Clark Taylor  Biography
WLBE       WZST     Army Information Radio       American Forces Network       Soldiers Radio and Television

I got into broadcasting via a very different way than most.  My mother had died at my birth and my father's mother came to Miami and brought me home to Leesburg to raise. When my Grandfather died, I had to support the family (me and grandma).  So I stopped going to high school and took a job cookin' chicken at the KFC in Leesburg.  Well my girlfriend, Patti Lynn Jackson, felt badly about my leaving high school and told her step-dad who was H. James Sharpe, the WLBE(-AM 790) GM.  Jim Sharpe came by the KFC and told me if I would go back to high school he would give me a job making whatever I was making at KFC.  I gladly took him up on his offer and returned to school the following Monday, which was a life saver to a young kid.  My first jobs at WLBE were to mow the grass, take out the trash and wash Jim's car.  It was fun. Then they decided that I should write copy and so I began writing spots under the guidance of Mr. Grant. He had to have been a very patient man.   Then Jim decided they needed a evening show for the younger audiences and he ask me to do it.  So born was the "Clark Taylor Show" from 8 to 10 PM Monday  - Friday.  It was either late 1965 or early 1966.  I thought I was great....but the truth is I needed a lot of work.  The Chief Engineer, Richard Hogsboro really worked with me and I did improve. I had a wonderful time.  I ended up getting married to another Leesburg girl, (not Patti) then I was drafted and off to Vietnam as in Infantryman (Sep 69 - Oct 70).  There I received the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze Star, and Purple Heart.  Upon my return from the Army, I went back to WLBE, but things had changed and so I moved over to WZST(-AM 1410) for a couple of years and then left radio.  Oddly enough, the Army recruiter became a friend, (since I was a vet) and I always wanted to go to Europe.  Naturally he could help me there.  So I enlisted in the Army as a broadcast journalist in 1974.    But then we all know the Army.  I went to their broadcast journalism school in Ft. Ben-Harrision, Ind.  and while there they asked the class if anyone had any experience in country radio.  Since I had worked at WZST, which was country, I raised my hand.  Maybe one of the best things I ever did. Instead of going to Germany, I was sent to Washington, DC and the Office of the Chief of Army Public Affairs.  I worked for the Army Information Radio Service (AIRS).  They did radio shows for the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) and on-post radio stations in the US.  They needed a country DJ to do a weekly magazine interview show  and a daily one hour county program.  My first guest on my show, Hallmarks of Country Music, was Tammy Wynette. After almost four years of interviewing the "who's who" in country music,  I finely got to Europe.  Not Germany, but Belgium.  Which turned out to be a great assignment especially since I had taken French in high school.  At AFN-SHAPE,  I did the morning show for two years and since I was an experienced interviewer, I was tasked to interview most celebrities coming through Paris, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam.  So I met Jerry Lewis the actor in Paris, Abba and Barry Manilow in Holland and Merle Haggard and many others in Rotterdam.  In 1980 I was selected by the Commander of the American Forces Network Europe to go to Wurzburg, Germany and build a radio station from the ground up.  What fun we had.  Our audience was about 60,000 soldiers and their families and several thousand American civilian employees from Neurenburg to Frankfurt, AFN-Wurzburg was on the air.  At the same time, I was asked to do a nightly one-hour block of country music and the show was "Country Roads".  Johnny Cash's little brother Tommy had done the same time block earlier, and it was called "Stick Buddy Jamboree".  I had a ball.  Plus I coached my son and the little kids (6 -12) in flag football and we were undefeated. Crazy.  I left Europe, got out of the Army and took a job as the radio news director at the same place I had left to go the Belgium, AIRS radio, in Washington, D.C.  Within the year, (1983) I began to do television news releases and send them to the overseas stations to use in their local television newscast.  I reported from the White House, Congress, the Pentagon and many Army agencies in Virginia, DC and Maryland.  In 1993 I became the Director of and organization I had formed, Soldiers Radio and Television.  We had a radio satellite network, radio and television newscast, and even the only government radio station on the internet,   I was in Washington for almost 25 years, I retired in 2006, a few months after my second wife, Brenda, died from breast  cancer.  In May of 2010, I was asked back to Washington DC and was inducted into the United States Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame.  Of all the members, which there are only about 20, I am one of 3 broadcasters.  This is truly a great honor for me personally.  And its all because of a young lady who cared about my well-being and her step-dad at the time, and a couple of dedicated people at WLBE ...and my life was changed.  It's my WLBE Cinderella story. I now live in Nashville.  I have an old Army buddy here and I know a couple of journalist and retirement is treating me well. 

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