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Show History

Radio Stations WWVO and WWPU

A favorite Joy Boys skit was the radio station spoof of "WWPU, Sorgums West Virginia." It was based on the all-night Wheeling Jamboree, broadcast live every week from the real radio station WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia. Powerful AM radio stations like WWVA can be heard across much of the country at night, and in the pre-television days, this was a great source of late-night entertainment.

the Wheeling Market Auditorium The Wheeling Jamboree went on the air in January 1933. It became so popular that the Jamboree was moved to a large theater where the public could join in the fun, much like the Grand Old Opry in Nashville. The Wheeling Market, pictured left as it appeared in 1942, was one of several theaters used for the broadcasts.

Seagrams VO label When Ed and Willard first developed the skit, they called their country music station "WWVO, Seagrams West Virginia." This was an obvious reference to Seagrams VO whiskey, and the audience enjoyed the joke, but management didn't. References to alcohol weren't allowed on the air, and the FCC was also very unforgiving about anything that seemed to be a commercial, but wasn't logged as such. So the name was changed to WWPU, Sorghums West Virginia.

Listen to more about the whole WWVO-WWPU story. This clip is from our first Remember The Joy Boys CD.

Lee Moore album cover One of the entertainers on the real WWVA radio station was "Lee Moore, the coffee-drinking night hawk." Lee hosted the show, played the guitar and sang. Lee and his wife Juanita even released several records, including this one from the Canadian label ARC Sound.

The back cover of the album describes Lee as the durable Deejay who broadcasts each week to what may well be the largest audience anywhere. Lee's Jamboree record show is sent out into the night air from the 50,000 watt transmitter of WWVA, one of the country's most famous radio stations... singing and playing in his distinctive 'down home' style so loved by his fans.
Lee is best known for a tune called "The Cat Came Back." Listen to a bit of the song by clicking here. It's an old folk song, probably from the 1890s, but Lee Moore managed to work his name into the very first verse.

In honor of Lee Moore, the Joy Boys created "the coffee-drinking night owl Hoot Moore, and his brother No Moore." Listen to Ed and Willard talking about the Jamboree, Lee Moore, and other similar programs.

And here are a couple of vintage Joy Boys WWPU bits from our audio collection:

WWPU (Fat Lip Boxing Course) MP3, 430 KCD #JB301
WWPU (Federal'ade) MP3, 332 KCD #JB303

Now called Jamboree USA, the show continues to be broadcast on WWVA every Saturday night. It claims to be the second oldest country music program (next to the Grand Ole Opry).

WWVA cowbell WWVA song book Willard mentioned that they sold everything they could on the Jamboree, often at giveaway prices. So here are two of WWVA's moneymaking ideas: a 75-cent song book containing music and lyrics for many of the songs heard on the show, and a cowbell with the WWVA Jamboree logo on a sticker.

Don't delay, call in and get yours today!

Paul Shanklin CD And finally, a contemporary note: WWPU is alive and well in the new millenium. Political humorist Paul Shanklin enjoyed the WWPU bits so much, he included one on his CD The Usual Suspects.

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