Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Jim Webb, August 12, 2017

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Working at WMMT--Early days

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Partial Transcript: --yeah you will. I've never digressed in my life.

Segment Synopsis: Webb talks about the role of community radio. He discusses growing up in Ohio and moving to Hazard, Kentucky as a child. He talks about graduating from Berea College in 1967, getting hired at WBTH radio station in Williamson, West Virginia, his first time on the radio being Santa Claus and reading letters from children on the air. He talks about being fired.

Keywords: Appalachian Regional Hospitals; Berea College; Community radio; Country music; Hazard (Ky.); Liz Olds; Robb Webb; Santa Claus; WBTH (Radio station); WKIC (Radio station); Wiley’s Last Resort; Williamson (W. Va.)

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.

00:12:11 - Getting involved with Appalshop and WMMT

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Partial Transcript: --so of course I got involved.

Segment Synopsis: Webb talks about getting involved in Appalshop and WMMT. He talks about volunteering, becoming a mentor to kids at WMMT, wanting to be a DJ, and the shift from being a volunteer to becoming station manager.

Keywords: Appalshop; Car washes; DJs; Deejays; Disc jockeys; Liz Olds; Marty Newell; Ray Moore; Records; Vinyl; Volunteers; WMMT (Radio station)

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; WMMT-FM (Radio station : Whitesburg, Ky.)

00:20:00 - Navigating politics on community radio

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Partial Transcript: I want to talk about politics.

Segment Synopsis: Webb talks about how politics factored into radio programming; reading submissions from the Speak Your Piece column in the Mountain Eagle newspaper; and commentaries from both sides of the political spectrum.

Keywords: Bird’s Eye View From Georgia (segment on show); Donald Trump; In Memory of the Land and People; Mountain Eagle; Music; Politics; Rock music; Speak Your Piece

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.

00:28:09 - Duck Soup radio show

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Partial Transcript: The balance is what we needed. The variety is what we needed.

Segment Synopsis: Webb talks about the Duck Soup radio show; innovative approaches to programming; Possum Tape Club in the 1980s; and the huge duck population in Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Keywords: Bruce Williams (sign painter); Buck Maggard; Duck Soup; Ducks; Nicknames; Perry County (Ky.); Possum International Tape Club (change from Possum Tape Club); Possum Tape Club; Puns; Radio programming; The Ducktor; Whitesburg (Ky.); Whole Grain Elevator

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; WMMT-FM (Radio station : Whitesburg, Ky.)

00:44:22 - Whole Grain Elevator radio show

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Partial Transcript: Well, in the, in the ten minutes, uh, before this goes on--I want to make sure that I turn it off rather than allow it to lose its juice.

Segment Synopsis: Webb talks about starting the Whole Grain Elevator radio show; new age music; getting made fun of; June Appal records; and how the Whole Grain Elevator radio show helped developed his appreciation for different kinds of music.

Keywords: Banish Misfortune (Album); Elevator music; Grey Larsen; Hammer dulcimers; Hippies; June Appal Records; Malcolm Dalglish; New Age; Radio; Whole Grain Elevator; Windham Hill Records

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; WMMT-FM (Radio station : Whitesburg, Ky.)

00:59:24 - King Daddy incident and coal

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Partial Transcript: You know, and, uh, I mean, I mean we've had, we've had deejays quit because of other deejays' political views...

Segment Synopsis: Webb talks about the Obama administration and the war on coal; an incident with another DJ called King Daddy; the relationship between WMMT and coal miners; and discusses 'real people radio' versus 'automated commercial radio'.

Keywords: Barack Obama; Black lung; Chuck Johnson (DJ); Coal mining; Coalfields; Don Blankenship; Job training; Karen Atlas; Martin County (Ky.); Politics; Rich Kirby; Rock 'n' roll; Ska Punk and Other Junk (Radio show); Strip mining; Transistor radios; WMMT (Radio station); War on Coal; Wolf Creek Mine

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Coal mines and mining; WMMT-FM (Radio station : Whitesburg, Ky.)

01:24:10 - WWMT slogans

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Partial Transcript: I have, uh, another question that's, that's something you talked about today.

Segment Synopsis: Webb recalls the history of WMMT's slogans; Voices of Appalachia; and Voice of the Hillbilly Nation. He discusses the development of his activism through listening to music.

Keywords: Activism; Appalachia; Hillbilly Nation; Hillbilly Nation Celebration; Kingston Trio (Artist); Music; Save Our Mountains; Slogans; Strip mining; Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA); Willie Nelson (Artist)

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc; WMMT-FM (Radio station : Whitesburg, Ky.)

01:37:14 - Wiley's Last Resort

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Partial Transcript: The, um, the next thing I want to ask about is, is something you've alluded to a few times...

Segment Synopsis: Webb discusses bidding on Wiley's Last Resort. He talks about taking the path toward less money. He discusses Appalshop board meetings, community involvement, and reflects on his legacy at WMMT.

Keywords: Appalshop board meetings; Arson; Community public radio; Fires; Letcher County (Ky.); Pine Mountain; WIFX (Radio station); WXKQ (Radio station); Whitesburg (Ky.); Wiley's Last Resort

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Pine Mountain (Ky.); WMMT-FM (Radio station : Whitesburg, Ky.)