WAMB Radio 1200 AM


I drive a 2002 Subaru Outback, with a busted CD player and no iPod-playing capabilities, but you know – I don’t mind, because my AM dial works just fine.

There are many things I love about Nashville, but near the top of the list is WAMB 1200 AM. In the world of broadcast it goes by “Adult Standards”. To me, it goes by “Old-Timey Goodness”. From The Andrews Sisters to Herb Alpert, it’s a format that makes all my low-fi, easy listening dreams come true. I felt I was due for a tour after several years of loyal listenership, so I recently tracked down the WAMB powers-that-be (via the station’s befitting website), and they very generously invited me in.

Housed on the bottom floor of the Roundtree Apartments on the outskirts of Nashville, WAMB has been in the same space, with the same analog equipment and the same wall decor (mostly) as when the ribbon was cut in 1975. A few computers and CD players have been added to the arsenal, but for the most part, the place is a time capsule… an incredible time capsule. Fifteen hundred square feet of wood paneling, reel-to-reel tape machines, a wall of still-in-use vinyl records, paperwork done on TYPEWRITERS… my visit was as close to a time warp as maybe I have ever come.

Dave Eastman (seen above and below), the “afternoon drive announcer” weekdays from 3pm to 6pm, was on the mic during my visit… such a nice guy. He graciously let me invade his personal space while in the middle of a busy workday. Dave is a self-proclaimed metalhead, raised on hair bands as high schooler in 1980-something Los Angeles, yet has a deep appreciation for the golden oldies of easy listening. So much so that he has won himself a few octogenarian sweethearts. I could tell by the high volume of call-in requests from ladies at the beauty parlor getting their hair set.

For those of you in the Nashville area, the station plays totally awesome music on weekdays from 12pm until 6pm. After 6, the frequency switches to an all-mariachi format. On weekends, the programming looks something like this (cut and pasted directly from the station’s website):

Let’s Talk Computers Saturday 8am
The Safe Money Show with Steve Lux Saturdays at 9am
Great American Song Book Dick Robinson 12pm to 2 pm
Big Band Jump with Don Kennedy 2 to 4 pm
Howard Wilks Gospel Show 6 am to 8:30
Christian Science Sentiel 9 to 930 am
Grace Baptist Church 10:15 to 11:30 am
Try the light with Ken Binkley 1130 to Noon
Your hit parade 12 to 1 pm
WAMB Bandstand with Bill Barry 1 to 2 pm
Big Band Jump 2 to 4 pm
First Presbyterian Church 4 to 5pm
Music 5pm
John Michael Grogan Success for Today 11:58 to noon Monday through Friday
The Senior Spotlight: A 2 minute report of news specifically geared to the seniors of middle Tennesee, hosted by paul day, editor of fifty forward newspaper 11:50 am

Please listen! Help make it popular. I want WAMB to live forever!

Special thanks to Mr. Bill Baird and Mr. Bill Barry  for letting me to roam the station freely without any questions asked.


(Mr. Bill Barry, the station’s manager)

18 thoughts on “WAMB Radio 1200 AM

  1. Mr. Jerkins,
    I am also a big fan of WAMB and am distressed as of this writing (12-08-13) that the station may be breathing its last with Mr. Barrie’s passing. Dave is gone already and i am told no one really knows what is coming next. Christmas music is being aired 12-6 daily with no live DJs. I know the daughter is running the place now, but wonder if you can tell me more and if you know what has become of Dave Eastman and Ron Johnson?
    Thanks–Ralph Bland

  2. What can I say? I have listened to WAMB every day since the station first came to be. I used to visit them frequently – in the 70’s I used to take my English recordings there and Bob Sticht used to play them. Bob was my favourite DJ at that time. I took a Maxie Bygrave record down there one day when Snooky Lanson was visiting the studio – after Bob played the lively record Snooky said “That’s walkin’ the dawg music!!” That tickled me pink, and I shall never forget it. Now I miss Dave Eastman so much. I listened to him every day, and we spoke frequently on the phone. Mr. Bill Barry was a wonderful human being and he ran the best radio station EVER – with the best music EVER! God bless him – he will be sorely missed. If only he knew of how many people he made happy while listening to his music. All good things have to come to an end…. I am very sad at his passing. Eve White

  3. P.S. I just noticed that in the last picture, Mr. Barry was using my favourite typewriter – IBM Selectric. Those were the days.

    Eve White

  4. i hate to here that my favorite station in nashville is changing it’s format i loved listening to WAMB it would be nice if they could keep the big band & other music they played i’m heart broken THANK YOU RICKY GENE MORTON

  5. Put me down as another person that misses WAMB…I always had a radio button set to it…Both the music and the DJ’s were great and I miss listening to the drive home time slot.

