WHER 1430 AM- The World’s First All-Girl
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)