Who's Who at WLAK

Jean's Co-Workers

Bert Arnold
Garland Burt
J.C. Davis
George Friend
Grand Ole Opry
Charlotte Humphries
Bill Lee
Tal Murray
Earl Rahrer
Phyllis Roddenberry
D. A. Thomas
S.O. Ward
Mary Whistle

Jean Parrish

Jean was a 1942 graduate of Lakeland High School who went on to host WLAK’s first radio program for women beginning in 1949. When station owner S.O. Ward heard her voice, he thought she would sound great on the radio and, impressed with her style, offered her a half hour show each afternoon.

As was the case in those days, some local programs had to find their own sponsors in order to get on the air, but Jean had no trouble lining up merchants to underwrite her show. Many of them were located in the Dixieland area of Lakeland and were eager to promote their business on her show.

Many of Jean’s programs contained interviews with top Hollywood stars of the day like Gary Cooper, Forrest Tucker, and Charlton Heston who were usually appearing somewhere in the Central Florida area. She would find out where they were, schedule an interview time, and with the help of WLAK Chief Engineer Bill Lee to set up and handle the recording equipment, meet with each celebrity for the all-important one-on-one interview.

A former president of the Junior Woman’s Club of Lakeland and first runner-up in a Mrs. Lakeland contest, Jean was also campaign manager for Mrs. Toni Bagley, the first woman to run for the Lakeland City Commission. Jean left Lakeland and WLAK in 1951 to accompany her Navy husband, Scotty, on a trip overseas. When the couple returned to the States, they eventually settled in the Tarpon Springs area where they raised three children - two girls, Hope and Chris, and a boy, Larry.

Jean passed away in 2003 at the age of 76.

Station History

1949 - 1951 WLAK (On Air Personality)

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