  6. Friday afternoons are just not the same without listening to Dave Eastman to get the weekend started, especially now that summer is here and the Big Band Dances are getting ready to kick-off in Centennial Park. Use to love to listen as Dave would have the band leader of the group playing on Saturday night on during the drive home plugging the dance. I’ll still go to the dances on Saturday night, but the week-end just aren’t the same without Dave Eastman and WAMB kicking them off on Friday afternoons.

  7. Thanks for this great post about my all time favorite radio station, WAMB. Your photographs are amazing. I have missed it terribly and was very upset when I heard the news last year about the change in format. It is hard to believe that it’s been gone for more than a year. I have tried listening to WCOR 1490, but can’t get good reception. I listened daily since I moved to Nashville in 2002. I miss Dave Eastman, Harry, The Bill Miller Show, Beautiful Music in the Night, and the wonderful local commercials. I have created some artist’s books that are tributes to, and inspired by WAMB. They are on display in the gallery at The Downtown Public Library in Nashville through March of 2015 as a part of an exhibition called “Paper, Thread, and Trash”.

  8. I moved to Nashville in 1986 and was so thrilled to find a radio station that played the music I love. Now, I listen to Big Band music on Pandora and satellite TV, but there is a personal touch that I miss so much. I am very nostalgic and WAMB gave me such a good feeling. I truly miss the music and radio personalities. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you so much for so many good years of beautiful music for “Easy Listening.”
    Oh by the way, one year I answered a trivia question and won a live Christmas tree 🙂 Great Memories!

    LaFonda Davis

  9. Thanks for the pics of the “mighty 1190 WAMB”! They bring back memories. With the exception of the computer monitors and cd players, it appears that nothing changed in the 40 years since I did morning drive there in ’73. At that time, WAMB was a 1000watt daytimer on 1190 playing popular easy listening music from the Briarwood Apts. basement. It was brand new and state of the art. Other jocks on staff were John Jewell and Steve Kasper. That was my first radio gig and appreciated the opportunity, thanks to Bart Walker. Best wishes to the folks in Nashville!

      • Hello Stephen, Sorry to say, no photos. If I did, they would look very much like your pics minus the newer equipment. Perhaps the dj would have been dressed in a paisley shirt, bell bottoms and Frye boots, who knows. Your pics show a time capsule, that’s for sure. For a smaller market station, it was really nice. I’ve been in some class A clear channels that were dumps. Sorry to hear that WAMB is now history. Thanks again for the cool pics, a real blast from the past!

  10. WAMB is in Brazil,Indiana now.It is timeless classics.Hail to the man who ran A good station for the music of your life!!
    I live in Brownsburg,Indiana,And miss WTUX 1310 AM,Indianapolis for the music of your life and times they are a changing for our genre of great songs what has become of this?are the conneseur people generation dying off and leaving us nothing that has any brains in music?
    You be the judge of how this world is coming up today!!!

  11. A lot of folks don’t really know how much of a pioneer Mr Barry was in Nashville radio. A lot of his stations are still on the air and are making money. He was a big fan of C-QUAM apparently as every station he touched was broadcasting in stereo.

    The WAMB calls were on several frequencies, including 1160, 1170, 1190 and 1200 (1160, 1170 and 1190 were the same station, just moved around; the 1200 frequency was the new station originally to be built in Lebanon). 1200 used one tower of a four tower directional array for 1560 when it was still in Nashville.

    I wish I could have met Mr Barry. It wasn’t until I moved to Tennessee (and his death shortly after I moved) that I knew of all the thing he had done for radio in the Nashville area.

  12. I worked there for one year in 1973 or maybe it was 74.
    It served the purpose of getting me into Nashville radio before Jack Crawford gave me the KDA-FM break that led to a pretty dang good career in broadcasting.
    Of course Bill Barry owned in & I think the GM was Scott Walker.
    2 other jocks there were Mike Robbins & Joe Martin.
    This is a memory that take me back to just after high school.

  13. I’ll never forget Bill Barry’s response when I ask him back in the 60s why not play rock ? He said “Don’t want a radio station I can’t listen to.”
    I always loved talking to him.

  14. Hey stephen;
    nice pictorial on the station, even has a picture of may dad in it, who just passed a few months ago. My dad, Bill Baird, typically didn’t mention his name often on the air, but I’ve seen him be recognized by his voice when we were out and about, by multiple people.(at fall creek falls by a stranger, by ronald mcdonald in nashville at the opening of mcdonalds there when it first opened, and also by bozo the clown(he was the same person as ronald mcdonald though~)
    i have good memories of being down in the studio w/ beth and all the others as a kid. good times long gone.
    thanks for the nice pictorial of the studio.
    Bill Barry was indeed a mover in the nashville radioscape back then, and my dad always related stories of them and the wanderings and tales they had as they made their way through the radio maze of the day.

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