Monday, April 1, 2019

Cincy Radio: WUBE Celebrates 50-Years Playing Country Hits

Fifty years ago today, WUBE made the risky decision to drop Top 40 rock 'n' roll hits and play what was called "country western music."

The gamble sure paid off, despite low ratings in the 1970s before the country music boom of the 1980s fueled by Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and other stars. For most of the past 25 years, the station has been in the top five here.

Nashville has been supportive for five decades, sending young up-and-comers like Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, the Bellamy Brothers, Billy Ray Cyrus and others for free shows at Taste of Cincinnati or B-105's old "Free Day in the Country" before they were stars.

"When we signed Billy Ray, nobody knew him, not even us," recalls midday DJ Duke Hamilton, who came to WUBE-FM in 1977 when actor Danny Kaye and Les Smith owned the station through their Kaye-Smith Enterprises. "Right before he got here, 'Achy Breaky Heart' hit and people were standing on cars and in trees to see him."

It all started with WUBE 1230 AM switching to country by playing Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On" on April Fool's Day in 1969. Eighteen months later, in October 1971, WCXL-FM changed its call letters to WUBE-FM under Bill Jenkins, later WXIX-TV's general manager.

Today listeners are hearing some of the county classics "which were pivotal in our growth as a station, which we don't play these days. We're going to have some fun with it," says program director Grover Collins, who came here in 1997. Listeners woke up today with Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire," Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' "Islands in the Stream," Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, McEntire, Twain and other country stars.

According to to John Kiesewetter at, B-105 has collected five Country Music Association (CMA) Station of the Year awards; two NAB Crystal Awards for community service; a National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Marconi Award for Country Station of the Year; and one Academy of Country Music Station of the Year award. WUBE DJs also have collected four CMA Personality of the Year awards and four ACM Personality of the Year awards.

No comments:

Post a Comment