If you grew up in Birmingham in the 60s, most likely you listened to one of the best radio stations in the south, WSGN, the big 610. They called their DJs, the Good Guys. One of the most popular Good Guys was Dave Roddy, sometimes called, “Rockin’ Roddy.”
Dave grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. He began radio in Knoxville and came to Birmingham in 1960, first on WYDE, which was a rock station at that time. After one year, Dave moved to WSGN and became one of the Swinging Southern Gentlemen DJs. In 1963, WSGN hired Jim Taber as the Program Director and he immediately went to work revamping the station. WSGN moved their studios from the 7th Avenue South location to the penthouse above the City Federal Building. Taber made other changes such as using PAMS jingles, adding a distinct echo (reverb) to the signal (which gave it a more polished sound) and using the cute smiley face logo on surveys, tee-shirts, etc. He also renamed the DJs, the Good Guys. Principle among them was Dave Roddy. Others of note included Glen Powers, Walt Williams and Steve Norris. Dave was named Music Director and is responsible for being the first to play a lot of records which became hits. National radio stations monitored WSGN’s playlists. These changes and the Good Guys helped to make WSGN one of the best radio stations in the country. In fact, WSGN was so popular, that WYDE changed their format to country in 1965, leaving WSGN the sole 24 hour rock and roll station in Birmingham for many years. Their next strongest competitor, WVOK, signed off at sunset.
Dave was extremely popular with the teenage rock and roll crowd and also hosted rock and roll shows at the Airport and Oporto armories. He was instrumental in bringing national and local artists to Birmingham. WSGN would also set up live at the Alabama State Fair each year and, since Dave was the evening DJ, he would broadcast his show from the fair.
In 1968, Dave was the first DJ to play “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro and, to capitalize on “Honey’s” success, Dave went into the studio and recorded a similar record, “The Last Goodbye.” It was released on Warner Brothers and got heavy airplay in Birmingham where it topped the charts in April and May 1968. That record is still a highly sought after collectible (“The Last Goodbye” is available for playing from this blog, see left column).
Dave left WSGN and Birmingham in 1972. He now lives in Columbia, South Carolina and owns a successful advertising business.
For a special feature on Dave Roddy and a scoped air check of one of Dave’s shows visit Birmingham Rewound.
Dave will be appearing in addition to Revolver on Saturday, May 1 at the CD & Record Show beginning around 10:30 am. Who knows, you may even find some copies of Dave’s record at one of our dealer tables.