WHER: Memphis’ First All-Girl Radio Station

Memphis Type History: The Podcast shares the history of WHER: Memphis' First All-Girl Radio Station

In this episode of Memphis Type History: The Podcast, I tell Rebecca all about Memphis’ first all-girl radio station, WHER. Started by Sam Phillips in 1955, WHER featured women at all levels of making radio happen, from ad sales to management and, of course, the jockettes.

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There were a lot of radio stations in Memphis at this time, so Phillips put a twist on his and hired all women! We’re sure he was inspired tons by his wife, Becky Phillips, who had the best radio voice he’d ever heard. Kemmons Wilson also went in on the endeavor with money and rooms at the Holiday Inn to house the station.


The décor was ultra pastel and feminine… truly something to behold! And so were many of the on-air talent. We talk about Janie Joplin, Bettye Berger, Donna Bartlett, Marge Thrasher, Dean “The Hat” Duvall, and Dotty Abbot (aka Dolly Holiday).


In this episode, Rebecca and I puzzled over two things: Western Swing and the whole “mike vs mic” question. Well… thanks to a guy named Michael we got some answers.

Links Mentioned:

WHER Photo Gallery

WHER: 1,000 Beautiful Watts by the Kitchen Sisters

Audio clips, albums, and sound bites from WHER

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By Caitlin L. Horton

Partner-in-crime for entrepreneurs and community builders getting their message out with thoughtful design and marketing.

2 replies on “WHER: Memphis’ First All-Girl Radio Station”

Interesting episode! I’m a screenwriter in NYC, working on a show about Marion Keisker (Sam Phillips’ partner at Sun Records). Becky Phillips as well as Sam and Elvis will all be characters in the show, and I’m going to heavily feature the WHER years. Looking for any and all research materials about Marion, and that time in Memphis.

Keep up the great work!

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