Who's Who at WONN

Duane's Co-Workers

Arch Abernethy
Willie Anderson, Sr.
Bob Bartel
Marji Bedgood
Bob Berry
Rev. James Berry
Mike Booker
Jerry Bright
Charles Bruce
Garland Burt
Ed Cain
Jim Campbell
Brooke Chamberlain
Chickenman
Bert Christopher
Frank Clarke
Bob Collins
Ted Covington
Bob Crews
Tom Dell
Larry DeVore
Al Dohany
Jack Eilertsen
Howard Ellis
Florida Calling
Florida Citrus Mutual Calling
Ron Fraiser
Bill Francisco
Joe Garagiola
John Gilman
Eddie Glover
Murray Goldsborough
Dick Goleno
Stan Grams
Rich Halten
Ron Hart
Gabriel Heatter
Bob Helmick
Mike Helminski
Cal Hendricks
Don Hiers
Alex Houston
Happy Howard
John Hoy
Jan Hutchens
Dan Huth
Joe Pyne Show
Bob Jones
Jay Kuppers
Frank Laseter
Ernie Legge
Fulton Lewis, Jr.
Jim Maloy
Larry Marker
Phyllis Maxwell
Bill McClure
Yvonne McDaniel
Graham Mela
DuLaurence Miller
Pat Morgan
Mutual Game of the Day
Skip Paradise
Mike Parrish
June Pastore
Buddy Penn
Jonnie Pinkston
Ed Pyle
Queen for a Day
Jay Rich
Roy Riley
Joyce Robbins
Terry Roberts
Dave Ross
Butch Rush
Dan Sanborn
Gene Schlei
Marge Schmidt
Bob Shoopman
Pappy Smith
Jerry Smithwick
Smoke House Serenade
Bill Snyder
Dave Sousa
Steve Sparkman
Russ Starner
Jim Stevenson
Vic Swan
Tom Talcott
John Taylor
Robert Taylor
The Ebony Special
Time With the Taylors
George Tuttle, Sr
Jacqueline Valentino
Tutt Walker
Phil Wayne
Dick Weaver
Alan Wendt
Dave Wenger
Mark Wheeler
Bob White
Bob Wolfe
Shirley Wolfe

Duane F. McConnell

Duane was originally from Peoria, Illinois, born on October 5, 1920. He was raised in Tampa and graduated from Plant High School. In 1941, he left the University of Florida with a degree in Accounting and went to work for Montenegro Accounting in Tampa for $25 a month.

He had a lifelong interest in radio (earning the Boy Scout Radio Merit Badge) and became an amateur radio operator on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. That interest, and a quadruple salary increase to $25 per week, led him to become a shift engineer at WFLA in Tampa. After returning to Gainesville to finish his degree in Electrical Engineering, he and two business partners formed Coastal Broadcasting and built Lakeland radio station WONN.  When group sold WONN in 1957, he moved to Leesburg, FL and established WBIL AM-1410. Three years after that, he sold WBIL, returned to Lakeland, and bought back WONN, but this time there were no partners.

A few years went by and, still wanting to expand outside Polk County, Duane got FCC approval to build WSLC AM-1340 in Clermont in neighboring Lake County. This venture, however, turned out to be unsuccessful because of a freeze that devastated the area’s citrus-based economy in the winter of 1963. Waiting out the required three-year ownership period was a struggle but, in 1965, it was over and he sold the Clermont station. Six years later, in 1971, he unexpectedly sold WONN to NBC Sports personality Joe Garagiola.

He also founded or co-founded three Lakeland cable TV companies (Community Cablevision, Polk Cablevision, and Peoples Cable), became a partner in WVFM, a 100,000-watt Lakeland easy listening FM station, and held a financial interest in several other smaller central Florida stations.

After retiring, Duane continued to make his home in Lakeland and passed away there February 3, 2016 at the age of 95.

Station History

1949 - 1957 WONN (Management)
1959 - 1971 WONN (Management)

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