Dusty Rhodes Returns To Sunday Night Airwaves

Nov 10, 2016

Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes at Cincinnati Public Radio in June 2016.
Credit John Kiesewetter

For years Dusty Rhodes has told me about his passion project: A 90-hour year-by-year look at the history and evolution of rock 'n' roll.

And finally, he's found a station to play it – now that the election is over.

Rhodes, the DJ turned Hamilton County auditor, returns to radio 9 p.m.-midnight Sundays on WMKV-FM (89.3) and West Chester's WLHS-FM (89.9), and streaming on wmkvfm.org, with the first of his 30 weekly shows devoted to music from 1955 through 1969.  

He'll play the hits in chronological order, along with sound bytes from recording artists, popular DJs (Wolfman Jack, Dick Biondi, etc), news events and even some vintage commercials.

Dusty Rhodes on WSAI-AM in early 1960s
Credit Rhonda Toich collection

"I don't know of anyone who has done something like this, with the DJs, so that the show sounds like the way radio sounded," says Rhodes, one of the 1960's WSAI-AM "Good Guys" who brought the Beatles to Cincinnati Gardens in 1964. He later played Sunday night oldies on WKRC-AM, WLW-AM and WGRR-FM through the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Rhodes was part of my two-hour WVXU-FM show in August about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles Crosley Field concert.

Rhodes takes six hours to cover each year, broken over two weeks on the radio. The 90 hours tell the complete history of rock from Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" in 1955 to the break-up of the Beatles in 1969.

He starts Sunday with Middletown's McGuire Sisters, the original recording of "Unchained Melody" by Les Baxter, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" and some audio from NBC's new weekend "Monitor" program. Later in 1955 came TV's "Lawrence Welk Show," "Yellow Rose of Texas," "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing" and Tennessee Ernie Ford's "16 Tons" until Bill Haley rocked the world.

"I did a show like this one summer on WGRR-FM in 1995 or '96. I've been working on this ever since," he says. "I've got some great stuff, and nobody is playing it."