Radio, TV, and Tupelo Community Center
WELO, 1952 | When I was 15 years old, my brother got me a part time job at WELO radio, taking remote broadcasts services from churches. Not much money, but I could now say, I was working in radio. Getting this job meant I had enough money to buy a car.
WTUP, 1953 | When I was 16 years old, I quit my job at WELO and began working after school at WTUP radio, a new competitor station, as announcer and disc jockey. I worked all day on weekends and during the week I started work at 3:00pm and ended around 6:30pm (WTUP was a daytime station which meant they played sunup to sundown). I liked the schedule as it allowed me time to go on dates, attend ballgames, and hang out with friends in the evening.
BUDDY'S DRIVE IN, 1953 | Most drive-ins in the early 50's had carhops to take your order. I talked the owner of a drive-in called Buddy's into putting in a glassed-in room overlooking the customers drive-in spaces so people could see me DJ live - it became "Buddy's Live DJ Customer Request Show". The deal we made was that the owner would buy a one-hour remote over Radio Station WTUP where I worked, and I would work two extra hours following the live remote and take record requests from his customers. He agreed, had the room built, and it was a hit! I had to hire a cop to direct traffic because it was so popular. After summer, and school started back, I only worked weekends. I kept doing this for a couple of years, until i moved to college.
SOUTHERN COLLEGE, 1957 | I left for college in 1957, and rode to Hattiesburg, MS - my friends Jackie London and "Crazy" Grissom rode with me. But, college for me lasted only a short time. The college had a small campus radio station that was supposed to teach me how to be a radio announcer and DJ - but i was ALREADY a radio announcer and DJ when I got there, I was working at this point for both WHSY and WBKH in Hattiesburg to help with college expenses. I gave it a semester, then quit my jobs and moved north.
WLSM, Louisville, MS, 1957 | After my brief college stint, I moved to Louisville, MS and worked for WLSM radio as a disc jockey. I was running late for work one morning and had lost my key - frantic to get into the radio station to begin work, I broke the window out and climbed through. The owner didn't take too well to my breaking out the window, so that was the end of that job.
WTWV TV (now WTVA) | WTWV was Tupelo's first television station and opened in 1957. I worked as an announcer and film director. I also had my own children's TV program on weekdays at 4pm showing old western movies called "Sagebrush Theater with Wild Bill Boren". At that time all local TV shows were live. I wanted to make my kids show special, like a real western movie, so each day we would invite "little partner guests" to be on the show. The station had built a small western room set for the show. Before I introduced the day's featured movie, I asked the kids questions about their school and always, who was their favorite cowboy. One afternoon I planned to do something different for my TV program, I had my friends bring some horses to the TV station and at the beginning of the show, we would ride in from the west creating a live western movie outside the back doors. After riding up, I would lean over and Say "How-dy Little Partners" and introduce the western movie. One day, I leaned over the left side of the horse's neck to introduce the movie, and the horse bowed his neck backwards, hit me under the chin and kicked me out. I fell off the horse, and being a live program, the cameras just followed me to the ground and the station started the western movie. I had trouble living that scene down.
TUPELO COMMUNITY CENTER & FAIRGROUNDS, 1957 | After leaving WLSM, I moved back to Tupelo, MS and became the Community Center Director. I worked at the Tupelo Community Center for about 3 years and left to work show business full time. I recommended my dad for the job and he was hired and kept the job until he retired.