July 8, 2014 – What an incredible day at the Merry Go Round with our friends from WJLT! THANK YOU to all of our friends who came together to support Chemo Buddies, and especially Johnny Kincaid, a world class guy who decided to turn his last day in radio into a fundraiser for Chemo Buddies. Thanks to the overwhelming support from the community, we raised over $3,000!
(Media stories below)
Story from the Evansville Courier and Press:
Signing off: 105.3-WJLT DJs say their last on-air goodbyes
By Zach Evans
Posted July 8, 2014 at 9:33 p.m.
Sitting inside the Merry-Go-Round Restaurant at a table supporting a few microphones, a pair of laptops and a mixing board, Johnny Kincaid, program director and morning personality at Evansville’s classic hits station 105.3 WJLT, addressed his audience Tuesday evening for the last time after 27 years on Evansville’s radio waves.
Choked up and with tears in his eyes, Kincaid told listeners: “It has been my privilege every single day for 42 years to be able to get up every morning and go into work doing what I love … I’ve certainly loved the time I’ve spent on the radio here in Evansville, and I just want to thank everybody for being such wonderful listeners,” said Kincaid as he started the next and final track.
“And we’re going to head off in to the sunset with ‘Happy Trails,’” he said, launching into the Dale Evans and Roy Rogers tune that closed out the duo’s radio and television programs in the 1940s and 50s.
The crowd gathered at the Merry-Go-Round turned the closing ballad into a singalong, and hugs were shared between Kincaid and the station’s other two full time DJs, Julie Michaels and Dave Westrich.
At 3 p.m. Wednesday, 105.3 WJLT, owned by Townsquare Media Evansville, will switch formats from the golden oldies to all-sports radio programming from ESPN.
To mark the end, Kincaid organized the station’s last broadcast in its oldies format to take place at the Merry-Go-Round in connection with a fundraiser for the cancer nonprofit Chemo Buddies.
The day was filled with laughs, goodbyes and, perhaps, a looser broadcast than a typical weekday. Longtime listeners shuffled in and out throughout the day paying their respects.
“We’re going to miss it,” said one fan to Kincaid. “You guys did good over the years,” said another.
Having the chance for one “last hurrah” is an opportunity afforded to few in the broadcast industry.
Kincaid, a radio veteran for more than 40 years, has served as WJLT’s program director since 2008.
In 1992, months before WKDQ changed from a classic hits station to country, they forced several DJs and employees out, including Kincaid, his wife and Westrich.
“They escorted us out of the place, basically. It was a very sudden thing,” he said.
In May, Kincaid found out about the format change not from a Townsquare Media representative, but from a local public official.
“But you know there was a real blessing in that. We’ve had more time to prepare for this. And doing today, it’s an opportunity for people to say goodbye,” Kincaid said.
Despite an overall jubilant atmosphere Tuesday, the futures of three DJs is unclear.
What’s next for 57-year-old Kincaid? He’s considering positions outside of radio, such as public relations and marketing, and he’s not leaving Evansville.
“(In 1987) I had that moment where I went, ‘This is going to be home. These are going to be good people, and I want to stay around here.’ And I’ve felt that way about the community ever since,” he said.
Westrich, who worked as a schoolteacher for nearly two decades between radio gigs, is unsure of what lies ahead, but hopefully will land in the classroom somewhere.
“I don’t have any idea. I’ve applied for jobs. I’ve applied for a couple of teaching positions that I wasn’t able to latch on to. I’m flying by the seat of my pants, and it’s getting thin,” Westrich said.
Michaels, who co-hosted the morning show with Kincaid, doesn’t have anything lined up, but wants to start an all female band.
“I just want to keep a part-time job that’s not radio-related right now just to pay the bills. I’d love to stay in radio, but it’s a tough profession to stay in these days. I’m not sure what’s next for me,” Michaels said.
Gavin Eddings, the station’s youngest DJ, will stay on as a producer of the ESPN programming and will work Sundays for 103.1 WGBF,
Like most of Evansville’s radio stations, this won’t be the first format change for 105.3, which has a signal strength of 50,000 watts.
Starting in 1964, the station broadcast country-western music. In 1973, it switched to 24-hour Christian programming. A decade later, it became a pop-country station. In 2003, it became what it is today, WJLT. The “LT” stands for “Lite.”
Story from Channel 14 http://www.14news.com/story/25976632/last-day-for-wjlt#.U716EfXaKCI.facebook
Story from Channel 25 http://www.tristatehomepage.com/story/d/story/the-end-of-an-era-wjlt-signs-off/11013/GscA5qQitEq27IX4IBZUkA#.U71iZGt12g0.facebook
From tristatehomepage.com http://www.tristatehomepage.com/story/d/story/wjlt-says-goodbye-to-listeners-at-merry-go-round/34604/mkNm1SXJRUOSe9JP344PJg#.U7zIF5Hs9hg.facebook