WJOY history

Mr. David W. Howe first conceived the idea of starting WJOY in the early 1940s. Because of a government freeze on the licensing of radio stations during World War II, The Vermont Broadcasting Company did not make its application until 1945. The only difficulty in securing the license was that of satisfying the Civil Aeronautics Authority on the proposed location of the tower. The construction permit was issued on February 6, 1946.

Original WJOY Studios at 633 Main Street, Burlington 1946

The original building housing WJOY's offices, studios and transmitter was erected over the summer of 1946 at 633 Main Street (near Living and Learning at UVM) in Burlington. John Quill, chief engineer, threw the switch at noon on September 14, 1946. WJOY transmitted on 1230 kilocycles with a power output of 250 watts. WJOY was on the air from 5:30am-12:10am daily.

Burlington Daily News Ads from 1946

Popular programs included "JOY ala Carter" and "Rambling With Carter" both hosted by Val Carter, "Club 1230", "Exploration" a weekly public affairs forum, and "Commentary" featuring Dr. Clayton Lane of the University Of Vermont. Local personalities included Jack Barry, Val Carter, Al Spokes, Frank Balch, Jack Davis, Bill Brennan, Wynne Casey and Ramona Dion. 

Val Carter (standing) and local celebrity Goody Goodrow 1951

WJOY's was an affiliate of the ABC radio network and held that affiliation into the 1960s. National programs included "Don McNeils Breakfast Club" from Chicago, The Happiness Exchange with "Big Joe" Rosenfield . WJOY was a typical ABC affiliate giving listeners local as well as network programming for about 18 hours a day. Morning and evening "drive" were local disc jockey-style and live music programs; mid-day was network serials and game shows; evening "prime time" was network dramas and variety shows. Programs were generally fifteen minutes in length. There were some thirty minute and sixty minute programs. Play by play sports coverage was extensive, Red Sox Baseball beginning in 1948, UVM and St Michaels basketball and long gone UVM Football. 

UVM - St. Michaels College WJOY Broadcast Schedule 1953

By the late fifties WJOY focused on more local programming and less network. In April of 1961, the FCC increased WJOY to 1,000 watts of power. During the sixties network affiliation was changed from ABC to CBS. Network news was carried at the top of each hour. Commentators Lowell Thomas, Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow were carried. Lowell Thomas often visited Vermont and used the facilities of WJOY for his network commentary. In 1962 WJOY FM was added. (Now WOKO). Personalities in the sixties included, Bob Hebert, Bernie Smyle, Tom Cheek ,Bruce Davis, Ted Barker, George Goldring and Dean Slack.

Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy at the Burlington Airport November 7, 1960, The next day he will win the presidency. His remarks were carried live on WJOY (note the WJOY microphone).

The new facilities under construction in December of 1967. Rice High School is in the top center of the photo.

As Burlington and the University of Vermont grew, the space that WJOY AM and FM occupied at 633 Main Street, was needed for a new student dorm complex. WJOY was offered property off Shelburne Road on the UVM farm. A new larger broadcast complex was built during the winter of 1967. Broadcasting from the new facilities started in March of 1968. 

WJOY AM & FM Broadcast Center June 1968

During the 1970s popular hosts on WJOY included, Bob Lobel, Ross Lee, Dick Noel, Joel Najman, Graeme MacKenzie, Paul Chapman (yes, Mrs. Chapman's bouncing red headed baby boy), Kevin Jaibur, Bob Lord, Madeleine Kunin, Jim Guest and Larry Brett. Programs included "Locker Room" a daily sports show, "Radio Mystery Theater" from CBS radio and the "Jack Barry Show". WJOY had 3, 1 hour long news blocks daily and carried local high school sports as well as Red Sox Baseball and Boston Celtics Basketball.

