By Randy Reynolds
When four women bought a radio station in Gainesville, Georgia, in the late 1970’s, the local newspaper ran a story about how unusual this was. There was a lot of gossip about whether women would do such a thing on their own. Sure, other women owned radio stations inherited from a husband or father. But women going into the radio business for themselves? From scratch? In Gainesville? In the 1970’s? This was unheard of! Surely, according to the coffee-shop chatter, there was a man behind them.
Yes, there was. Me!
The four women and I were equal partners, with each of us owning 20% of the station. They paid cash for their 20% shares. I earned mine through sweat equity. (No double entendre intended. PLEASE!)
I did the morning show, managed the station, helped with sales, handled the promotions and, of course, selected the music.
Aaah, the music.
We named the station “Country Love” and played only country hits and country oldies that had “love” in the title or in the lyrics of the song: no train songs, beer songs, prison songs, fighting songs, hound dog songs, death songs or other typical country fare. It was nothing but love songs. Country love songs.
How did that format sound? Think "nonstop wedding reception at the Holiday Inn featuring elevator music with a country twang married to teenaged angst." All day every day, every song we played was a song to...trigger the imagination; get mushy over; slow dance to. Even by the Psychedelic '70s norm of turning on and tuning out, Country Love was weird. But popular.
A ratings service showed we were number one with women in the morning. My head swelled.
Actually, my head swelled in more ways than one: I went to the beauty shop and got an Afro (it was the 1970's, after all, and experimenting was in!) The Afro made my head look as big as a watermelon; and TWICE that size in one particular photo in which the flashbulb threw the shadow of my hair onto the sheetrock wall behind me, creating one gigantic Afro!
.This was a great time in my life—I thought the world was mine, that anything was possible. I had two little daughters and a brand-new baby boy and a wonderful wife and a house in the country with a backyard big enough to accomodate my all-time favorite birthday present from Sherry, a half Arabian/half Quarterhorse named after an Iranian oil field--Abadon. My fellow-Georgian and inspiration Jimmy Carter was President. And four women who had been fans of my morning show at a previous station had bought me my own radio station.
It was fun—being owned by four women; five, counting my green-eyed wife, who thought I was enjoying Country Love so much she decided to get into radio herself.