Dick Broadcasting founder James A. Dick has died
The group he founded with WIVK, Knoxville in 1953 had grown by 2000 to include clusters in Nashville (WGFX, WKDF), Birmingham (WAPI, WJOX, WRAX, WYSF, WZRR) and Greensboro/Winston-Salem. WIVK's Knoxville sisters at the time were WNOX-AM/FM, WOKI-FM and WXVO. The family sold all their stations except the two FMs in the North Carolina Triad: classic rock "Rock 92" WKRR (92.3) and CHR WKZL (107.5). James A. Dick died today (Sunday, Feb. 6) following what WIVK's Dave Foulk calls a lengthy illness. Foulk says, "James Dick not only helped launch the careers of several broadcasting legends, he was a community leader, founder of charities and a tireless supporter of several community endeavors in Knoxville." His former station WIVK, now at 107.7 and owned by Citadel, remains #1 in the age 12+ rankings for the market.
In December, 1952, the FCC granted James A. Dick a license to build a daytime only, 1000-watt AM radio station, and Dick Broadcasting was born. On March 20, 1953 WIVK-AM-860 signed on the air with a mixture of country (with the legendary “Cas Walker Live Country Music Show”), jazz, and gospel music, and such future stars as the Everly Brothers and Dolly Parton.
As the 50’s neared an end, radio was undergoing a massive change. Programming became more “formatted.” WIVK continued to air a broad range of music until 1961, when a strictly “Top 40” format was adopted. It was during these days that a young DJ named Bobby Denton started his career at WIVK.
In 1964, it was decided that Top 40 would be dropped in favor of country music, which seemed to have a much broader appeal throughout East Tennessee. The next year, Dick Broadcasting was granted a license to build an FM radio station. In December 1965, WIVK-FM signed on the air at 107.7 and an application was made to upgrade the signal of WIVK-AM. In November, 1966, WIVK-AM boosted its power from 1000 to 50,000 watts and moved to 850 on the dial. WIVK-AM became known as the “Jolly Green Giant.” The on-air lineup on WIVK at this time included Kenny Dearstone, Norman Majors, Claude Tomlinson, Bobby Denton (now our VP of Community Relations), Ed Brantley, Mike Hanes, and Terry Womack.