Radio experience was fun while it lasted

Dr. David L. Chancey's picture

Sometimes I briefly wonder what I’d be doing if God had not called me into the pastorate. I might be the owner/operator of a small town radio station.

Radio always fascinated me. One Christmas I got a small transistor radio. I’d lie in the bed and slowly tune the dial, listening to distant stations until I finally fell asleep. How could some signal from WHO, Des Moines, Iowa, or WLS, Chicago, or KMOX, St. Louis, bounce around the atmosphere and find its way to my little radio in Milledgeville, Georgia?

After listening to WSB’s Elmo Ellis and Aubrey Morris get us off to school in Atlanta, small town radio was quite a change after our move to Milledgeville. I soon discovered that, like the community newspaper, the locals cherished it because it was “our” station.

On school mornings, while rushing through breakfast, my parents had to catch up on the morning news on the local station: today’s weather, the funeral home report (who died during the night and which funeral home had the body), and the school lunch menu.

Local government news, what was happening at Georgia College, and the overnight police report rounded out the news.

When I was a senior in high school, the Oconee Broadcasting Corporation launched another AM station to compete with the longtime Milledgeville icon. My two former midget league football coaches were part-owners. I called one and told him I’d be interested in working at WXLX so I could learn the business.

“Get your third class FCC license and then call me,” he said. So I ordered the material, studied hard, went to Atlanta to take the test, passed it and gave him a call. He hired me as the part-time DJ to work weekends and fill in.

The FCC gave us 1,000 watts and made us broadcast sun-up to sun-down. We were limited, but did our best to give a more professional sound. Our announcers sounded like real announcers, the flow was smooth with no pauses between songs and commercials, and we had an award winning news man.

WXLX had a “middle of the road” format. That meant we played a pretty good mix of music without going to any extreme. We ran contests and giveaways.

Fall Saturdays were challenging. Because the other station was the UGA affiliate, we carried the Georgia Tech game. When you worked the board, you had to pay attention because you had to plug in local commercials at the right moment. You had to listen for the station ID cue at the top of the hour.

Plus, we carried ABC network news. When the ballgames were on, I had to record the news commercials at the bottom of the hour and later replay every network spot after the game was over. There was a lot of juggling at times when ballgame cues and network cues were happening at the same time.

Sundays were slightly more relaxed. I’d come in after church, and play music until 2 p.m. Then Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 was aired 2-5 p.m. I’d still have to plug in commercials at the right moment, and still had to record and work in network commercials before we went off the air.

When I transferred to Georgia Southern University, I moved on from the radio station. It was different, and was a good experience to build on.

WXLX, the “other station,” hung in there for several years, but without greater wattage and a longer broadcast day, they finally went off the air. It was fun while it lasted.

David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church in Fayetteville. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Vacation Bible School is June 8-12. Visit them on the web at

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