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Corydon man goes WAKY (on radio)

May 16, 2007 | 09:32 AM

When Herbert Arms signed on WPDF radio in Corydon in 1962, little did he know his son would follow in his footsteps.

Les Arms of Corydon at the controls at the new WAKY radio station in Elizabethtown, Ky.
Les Arms, who turns 56 in September, worked on the air part time at WPDF when he was 12, and soon took a hankering to a new radio station in Louisville, which operated under the call letters of WAKY.

"(Dad) didn't like rock and roll until the Beatles came along," Les Arms said, "so I kind of rocked the boat a little when I listened to WAKY. They had outrageous personalities and made it so much fun to listen to the radio.

"I remember (Skinny) Bobby Harper and Jack Sanders and Bill Bailey and Coyote Calhoun and Tom Dooley and Weird Beard and Gary Burbank and Mason Lee Dixon and a host of others who all had an impact on me and made me want to continue in radio."

Arms' career took him from WLRS in Louisville in 1973 to WQHI (Hi-95) and other stop-offs in Milwaukee, Rockford (Ill.), Ann Arbor, Detroit and eventually back home to Louisville in 1987.

After some part-time stints at WTMT, WRKA and WAVG, Arms wound up at WSLM in Salem for three years, then bolted for WSHE in Miami. He came back to Corydon and worked for WMMG in Brandenburg before snaring a job as production director at WRKA in February of 1994, where he stayed for almost 10 years.

The final stop on Arms' trek landed him at WASE KOOL 103.5 FM — an oldies format — in Elizabethtown, Ky., where he's the morning drive-time jock, announcing under the name Les Cook.

Last Friday, Arms was part of the hoopla surrounding WASE's switch to the "new" banner of WAKY. The oldies format stays, and Arms says some of the edge of the old station will hopefully be presented by the current personalities.

"I get my station back," Arms said. "To be able to listen to it and be a part of it is really special. Everyone always wanted to be a jock for (WAKY) because they were the best. It's going to be good to have WAKY back on the air, because it was the one everyone listened to."

The station's ownership — Bill Walters, Mike Baldwin and René Bell — acquired the call letters (at a hefty price) from a radio station in Greensburg, Ky. Coupled with old jingle packages, better equipment, 25,000 watts and a signal booster in Louisville to better the sound quality in office buildings, Arms believes WAKY can return to its heyday.

"I think everything that station ownership has done so far is worth it to bring the people back their station. It's really exciting to be involved in bringing it back," Arms said. "The impact of those jingles, next to that music, brings back all of those memories and stuff. I think a lot of people are going to be very happy with what we've done."

The drive back and forth from Corydon to E-town is quite a commute, Arms admits.

"But it's what I do, and it's what my daddy did. I can't make this kind of money doing anything else. I feel blessed to be in this position. It just so happened I ended up at the right place at the right time."

  1. print email
    May 16, 2007 | 11:59 PM

    From long ago in Louisville, Ky:
    "We're children who
    listen to
    WAKY on the wadio..."
    When I worked on the L&N RR...

    Bill Foley
  2. print email
    May 17, 2007 | 06:14 PM

    We also grew up with WAKY a year or two ago. One of my fondest memories was going to Louisville and 4th St. and waving at Coyote Calhoun. My sister and I were in 7th Heaven.
    Keep up the good work.
    Mary Lett

    Mary Parr Lett
  3. print email
    May 21, 2007 | 08:39 AM

    I remember in the 70's when Nixon was going through the watergate thing about WAKY playing several spoofs using sections of songs as "answers" to interviews given to Nixon!! What a hoot!!! Ya gotta love the good ole days!

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