UGA Libraries Logo

Interview with Roland McElroy, November 15, 2017

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:34 - Experience as a disc jockey

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Let's start with a little bit of your early life.

Segment Synopsis: McElroy describes working as a disc jockey for WSFB during high school in Quitman, Georgia. He talks about Elvis Presley's rise in popularity from 1956 to 1965. He mentions attending the University of Georgia where he worked at a local radio station called WGAU.

Keywords: John Holliman; Rock and roll; college; education; employment; music; news; radio shows; reporters

00:09:30 - Radio technology and audience

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do you remember how may watts WGAU and WDOL were?

Segment Synopsis: McElroy describes the wattage and signal range of the local radio stations in Athens, including WRFC, WDOL, and WGAU. He explains how WRFC (which he worked for as a master's student) had the best music and most coverage while WDOL was popular with students. He states that WGAU (which he worked for as an undergraduate student) had the fewest listeners. He discusses WGAU's move to spilt FM and AM programming and its transition to FM stereo broadcasting.

Keywords: classical music; education; listeners; popular radio; stereo systems; watts

00:17:40 - Different programing of local Athens radio stations

Play segment

Partial Transcript: How would you describe the difference in programming between WGAU and WRFC at this point right now?

Segment Synopsis: McElroy describes how WRFC stayed on top of music trends, playing rock and roll and Motown music. He discusses how WGAU focused on serious news and easy listening music. He explains how WDOL played pop music and also had news, stating that they had a small signal and mostly student audience.

Keywords: Rock and Roll; The Beatles; block programing; disc jockeys; hard rock; popular music

00:22:20 - Live music over radio

Play segment

Partial Transcript: WRFC back in the '40s and '50s had local artists and Georgia artists play live in the studio.

Segment Synopsis: McElroy states that local Athens stations did not play live music over the radio in the 1960s. However, he discusses his experience as a teenage disc jockey at WSFB in Quitman, Georgia where he programed live performances including various local African Americans bands. McElroy also talks about the limited performance space in Athens while he was a student, mentioning how most outside groups performed for student organizations or fraternities.

Keywords: African American musicians; Motown; gospel music; music venues; race; southern Georgia; the University of Georgia

00:31:51 - Integration of UGA and President John F. Kennedy's administration

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So you get here right at this historical moment for the University of Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: McElroy briefly describes attending the University of Georgia one year after its integration. He states that many students did not support integration, but he says there was little open resistance. He asserts that the integration of the football team improved race relations on campus. He also talks about his memories as a disc jockey during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Robert Kennedy's assassination, and President John Kennedy's assassination.

Keywords: African American students; Martin Luther King Jr.; The Cold War; civil rights; news; radio; reporters; sports