WXKE kept me sane while I lived in Fort Wayne, the first couple years after I got out of college. I remember Buzz from the old days. I wonder what ever happened to him. I remember your station was one of the first to play almost every track of the Scarecrow album, whenever the jock or fans felt like it. The first concert tickets I ever won were for a concert by the Moody Blues in Fort Wayne (the Fixx was the opening act.)
There are two songs forever branded into my memory. The first song was a standard after work 5PM killer song by the Kings "This beat goes on/Switch into Glide". It was an unforgettable afternoon. I planned to drive down to Indianapolis that evening to sit for the last part of the CPA exam. I got a call from work that my friend who is a couple years younger than me attempted suicide. So I changed plans a bit to stop by the hospital on the way to Indianapolis. I was driving southish down Crescent street to the intersection with Anthony and the Kings were blaring on my cheap Mercury Lynx stock speakers. At this point a gentleman up in his years decided he needed to turn right on north Anthony directly from the left-turn only lane of Crescent. I wasn't speeding but I had no chance to stop. The really ironic thing (even though I could no longer 'glide') was that the other driver said the cops shouldn't be too far away since he just left the scene of another accident for which he was at fault. As a footnote, I guess I had too much on my mind the next day, I did not pass that attempt.
The second song is a little bit forgotten these days, but I will never forget it. I was laid off my first job out of college, and while I was driving home, WXKE played Crowded House performing "Don't Dream It's Over".
What I remember so much about WXKE was that the station never forgot its rock roots, but ALSO played the very best rock music by new artists and songs by classic rock artists as well. WXKE ROCKS - that sums it up best.
new internet listener of WXKE
My story is not that glamorous, nor do I think it is that interesting, but I think I’ll share it with you anyway.
My Rock 104 experience is one that is subconscious. Let me start off by saying that I am 29 years old, soon to be 30. You’ll understand my saying that in a little bit. Anyways, when I was young, my dad worked 50-60 hours a week while my mom stayed at home with me. While I was at home with her, she would do her daily chores, which consisted of laundry, cleaning, keeping up after me… the usual. While doing all of these chores, she would listen to music. Most of the time it was “softer” music. For example, Anne Murray, Chicago, Three Dog Night, Barry Mailow, Kenny Rogers, just to name a few. So just being around her, the music see was already planted.
When my dad would come home from work, he would go into a spare bedroom and lift weights. This is where I got a taste of the heavier side of music. Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Blackfoot. As I grew older, and started school, my mom didn’t see the need to stay at home as much and started to work part time. She would have to work Saturday mornings, and when she left Dad would drag out his HUGE box of records and start to play them back to back.
I can remember begging him to play Queens’ Jazz album over and over. For whatever reason I loved the first cut off the album, “Mustapha.” (Or was it all the naked women on the inside cover?) So with these record listening sessions, the rock seed began to grow. Then around the Christmas of ’87 or ’88 all hell broke loose. My dad, knowing how much I like rock and roll, bought me Aerosmith’s new album (tape) “pump.” After hearing the first song on the album, “Young Lust,” I didn’t care about anything else. That’s honest to god how I felt. You could have burnt our house down that Christmas day, and I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. As long as I had my Aerosmith tape and the radio to play it. That one tape opened up the musical tastes I have to this day.
Long story short, Rock 104 is to thank in a roundabout way for my love of rock music. Rock 104 is the station that got my dad into these bands, which in turn got me into the bands I like. Without Rock 104, I’d probably be sagging my pants and listening to 50 Cent. Thank god for Rock 104!!!!
My Rock 104 story isn’t particularly exciting, but it is one that rings true with me. After 3 years of law school, where I listened to very little radio and had only my albums to satisfy my music needs, I returned to Fort Wayne in 1976. Getting myself established back in my home town, I sought out a good rock station to listen to and found nothing in town that even approached what I was looking for in a radio station. Then, when Rock 104 began its broadcast life, I thought to myself, hmmm, this might be what I’ve been looking for on the ol’ radio dial.
I came to realize that the station had its offices above Northcrest Bowl, which was owned by my family and managed at the time by my brother, Bill, who is a musician and who played in different jazz bands in town before moving to Indianapolis and starting his own audio production company. Bill and Doc frequently talked music when Doc would venture downstairs to visit the bowling center grill. Bill and I spent many, many hours listening to music and talking about our favorite bands and musicians, and we agreed that Rock 104 was about the best thing to hit Fort Wayne since The Who played The Swinging Gate.
Over the years, rock radio stations have come to and gone from Fort Wayne, including, sadly, for a brief time Rock 104. However, the powers that be at Rock 104 saw the light and decided to return to the station’s roots and resume fulfilling the mission of being The Real Rocker. I can say that I feel very fortunate to have had my career in town span virtually the same period of time as Rock 104 has served this community. Old rockers never die; they just turn up the volume.
Doc, I can’t thank you enough for making the station what it is and for keeping it true to what makes it great. Beyond your involvement in the development of WXKE, what you’ve done for the local music scene has helped make it a Midwest center for excellent artistry and live shows. I know my son felt honored to have had his band introduced by you at Piere’s and other venues. I’ve heard many people refer to you as a local legend, and you probably get tired of hearing that, but you are, in fact, just that. Keep on rockin’.
Just to complete your file, my age is “very soon to be 60”. My favorite band is The Allman Brothers Band. There are quite a few in second place, but that band, in all its iterations, in my opinion, has brought more musicianship and great music than any other around, and they’ve been doing that for 40 years (maybe stronger now than ever).
Okay, Doc, there you have it. It took me until the end of the day to get this off to you, but it’s been fun reminiscing.
All the best,
PETER G. MALLERS