If you were tuned into Detroit radio in the 1980s, you remember WHYT, 96.3 when it was first launched with “the hot rockin’ FLAME throwing” format.
You could listen to the station for an hour or so at a stretch, before you were either out of breath, or just tired of the same songs over and over which were repeated more than twice a day.
Holding down afternoon drive was the hot rockin’ flame throwing J.J. Walker!
I thought J.J. was great on the air back then too. It had to be some sort of athletic event to even survive that format.
J.J.’s style was reminiscent of the jocks of the late 1960s and early 70’s that were on the AM band, and he fit like a glove on WHYT. In fact, his voice was the only one I remember from that station.
J.J.’s claim to fame was locking himself in a studio and not coming out until “whatever.” I don’t remember what the outcome was, but one thing we DO remember is his name and who he was in this market.
Guys like Steve “Super” Cooper, “Truckin” Tom “Cookin’” Kent (on WOMC Friday nights), and Ted the Bear Richards were all part of that era from which is style emerged. Those of us who were growing up them loved them all.
WOMC has made an effort to bring some of them back, stopped calling themselves an oldies station all while doing what it had to do to survive in tough times.
WOMC couldn’t give us “Ted the Bear” long term, and since his short tenure at WOMC, landed close to his home town at a station in Myrtle Beach, SC. Nonetheless, his voice will be forever associated with his long rein at the beloved CKLW, “The Big 8” of the past.
J.J. Walker reminds me a little of Ted Richards, but that’s not why I remembered who he is. Ted has a little bit of a southern, folksy down to earth approach all while being high energy and upbeat at the same time. His voice would basically growl the call letters with an urgency, each letter being distinctive. Every vowel was important the way he delivered it. Timing in and around the music was flawless, and those rare times it wasn’t he was human. He was funny on WOMC. He was HIMSELF.
J.J. is kind of an urban version of Ted. That is intended as a compliment, because I think they are both great talents in their own right individually.
It is hoped J.J.’s stay at WOMC will be a long one, because we need some of his kind of excitement and high-end radio in this town.
Welcome back to the hot rockin’ FLAME throwing jock.
- Bob Burnham