Who's Who at WPLA

George's Co-Workers

Ron Baxley
Al Berry
Bob Collins
Eileen Connor
Jim Derrick
June DeShong
Mary Jim Everidge
Della Flewellan
Florida Citrus Mutual Calling
Trooper Jim Foster
Gospel Homecoming
Stan Grams
Dennis Hair
Don Heither
Ernest Holbrook
Ed LaFumee
Jim Maloy
Terry Nichols
Joe Penny
Ed Pyle
Jim Richardson
Hank Robinson
Randy Robinson
Jack Rushing
Dick Shiflett
Ken Shroyer
Jim Shumway
Doris Smith
Ercelle Smith
W. A. Smith
Gordon Solie
Steve Sparkman
This 'n That
Jim Ward
Faye Whitehead
Norma Kay Wilson
Joe Wilson

George Friend

Polk County native “Your friend, George Friend” is remembered as the announcer who conducted the “Man On the Street” interviews for Lakeland NBC affiliate WLAK in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. In 1951, he joined Plant City’s WPLA as general manager and went on to become co-owner. During his years there, he also held a financial interest in Lake Wales radio station WIPC.

On Wednesday nights, it wasn’t unusual to see the avid ham radio operator (W4MTU) in his office, pecking away at his typewriter, writing commercials and recording them for the upcoming weekend. WPLA was a daytimer back then and, after sign-off, the control room doubled as a production room. He did remotes for area businesses, too, events like the annual new car show downtown each September when the new models rolled out and, at election time, the live political rally broadcast from Alderman’s Ford.

George suffered a heart attack and passed away in the summer of 1968.

Station History

1951 - 1968 WPLA (Management)
1951 - 1968 WPLA (On Air Personality)

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