When I was a kid, one of my favourite things to do was to listen to AM radio. Very early on I had a Radio Shack crystal radio — a magical device that required no batteries and that pulled in radio signals from all over the place. Later I got a bigger full-blown Radio Shack radio that pulled in the TV audio as well as FM and AM.

My most favourite thing was to lie in bed, after everyone thought I was asleep, with an earphone plugged into the radio. I would scan up and down the AM dial for far-flung stations, usually being able to listen for only 2 or 3 minutes until the cosmos shifted and the signal drifted out of range.

One of my more confusing finds was a radio station that identified itself, at least to my ears, as “threedoobee.” I had to listen for many months until I finally realized that their call letters were WWWE, and that they announced this as “three-w e”. WWWE was out of Cleveland, which was across Lake Erie from where we were, north of Hamilton. The mystery was solved.

Thanks to the insane obsessiveness of the web, you can now hear something like what I heard back then — an announcer for “The Monster on the Lake” doing a station check.

Sadly WWWE is now called a much more generic WTAM, so the pre-teen post-bedtime listeners of today will have no such mysteries to solve.

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, then the K/W Call Letters in the United States page might strike your fancy.


Alan McLeod's picture
Alan McLeod on August 4, 2002 - 14:22 Permalink

Radio has been one of the longest obsessions of my life and one which for me evokes being eleven more than any other. I was given a Sony AM radio when we lived in the Annapolis Valley and used that geographic funnel to listen deep into the US at night listening to events like the raid on Entebi by Israeli forces happen as reported on by a Philiadelphia all news radio station. Later I got into shortwave listening. The Warsaw Pact was a great relief to teen angst pressing more anger about running dog hegemony than hormones could fit into a day — where are those fun guys from Radio Tirana now? During the Gulf War I listened to internal and external english broadcasts from both sides with very different news than we heard. I studied during law school to music from All India Radio and Radio Ghana. And always the BBC World Service. Now, with the internet, I can listen to anything with crystal clarity on demand. The Sony 2010 is relegated, most often set on easy catches like WFAN and WBZ for Boston talk and New York sports. The intranet does not have the magic radio had, the fading in and out, the police opened letters from around the world with program schedules for the next 4 months, Happy New Years cards bulk mailed from Havana and Moscow. Like the intranet, however, “they” were out there watching me  — a member of Dad’s church was an RCMP officer who took Dad aside after a service to ask him if he was aware of the file being compiled on me due to the postal proof of my obvious Communist inclinations. My father pointed out I was 16 and clearly not a key threat.

William's picture
William on February 19, 2004 - 20:56 Permalink

My class is doing a shadow career day, for my shadow I was going to do Kane, would that be OKAY? Write back at Jean938@MSN.com

T. Parsons's picture
T. Parsons on July 5, 2004 - 19:51 Permalink

I found your site while searching for any radio call letter more or less farting around. By the WWWE was WKYC, and before that KYW on the 100 am slot. I listened to guys like Martin and Howard 6-10, Jim Runyon 10-2, Jim Stagg 2-5:30, and Jerry G 6-10. Jay Lawrence had the all night gig. These guys had the housewife hit parade (probably very not PC today), counted aligators off the E. 9th St. pier. A mushroom survey, and Congo Curt. You just had to be alive. I think the hardest hit I received was when Jim Runyon died of cancer, he was only 42. Yes, radio was a part of growing up. Maybe you heard of Nightflight 76 on WJR over in Detroit, or CKLW, the BIG 8. Man that was real radio!

cameron's picture
cameron on July 21, 2004 - 20:02 Permalink

wwwe wayt champyoun is undtaycker

Rick's picture
Rick on September 11, 2004 - 15:56 Permalink

I used to enjoy Pete Franklin’s Sportsline on 3WE!

