According to the liner notes for "The Early Days of Bluegrass, Volume 1," Frances and John played on WHLN for over 17 years, and their show was sponsored by Fuller’s Furniture. One of the first Fuller's newspaper ads to appear in the Enterprise was in 1939 under the name of "Fuller's Bargain Store" in Evarts, Kentucky. That was also the year that John wrote" Somebody Touched Me."
|Harlan Daily Enterprise, Friday, October 20,1939 (KHS Microfilm Box 98-0103)|
|"Of Harlan's First Radio Recalled," Unknown Newspaper Article *|
This article notes that WHLN first began in 1941, which is unfortunately one of the years that is completely missing from the KHS microfilm collection. However, I found an ad from January 1942 inviting local acts to audition and play at the New Harlan Theatre, which Frances mentioned in her oral history interview.
|Harlan Daily Enterprise, January 5, 1942 (KHS Microfilm Box 98-0106)|
So for now, we must sit snowed in, in suspenseful anticipation of what the Harlan Daily Enterprise holds when we return. But there is still another important element of the WHLN story to share. While the "Early Days of Bluegrass" liner notes erroneously refer to Frances and John as a "sister/ brother group," the overall historical and biographical information they provide is quite detailed and useful. For example," they were hooked up with the Good Coal Network and played live 4 stations at a time, going from one to the other: Norton, Big Stone Gap, Harlan, etc."
Among Frances' copious collection of family and musical memorabilia, we have a copy of a well-worn recommendation letter for John Reedy from the President of the Good Coal Network of WHLN , WCPM, and WNVA.
|John Reedy Recommendation Letter *|
This letter was written in 1953 and shows obvious wear from repeated re-use. Since John and Frances first migrated north to Dayton in the early 1950's, this letter was likely part of their passport into radio and recording studios in Ohio as well as Nashville.
A final piece of obscure radio history is this news clipping of a radio schedule for WCPM in Cumberland. Penpal and grassroots music collector and researcher Matt Baker shared this with us last year, but he doesn't know the exact source. (Stone Mountain Hillbillies at 4:00 p.m. every Monday through Friday!)
|WCPM Radio Program Schedule, Unknown Newspaper *|
* All documents noted with an asterisk are from Frances Reedy's personal memorabilia collection (except for Matt Baker's WCPM schedule) and are housed in the Berea College Special Collections and Archives.