John Rutledge   Biography
WHOO   WLOF   WLOQ     WTRS    WMFQ

Thanks to Steve Rutledge for supplying information on his dad . Steve told us; "...He came to Orlando in 1958 as the GM of WHOO(AM 990).  They were on Rosalind across from George Stuart Office Supply.  There was a big vertical sign that had WHOO and an owl that rotated, "Radio Whoo."  The transmitter was on Silver Star Road just west of Pine Hills Road.  There was a self-supporting tower that looked like a TV tower and three self-supporting towers as I recall.  They had AM 10,000 watts, non-directional days and maybe 5,000 watts direction nights??  Huge Collins transmitter.  Also an FM station, WHOO-FM (96.5).  One of the earliest stereo stations in the US.  WKIS(-AM 740) and WDBO(-AM 580) were simulcasting.  The owner of the station was Blue Grass Broadcasting out of Lexington, KY.  They also had a station in Marathon, FL, WFFG..." "...My dad was locked in a "fight to the death" with WLOF(AM 950) as they both rocked. Howard Kester was the manager of WLOF and a formidable opponent.  Dirty tricks were the rule...My father, who wanted to become an owner, got a guy named Bill Clarke in Owensboro, KY to front the cash to buy WLOF.  My father was 49% owner as he obviously didn't have the cash, Clark did; Dad had the brains.  Clark had NEVER been in the radio business but thought it was a good investment based on what he had heard and my father's reputation in KY. In the meantime, my dad bought a day-timer in Sarasota, FL, WYND. Everyone thought that he was moving to Sarasota.  WHOO and Bluegrass NEVER figured out he had purchased WLOF.  So, the day he left WHOO he walked across the street to WLOF (with the entire sales staff) and the rest is history. He put WLOQ(-FM 103.1) on the air in the Langford Hotel.  I got out of school to go over and watch the Poli Brothers put up the monopole for the antenna. It was a cool operation.  He formatted these beautiful music stations himself, no announcers, production (was done) at WLOF, almost a forerunner of the automation of today. In the meantime, he also bought stations in Miami, Tampa and Louisville, KY.  These were all high-powered FM stations except for Miami.  In 1973 he saw the writing on the wall, at that time, regarding AM stations and retired himself early by selling WLOF.  He kept the other stations for awhile and then those were also sold. He spent some time in retirement and later went back to work in the Ocala area as a manager of several stations for one family and then working for another family, the Inghams,  Asterisk Communications out of Ft. Lauderdale. Steve Rutledge updates us on his dad. "...My father, John Rutledge, is still living having celebrated his 80th birthday on 2/5/04. "... and puts in at LEAST 40 hours a week." 

John Rutledge passed away 1/29/05 in Ocala, FL at the age of 80.  He was the General Manager of WTRS-FM 102.3 and WMFQ-FM 92.9 in Ocala.  See our John Rutledge Tribute.


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