Who's Who at WPLA

Al's Co-Workers

Doretha Adams
Ron Baxley
Katrina Bracewell
John Brill
Al Brock
Joy Burt
Dave Campbell
Bob Collins
Eileen Connor
Rex Davenport
B. Mason Dean
Paul Delaney
June DeShong
Scott Edwards
Dick Elliott
Mary Jim Everidge
Della Flewellan
Florida Citrus Mutual Calling
Trooper Jim Foster
Jane Friend
George Friend
Sharon Garrison
Gospel Homecoming
Dennis Hair
Ron Haley
Dale Hall
Charles Hasbrouck
Don Heither
Ernest Holbrook
Henry Jay
Mike Jenkins
Mike Keen
Wayne Kysor
Ed LaFumee
Kenny Lamb
Mike Lusk
Charlie Mack
Kevin MacKenzie
Jim Maloy
Pat Morgan
Rick Morgan
John Morrow
Lucille Moses
Terry Nichols
Joe Penny
Lola Pullen
Ed Pyle
Gerry Quick
Jay Quigley
Teresa Reeves
Allen Rich
Jim Richardson
Ed Ripley
Jackie Ripley
Randy Robinson
Hank Robinson
Jack Rushing
Reid Schmidt
Frank Schulte
Eileen Schulte
Darek Sharp
David Sharp
Dick Shiflett
Ken Shroyer
Clay Smith
Doris Smith
Ercelle Smith
Steve Smith
W. A. Smith
Steve Sparkman
Darryl Tharin
This 'n That
Wes VanZile
Don Vineyard
Dale Wade
Don Wallis
Jim Ward
Faye Whitehead
Norma Kay Wilson
Joe Wilson
Lindsey Yates

Al Berry

Al Berry spent over 40 years in Tampa Bay broadcasting, beginning his radio career at 970-WFLA while a college student at the University of Tampa. He joined his Plant City hometown station, WPLA, in 1958 as a deejay and his line, “I’d rather be a little late and still be Al Berry than the late Al Berry” became a signature sign-off on all of his radio shows. However, it wasn’t long before he realized where the real money was in the business, moved into sales, and eventually was named sales manager.

In the summer of 1968, he had already turned in his letter of resignation to accept a job at a Winter Haven station when longtime WPLA GM George Friend died from a sudden heart attack. That’s when owner W.A. Smith approached him with an offer he couldn’t refuse – stay, manage the station, and become part owner.

It was about this time that Berry started a new show on the station called This 'n That, a daily phone-in swap shop program which also served as a forum for community issues from time to time.  A couple of years later, Ercelle Smith, the owner’s son, joined him on the show and the banter back and forth between the two made it an instant hit with listeners.

After the elder Smith passed away in 1975, Al bought a greater financial interest in WPLA so that he would own 49% of the operation and Ercelle, 51%. In 1987, the two were approached by a buyer with deep pockets and decided to take him up on the offer and sell. For awhile, he continued to help the new management with sales but eventually left to work with the local Chamber of Commerce and the Paso Fino Horse Association.

He lived in Plant City where he and his wife, Patsy, raised three daughters – Kellie, Lori, and Karen. Over the years he was been active in civic affairs and served as civil defense director, president of the local Lions Club and Dover Civic Club, and director for the Florida Strawberry Festival. He’s also been on the board of the Florida Association of Broadcasters and Hillsborough Community College, and was an avid amateur radio operator (W4WKH).

Al passed away June 18, 2018 at his home with his family by his side. He was 83.

Station History

1958 - 1990 WPLA (On Air Personality)
1958 - 1990 WPLA (Sales)
1968 - 1987 WPLA (Management)

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