Jim W's picture
Jim W on September 2, 2005 - 10:34 Permalink

Ahh, one of the earliest loves of my life — Radio! And from KYW/WKYC/WWWE 1100 AM, the booming clear channel voice of the Midwest! I’m told that teenagers in Miami, FL would groove to the top-40 tunes of the Jackson Armstrong show at night on WKYC, all the way from Cleveland. Airchecks of Armstrong (YO LEE-duh!), Jerry G, Jim Runyan, et al are still a free commodity on, the Net @ www.reelradio.com This is an honest plug from a faithful fan of 60s & 70s radio, and the site is a genuine 501(c)(3) non-profit repository dedicated to preserving yours (and my) memories. Sorry, Rick, there’s no “Pigskin Pete PREDICTS!!” or airchecks of the Mighty Swami’s phone calls. Peace.

denny's picture
denny on May 26, 2006 - 22:32 Permalink

I remember that a Congo Curt LP album producted by KYW/WKYC was offered for sale by the station. Any record of how man were cut and where I might find one?

jim blackstock's picture
jim blackstock on November 14, 2006 - 15:16 Permalink

Basically, my life revolved around KY radio in the 60s. martin and Howard, Runyon, Stagg, G, Lawrence, Charlie and Harrigan, Labarbara, et.al. If there was ever a stronger lineup in radio, let me know…I don’t think so. My favorite? Probably Lawrence. JB

jim blackstock's picture
jim blackstock on November 14, 2006 - 15:19 Permalink

P.S. Don’t forget Big Jack, Your Leader!! JB

Jerry's picture
Jerry on December 3, 2006 - 02:55 Permalink

I remember that a Congo Curt LP album producted by KYW/WKYC was offered for sale by the station. Any record of how man were cut and where I might find one?
Listed on eBay
enter this number in ebay search: 220054117195

SLG's picture
SLG on March 16, 2007 - 07:29 Permalink

Growing up in Cleveland in the 60s Jay Lawrence was my favorite. He came back here briefly in the 70s at the tail end of WIXYs popularity. Cleveland was a great place for radio—remember that Alan Fried coined the term ROCK AND ROLL on Cleveland radio and the great Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is here! Also, because of our geographic location, night baseball from Detroit, Chicago, St Louis, Cincy, Pittsburgh, etc. was easily picked up on even the least expensive AM transistor radio! I learned my love for baseball then…late into the night.

Thomas Wentzel's picture
Thomas Wentzel on August 13, 2007 - 18:26 Permalink

I well remember Jay Lawrence and his all night show. I used to listen under the covers with the radio pressed to my ear so my mother wouldn’t know I was awake. I was 11. I lived and died with his clubs, FOE (The Forces Of Evil, and its Leader “The Shaded Toe”) and FOG (The Forces of Good, and its Leader, “The Scarlet Pumpernickel”). I wish I still had my membership cards and all the other neat stuff they sent me. Anybody have any of that stuff or know where it can be found?

donutbandit's picture
donutbandit on March 31, 2008 - 02:48 Permalink

Does anybody remember Jim Gallant on WKYC? I used to listen every early AM in summer 1966. I had actually established email contact with him about 10 years ago, but he was terrible about answering his mail and soon never answered again. Same thing with LaBarbara, who is now actually working at a country station in Kentucky, WNKR. And the sad news this week is that Big Jack has passed away.

Barry Zuckerman's picture
Barry Zuckerman on February 28, 2014 - 00:11 Permalink

I grew up listening to Martin and Howard. It is a shame that the famous Harry Martin passed away in SanDiego a few years ago. Specs Howard who was the voice hawking his wares on the Congo Curt tapes still has his broadcasting school in Detroit. Martin and Howard were the only ones who were able to run their own cart machines with the unions permission. When the 2 left Cleveland and went to Detroit it was a sad day for Cleveland radio. Lohman and Barkley sucked.

Barry Zuckerman PS I spent 30 years in the radio biz because of these 2 mugs.

Barry Zuckerman's picture
Barry Zuckerman on February 28, 2014 - 00:19 Permalink

Runyon was the smoothest and the best I ever heard. When he spoke it like he was personally asking me a question. Jim never belonged doing early mornings in Chicago. He was the 10AM-2PM women’s show guy. He was pure silk. His wife was Jane Roberts who was trooper 36-26-36 on the radio at CFL. I went to broadcasting school in 65-66 in Chicago and was the gopher for the great Ron Britain and Barney Pipp. Those 2 guys were very nice to me and always took care of me financially. What a time for radio in Chicago.