In 1983, Hall Communications Inc, purchased WJOY, and the music programming was changed to Al Hams' Music Of Your Life. Personalities during the 80's included, Bob Leavitt, Graeme MacKenzie, Pete Richards, Joel Chandler, Ginny McGehee, Chet Cook, Yancy Stillinger, Steffen Parker with the "Sunday Morning Radio Flea Market". Newsmen on WJOY included Jim Condon, Stewart Ledbetter, Mike Calhoun, Bob Knotts, Andy Potter and John Goodrow.

In 1990, WJOY's music programming was dropped for an all news format provided by CNN Headline News. After 18 long months, the all news format was dropped and music returned to WJOY. Morning hosts included Bob Leavitt and Pete Richards and afternoons with Ginny McGehee. In 1993 Steve Pelkey and Ginny McGehee started the "Breakfast Table" and Ginny is still hosting that program today. In 1996, WJOY celebrated it's 50th year of broadcasting. 

The WJOY 50th Birthday Party at the Sheraton in the fall of 1996.

They are, left to right, Steve Pelkey (1993-Present), Lee Bodette (1978), John Goodrow (1984-1988), Bernie Smyle (1954-1962), Ted Barker (1954-1968), Joel Najiman (1971-1987, Joel rejoined us in 2005), Bob Leavitt, (1955-1961, 1977-1993), Jack Barry (1948-1951, 1975-1977 *Jack passed away in 1997), Ginny McGehee (1983-Present), Jim Condon (1984-1988).

The WJOY 55th Birthday Party in October 2001

The WJOY 55th Birthday Party was held at the Holiday Inn Express's Sunset Ballroom on October 20th 2001. The Swinging Vermont Big Band provided the music and Steve and Ginny from the Breakfast Table were hosts.

During the summer of 2006 the ad agency handling the advertising for Heritage Ford on Shelburne Road wanted to run a "heritage" TV campaign. We were contacted to provide audio from a championship UVM game from 1973. We couldn't find the original audio but were able to provide WJOY's jingles and the location of Paul Chapman the announcer on the original broadcast. Paul has still got it, he was able to recreate the game winning point and with WJOY jingle the commercials were produced and ran on the local TV stations through the spring of 2007.

Ginny at the birthday party announcing the winner of the cruise.

The 60th Birthday was celebrated with Rod Hill (who joined WJOY in 1986) joining Ginny McGehee at the breakfast table. Rod had put together audio from WJOY's past. Audio from the sign on at noon on September 14, 1946 was played, including comments from the then ABC Radio Network president, the mayor of Burlington and the Governor of the state of Vermont. The Burlington Marching Band was on heard from that day playing the National Anthem. Jingles, excerpts of the Val Carter Show "Ramblin' With Carter"from 1947, commercial's, promos and excerpts of the Fibber McGee and Molly show were also featured. The air check of Bob Lobel and Ross Lee was featured as well. Listeners called in and shared their memories of WJOY. A party was held at the Holiday Inn in South Burlington where a Western Caribbean Cruise was given away.

Now in our 74th year of broadcasting to the Champlain Valley, WJOY remains top rated among Burlington's AM stations and handily beats some FM radio stations consistently in the Arbitron ratings. Ginny is still hosting the Breakfast Table and has been with WJOY since 1983, almost half of the time WJOY has been on the air. 

This web site made it debut in the Fall of 2000. Since then we have heard from several alumni DJ's of WJOY. Paul Chapman from the 1970's (his jingle can be heard in the WJOY montage), wrote us from Michigan where he has been working in real estate. Yes, his mom and dad are well and he is still their bouncing red headed baby boy. We have also heard from Bruce Davis who worked weekends in the late sixties while attending UVM. We have also heard from John Nichols the Program Director from the early 70s. Ross Lee Contacted us in 2003 and was excited to hear an aircheck of him with Bob Lobel on this site. Kevin Jaibur contacted us in April of 2006 to let us know he is alive and well in Pennsylvania. Kevin worked on WJOY while in college from 1974-1978. Bob Lord stopped by the station in February of 2010 with a tape of WJOY from 1970. If you have worked here at WJOY or have a memories of listening to WJOY please send them to rhill@hallradio.net. If you have actual audio recordings please indicate that in your email to us.