Augusta Remembers WBBQ After 65 Years - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Augusta Remembers WBBQ After 65 Years

By George Eskola

WBBQ has a place in the Augusta Museum so it must qualify as a place in city's history.

 “Absolutely it was a pioneer in a variety of ways it had a real character who created it with George Weiss back in the late 1940',” says Augusta Museum of History Director Nancy Glaser.

It was George Weiss who created WBBQ 65 years ago, in 1947, and it was a station that created a sensation with listeners in the Augusta area.

“WBBQ was the station I mean that was the station that everybody listened to when you went out of town you'd come back home and say oh thank God I've got my WBBQ,” said Ed Turner a long time Augusta resident, music columnist, and performer who was influenced by the music he heard on WBBQ.

Former Mayor Bob Young is a WBBQ alum, starting as a night-time DJ in 1966.

“They played rock and roll music they had a cast of disc-jockeys called the good guys they had mobile news cars running all over town reporting on every accident and jay walker it was all the urgency of all of that,” said Young.  

And one of those running all over town reporting the news was the station owner George Weiss.

“He was actually out there out there almost every day in Car 1.

“And once you heard that BAAAM, BAAAAM,  BAAAM, WBBQ mobile news fleet or something like that you knew something serious had happened, remembers Turner.

But for most WBBQ was mostly seriously entertaining, with music, and talented on air personalities, and a management team that made it happen, a lot of the stations success in its heyday credited to program director and DJ, Handsome Harley Drew.

“He was just a genius when it comes to programming,” said Young.

What WBBQ was doing was exceptional with programming not only entertaining and building a loyal local audience but also creating a national reputation.

Bruce Stevens came to WBBQ is the mid 70's and served as both Music and Program Director.

 “It was incredible the reach of the radio station and the power of the station as far as drawing people to a location, said Stevens.

Starting in the mid 1970’s Johnny Odum was one of the draws you might know him better as Buddy Carr.

Bob Young was the news guy on Carr’s morning show.

“Buddy was greatest when he was improvising, he didn't do a lot of show prep things happened on the fly with Buddy it was just a riot to work for him every day,” said Young.

And every week WBBQ fans had a riot getting their hands on the weekly Fabulous 40 surveys, WBBQ’s list of the top hit songs.

“The old WBBQ top forty surveys which are just awesome they came out free every week and most would go by the Home Folks and get one,” said Turner.

“If it wasn't there by two o'clock on Thursday afternoon when we put it out or Friday people started calling in where's the Fab 40, where's the Fab forty,” said Stevens.

And in Augusta this was also a must get a WBBQ "Q" card

 “Everybody had to have a "Q" card it was just a phenomenal promotion,” said Young.

 “If you had one of these in your pocket you could get discounts at the movie theater and discounts on records,” said Turner.

They called it Tiger Radio, and for decades WBBQ roared across the radio waves.

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