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102.3 WLRS

WLRS Trivia: Louisville's first successful, stand-alone FM station was WLRS, which signed on in 1964. The calls stood for Louisville Radio School, and was intended as a training tool for students of the school.

In the late-60s, Clarence Henson agreed to sell WLRS to WAKY. However, the deal fell apart when the six-month deadline to complete the transaction wasn't met.

In 1970 WLRS was one of only nine stand-alone FM stations in Kentucky.

WLRS topped Louisville's Arbitron ratings in 1978.

In 1981 WLRS became the sister station of WAVG (formerly WAVE).

WLRS Pepsi Pumper

Ron Clay and Terry Meiners exit the 800 Building with doorman Sam Grandison (1982)
WLRS Stationery #1 WLRS Stationery #2
WXVW-WLRS Stationery
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WLRS counting down to new format
Courier-Journal Article - December 27, 1990

WLRS (102-FM) went down for the count yesterday.

No, the station hasn't been kayoed. It's trying to attract attention to the change in music format -- still a secret -- that it will make sometime on New Year's Day by turning its entire programming over to a computerized voice.

In the publicity stunt, the mechanized referee began counting down from 70,000 to zero yesterday at 2 a.m. There's no music, no commercials -- nothing but the automated voice.

Peter Smith, WLRS program director, says he's not sure when zero will be reached, since the robot randomly chooses varying sentence lengths for the count. It is expected to run out of numbers between 7 a.m. and noon Tuesday, and then the station will switch over to the new sound.

Smith won't say what the new format will be. He does admit that the listening will be somewhat monotonous for the next few days, but he also hopes it will be intriguing.

WLRS has been playing current album-oriented rock. "That's a good format, which had a strong following, and it's a shame sponsors wouldn't buy it," Smith said.

The old format primarily appealed to 16- to 25-year-olds, Smith said, but the new format is intended to broaden the station's age into the 25 to 54 range. The possibilities span the radio format spectrum, from country to easy-listening.

No local personalities will be heard for the first couple of weeks after the change. Smith says management wants to emphasize the music first. He said that no one is being fired and that the station hopes to "give everyone a shot" at keeping his or her job, but he wouldn't say who might be assigned to what shift.

WLRS is owned by Radio One of Louisville.

WLRS radio ends up between a rock and soft place
Courier-Journal Tom Dorsey Column Excerpt - January 3, 1991

WLRS, the hard rock station many people grew up with, went soft New Year's Day and unofficially renamed itself Mix-102 (FM).

The station now bills itself as "a mix of the best hits of the 1960s, '70s, '80s and today." That sounds a lot like what WVEZ, KISS and, to some extent, WDJX are playing. People may have to look at their FM dials to know what station they're tuned to because of the copycat programming.

The switch occurred Tuesday at 9:27 a.m., bringing listeners blessed relief from five days of computer-speak countdown. That was more redundant than when radio stations spun "Purple People Eater" around the clock in the 1960s.

Mix-102 is playing almost continuous music to get people used to the new sounds. Live personalities apparently will be added in a few weeks, but whether familiar LRS names will be back is up in the air.

WLRS Surveys
Top 84 of 1984 Top 85 of 1985
WLRS Photos
When former WLRS announcer Dan Steffen was studying for his FCC First Class License,
he made this bookmark from a WLRS rate card to mark his place in the study guide.
Tim Goodwin behind the WLRS RCA console in 1968
Dan Steffen cues up a record in the WLRS Control Room circa 1968.
Dan says, "It was shot within the first week or so of our move from the South 3rd Street location into our studio in the 800 Building. The studio was still a work in progress, as indicated by the clock, which was brought from the 3rd Street location, but not yet mounted on the wall.
Dan Steffen in the WLRS studio in 1968 with a Turner 510 mic in hand.
He's standing below a WLRS poster and in front of a NAB plaque.
Don Hoke at the WLRS controls
Don Hoke
Christine Orr, a Scottish friend of Don Hoke, poses for a photo in the "air chair" (1968)
WLRS' Lee Masters (with Jason in the background) in the 800 Building studios.
[From "Louisville Today" Magazine]

Terry Meiners on the air in the early 1980s
Larry Smith
WLRS Control Room
WLRS 1980 calendar
The "800 Building" -- which was home to the WLRS studios
for many years -- complete with the WLRS antenna on top
WLRS Airchecks
Jim Ameche-Voiced Syndicated Beautiful Music (1967)
11:24 - 10,689 KB
Dan Steffen WLRS (1968) #1
8:31 - 5990 KB
Dan Steffen WLRS (1968) #2
21:36 - 15,191 KB
Dan Steffen WLRS 1968 Program Excerpts
3:51 - 2709 KB
Dan Steffen WLRS (1969)
4:17 - 3021 KB
Bobby Kennedy Assassination MBS Newscast
24:52 - 8746 KB

The edition of Mutual's "The World Today" aired on WLRS on June 5, 1968, the day of the assassination or Robert F. Kennedy, and constituted exclusively of assassination coverage. It's introduced by Dan Steffen, who made the original recording. All commercials played in the newscast are included.

WLRS Legal ID (Unknown Date)
:06 - 40 KB
Future Bob (August 1980)
11:48 - 4150 KB
Ron Clay & Terry Meiners (September 10, 1982)
12:07 - 4263 KB
WLRS Sweeper Break (1984)
:41 - 481 KB
BC (Late 1984)
5:47 - 2039 KB
Lisa Lyons (February 20, 1985)
14:37 - 10,280 KB
Dave Lee (March 16, 1986)
12:44 - 8959 KB
Dave Lee (December 1986)
15:43 - 11,063 KB
Brad Hardin (August 4, 1988)
8:29 - 2984 KB
WLRS 1989 Aircheck
1:30 - 1065 KB
WMIX Station Launch (January 1, 1991)
10:14 - 7205 KB
Another January 1, 1991 Aircheck
3:55 - 2705 KB

It sounds like WLRS had a call letter change when they flipped from rock to an adult contemporary format on New Year's Day 1991, but the call letters were still officially WLRS when legal IDs were given. The real WMIX got a little upset when they found out another station was using their call letters. Mark Stahr, who was at WLRS at the time says, "We later received a call from some official that said if we don't stop using WMIX that we would get a C&D [Cease & Desist order]. The call letters were from somewhere in Michigan I believe. I don't think we ever received a C&D but I know I had to spend the entire weekend editing and changing all the station imaging. The dropping of WMIX happened around May or June of 1991. I was the acting PD that weekend while Peter Smith was out of town. The legal call letters were always WLRS."  

Mark Stahr on Mix 102 (1991)
7:00 - 4925 KB
Peter Smith on Mix 102 (March 11, 1991)
2:03 - 1450 KB
Mix 102.3 (March 28, 1992)
3:03 - 2148 KB
WLRS "Walrus" Stunting (May 1997)
8:44 - 6141 KB
More "Walrus" Stunting and LRS 102 Returns (May 23 and 27, 1997)
19:56 - 14,026 KB
Love 102.3 (July 31, 1999)
7:49 - 5498 KB
LRS Alive at 105 (February 25, 2000)
10:22 - 7294 KB

Technically, the station (105.1 FM, licensed to Shepherdsville) was still WXLN when
this was recorded, but the call letters would be officially switched to WLRS a few days later.

All audio is in downloadable MP3 format.


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