Jet FLI AM 1070 back on the air

Jet FLI AM 1070 back on the air

July 8th, 2017 by Barry Courter in Local Regional News

Tommy Jett promotes the Winter WFLI Spectacular in November, 1967 in Chattanooga, Tenn. (Photo courtesy David Carrol/Steve Hill)

Photo by Maura Friedman /Times Free Press.

Ben Cagle started at WFLI-AM 1070 as an engineer who also was on the air. He is shown at the microphone on March 31, the day the station went off the air.

Ben Cagle started at WFLI-AM 1070 as an...

Photo by Picasa

WFLI-AM 1070, the radio station that introduced new rock 'n' roll to the market in the 1960s and '70s, is back on the air with only the second owners in its 56-year history.

Evan Stone and Marshall Bandy bought the station from Ying Hua Benns, the widow of Billy Benns, who launched the station in Lookout Valley.

"We are only the second owners and it is the only station in Chattanooga with its original call letters," Stone said.

Benns had been trying to sell the station for some time and signed it off from the air in April. Bandy and Stone began the process of buying it and applying for a new license from the Federal Communications Commission around the same time.

It was off the air for about a week and played syndicated news while the application process was handled. It signed back on Monday, playing "six in a row from the '60s and seven in a row from the '70s." It's been playing oldies hits ever since in honor of the station's history, Stone said.

Shown in the WFLI file photo are Johnny Eagle, left Ray Anderson and Dale Anthony.

Shown in the WFLI file photo are ...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A news conference is set for 2 p.m. Monday to announce plans for the station, but Stone said it will include a music component.

"We realize the history of the station and what it means to people," he said. "People have been calling and emailing us and they are so tickled it is back on."

The station touted itself as the "fastest jet in the sky" in its heyday, and made local stars of on-air people such as Johnny Eagle, Mike Murray and Tommy Jett.

"I grew up listening to it and actually worked there in the '80s when it was country," Stone said. "Tommy Jett was in charge of hiring part-time people and he actually hired me."

Stone also owns WKWN-AM 1420, WKWN-FM 97.7 and WKWN-FM 106.1 in Trenton.

With its 50,000 watts, WFLI is the most powerful AM station in the area. Stone said he already has made some improvements to the equipment, adding some solid-state transmitters.

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.