Pages from the past: A look back with Charlotte Buchanan: Update on WNLA FM

By CHARLOTTE BUCHANAN COLUMNIST,

100 YEARS AGO,

AUGUST 1919

There has been no preaching in our city for several weeks.  All people will be pleased to know that Pastor H. L. Martin will conduct services at the First Baptist Church Sunday. Everybody is invited.

THANK YOU FROM B. B. ALLEN: Thanks voters for nominating me for the responsible office of Sunflower County Prosecuting Attorney. Thank all of you who voted for me and got out and worked for me with no expectation of promise or reward.

J.A. RICHARDSON, EDITOR HAS BEEN ON AN EXTENDED VACATION WITH OTHER NEWSPAPER EDITORS AND MADE THIS REPORT: One of the greatest trips ever made by the Newspaper Editorial Association is coming to an end.  We have been living off the lavish hospitality of Canada and Western America but now will have to return to everyday life.

50 YEARS AGO,

AUGUST 1969

AD FROM WNLA FM: We are happy to announce that WNLA FM will begin broadcasting services on September 1st. This fall you will hear the Delta’s most comprehensive coverage of high school, junior college, and university sports on WNLA FM.

Sabin Men’s Store has been designated as a Gentlemen’s Quarterly Campus and Career Fashion Center.

THE ENTERPRISE TOCSIN ANNOUNCES ITS FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: We have selected Richard Jenkins of the Indianola High School as our Player of the Week. He is a 155-pound sophomore playing offensive tailback. In last week’s game, Richard gained 61 yards in 14 carries and scored the winning touchdown over Leflore County.

SUNFLOWER NEWS BY MARY ALICE WOFFORD: Mr. and Mrs. Bill Curry are out of town. I can’t say where they are because it seems to be a secret mission. Not to worry, in his absence Marion Johnson is taking his place at the bank.

Honorable John Stennis recently presented the Indianola High School with a flag that had recently flown over the U. S. Capitol. Student Council members who were present during the raising of the flag were Jake Bellipanni, Lisa Ross, Larry Rochelle and Buster Jennings.

25 YEARS AGO,

AUGUST 1994

Mississippi Delta Community College reached a milestone for the fall semester when the 2000th full-time student registered for classes. Karen Steelman of Indianola was the history making student when she registered in the Practical Nursing Program. President Bobby Garvin said that MDCC has grown from about 400 students registering in 1964 to 2,000 in 1994,

OOPS! Jail Consultant Bill Ready told the Board of Supervisors that a booking room at the new jail was omitted from the original plans and that one would have to be created from one of the storage rooms.

15 YEARS AGO,

AUGUST 2004

FRONT PAGE ARTICLE BY DAVID RUSHING: TENNIS SHOES ARE A DEAD GIVEAWAY FOR BURLARY SUSPECTS; Always remember, the next time you tell a deputy sheriff that you have been playing basketball, make sure you don’t have crossvines stuck in your shoes. Sheriff James Haywood said his department was responding to a house burglary near Ruleville. The homeowner returned and found them, but the burglars ran away before he could call the Sheriff. They left on foot running through pastures and farm lands. A little later, a sheriff’s deputy stopped a speeding car with a woman driver and two male passengers who wore the suspicious tennis shoes. They told the sheriff they had been playing basketball, but the sheriff said he didn’t know of a basketball court with crossvines.

UPDATE ON

WNLA FM

Fifty years ago, WNLA announced that it would begin broadcasting on its FM station on September 1st. Today, WNLA FM no longer exists, it is now WDTL FM in Greenville. WNLA has a long history in the progress of Indianola.

It was in 1953 that John McLendon of Indianola (whose family owned Indianola Furniture Company) and W. L. Kent announced that WNLA would begin broadcasting with 1380 kilowatts of power.

The station was located in a small frame building on Baker Street where one of the parking lots for the South Sunflower County Hospital is now located. There was no computer programmed music or news then, it was all live.

The late Helen Neill Henry had a morning program where she played an organ live and had local talented people performing live on-the-air. The DJs would take on-the-air requests for certain songs and dedications. Later, Mrs. Irene Richardson had a local community news program.

The station changed hands several times before Fritts Broadcasting of Paducah, Kentucky bought the station in 1963. When Eddie Fritts came to town, changes and improvements began to take place.

He instigated live broadcasts of local sporting events and a Sunday morning live gospel program.

There are several who worked at WNLA through the years that are still in the area. Scottie Scroggins was the bookkeeper, secretary, and just generally kept everyone going in the right direction.

She was known all over the Delta as “Wendy, the weather girl”.  Bobby Williamson came as a youngster as a popular DJ. He is now an ordained Baptist minister and is still in radio part-time doing a program for Super Talk 96. Clint Webster and Kevin Cox live in Cleveland and they are still involved in radio. This writer had a local news program called “Newsbeat” for over 25 years that came on right after the famous Paul Harvey. When Eddie Fritts was named Chairman of the National Broadcasting Company and moved to Washington, Gerry Brophy became the owner. He continued and improved local programming for the station. In recent years WNLA was sold to a corporation that owns several radio stations in the Delta.

Many things have changed about WNLA, but one thing is still the same. Regina Hawkins came bouncing in to work at WNLA 36 years ago. She brought to the station youth and  vitality and was a hit with the listening audience. She’s still there today as the manager of WNLA AM.

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