Johnny Gee (Jim Ivey)   Biography

In a wonderful email, Mr. Jim Ivey tells us about some of his radio career. "It still amazes me after all these years how much WLOF(-AM 950) meant to people that are now into their 50’s. I still am humbled when someone finds out that I was one of "the happy hit-paraders".  Man we had a great time in the mid 60’s at WLOF.  Some random thoughts; Bob Andrews and I were room mates in Ft. Myers around ’61.  We both worked at WMYR.  While there, I found out Bob and I both dated the same "groupie", just at different times!  I was at WMYR until sometime in ’63, I think.  Prior to that I had been at WHOO(-FM 96.5), starting out on the FM side while a senior at Edgewater High School (Orlando),  then moved to week-ends on the AM side and later replaced Terry Wood from 6 to midnight while still in high school.  I Pulled a  #1 Hooper (Ratings Service) on the gig before school was over. Very heady stuff for a 19 year old…and wow, groupies!  John Rutledge fired me (from WHOO) for not following format, (at the direction of the assistant manager)...So I was off to Ft. Myers for 3 years where the little station paid more than stations in Orlando!. Then back to Orlando for 4 great years a WLOF.  I was so fortunate to have been at the right place at the right time. WLOF had an owner...John Rutledge, who for the most part said do what you want on the air, stay number one…and don’t get us sued!  Jim is credited with making WLOF the top 40 powerhouse it would become under the management of John Rutledge.  Jim would duplicate the sound and format and even air personalities names of KJR-AM in Seattle.  KJR was located on 950 in Seattle, just as WLOF was in Orlando.  For example Pat O'Day became Pat O'Day because there was a Pat O'Day jingle and Bill Vermillion became the "Weird Beard" for the same reason. 

Johnny Gee on WLOF  1964
courtesy of Dick Camnitz

Johnny Gee on WLOF  1966
courtesy of Dick Camnitz

Johnny Gee (Jim Ivey), Rock Robinson and Bill Vermillion
photo courtesy of Dick Camnitz

click photo to view video
A Conversation With Dick Camnitz (Dick Shane) and Jim Ivey (Johnny Gee) of WLOF, Channel 95
Recorded on November 27, 2015, at The Alfond Inn, Winter Park, FL
produced by Jason Ivey

Jim Ivey aka Johnny Gee Passes       4-4-20
James Ivey, former 1960s Orlando radio personality known as 'Johnny Gee' and later innovative business owner, died Thursday, April 2nd from complications from Parkinson's disease at age 78 in Orlando, with his daughter by his side.  Jimmy Ivey was born in Burlington, North Carolina, on December 29, 1941. His father, a mechanic in the U.S. Air Force, moved the family to military bases in Germany, France, and New Mexico in the years following WWII before settling in Orlando in 1959. While still a senior at Edgewater High School, Jim applied for an engineering job at  a local radio station and landed a position as a disc jockey instead. His radio career began in Orlando at WHOO(-AM 990) in 1960, and in 1961 he moved to WMYR in Ft. Myers where he hosted The Jim Ivey Show. In 1964, he returned to Orlando and became known as Johnny Gee on Orlando's premiere top 40 station, WLOF(-AM 950), during AM music radio's heyday, as a member of the "Happy Hitparaders", working the afternoon shift with the catchy jingle "You and Me and Johnny Gee." He remained at WLOF until deciding to leave broadcasting to start his own business in 1967.  Jim remembered his time in radio fondly, but decided he never wanted to work for anyone else again, and thus began a series of businesses he owned and operated, mostly oriented around his expertise in broadcasting equipment and his early interest in electronic engineering. He created a video and audio tape duplication company called Videx in the late 60s, and in the 1970s owned and operated Ivey Communications, which specialized in standards conversion and duplicated various movies and TV shows for foreign markets in their native broadcast standards. In 1979, following a family helicopter ride, Jim decided he wanted to learn to fly helicopters himself, and even before completing his pilot's training formed Ivey Aviation, based  out of what was then Herndon Airport (now Orlando Executive Airport). His small fleet of helicopters was leased by the local news affiliates in an era before stations owned their choppers, as one of his helicopters would do triple duty flying for Channels 2, 6, and 9. He personally flew national network anchors when they covered the early Space Shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral, and also flew for local and national media during coverage of the Winter Park sinkhole in 1981. While helicopters remained a hobby into the 1990s, the second half of the 80s saw him return to video and broadcasting, both through the sale of programming to foreign  markets and later forming a company that refurbished and resold broadcast-grade equipment worldwide. In 1990, he parlayed his technical knowledge into a medical company on the cutting edge of the shift from analog to digital archiving of heart catheterization procedures. In recent years, he returned to video equipment, leading a semi-retired life while battling the health effects of Parkinson's. Jim had an affinity for water sports and lived out most of his years in Orlando from his lakefront house on Lake Conway. He was an avid water skier, and weekends were usually spent entertaining friends with boats, jet-skis, inner-tubes, and even parasails, as well as launching helicopter rides from the backyard of the house. The early interest in engineering never left him, and he was capable of fixing almost any mechanical or electrical problem. He was an autodidact, which kept him on the cutting edge of technology and was one of the first to own a cell phone, home video recorders, and other gadgets. He is survived by his three children, Jason, Courtney, and Jonathan; and two grandchildren, Hayden and India. He will be missed by all who knew his charisma, his gift of gab, his confidence and humor. A service to commemorate his colorful and multifaceted life will be held at a later date to be determined in the Orlando area. If you'd like to be on the future invite list, please write to
Published in the Orlando Sentinel from Apr. 4 to Apr. 5, 2020


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