WHER Radio Station

WHER 1430 AM- The World’s First All-Girl Radio Station
1,000 Beautiful Watts
Memphis, Tennessee 1955-1966

WHER, the first all girl radio station first broadcast on October, 29, 1955. Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Recording Studios had recently sold Elvis Presley’s contract to RCA. With this capital and the help of some close friends, including Kemmons Wilson the owner of the fledgling Holiday Inn chain, Phillips fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning a radio station. WHER was unique in that women almost exclusively ran it. Sam Phillips wife, Becky served as a disc jockey and announcer. Despite the critics the station ran for eleven years, finally closing in 1966.

As an all girl radio station WHER generated interest from the other Memphis radio stations and imitator stations popped up across the country. An early press release described the station: “The studio and offices have been feminized from front door to rear exit. The disc jockeys are called jockettes, the studio is known as the doll’s den, the control rooms are called playrooms, the hallway is mirrored, the equipment room has been decorated with murals depicting the evolution of feminine clothing, the stationary is perfumed, the advertisers are listed in a date book, and the exit to the parking lot is labeled “Bye, Bye ‘Till Next Time”.

Women read the news, played records and interviewed. They wrote commercials, sold, produced and directed programming. Dorothy Abbott who served as Assistant Manager and Program Director became well known as Dotty Holiday in part due to her recordings on Sam Phillips/Kemmons Wilson’s’ Holiday Inn Records label.

Location: A few rooms in the third Holiday Inn in existence.
Ownership: Sam Phillips, President & Founder, WHER 1955
Kemmons Wilson, V.P. WHER (Founder of the Holiday Inn)