moeller (chief engineer-1979), and Tishia Morgan (promotions-1979).

Station History

1965 - 1983 Other Central Florida Stations (History)

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