1970 - 'da da dit dit' ...
or 'do wah diddy'?

1977 - WGBW - platform shoes & big hair

1992 - the Audio Doc is in

The Mark 'MD' Heleniak Collection

Being a lifelong fan of ham radio, tape recorders, disk jockeys and rock and roll music, it would follow that I’d end up in radio one way or the other. Except for a couple short stints behind the mic, 'the other' mostly applies … I’m an audio production guy and now a multimedia man too.

My official bio reads like this:

When Mark Heleniak was eight years old, he and his friends agreed to save up their allowance monies to buy Schwinn Stingray bicycles. When the purchase day came, Mark opted instead for a Panasonic portable 5" reel-to-reel tape recorder, and a career altering decision had been made.

Since then, Mark has leveraged his interest in audio with two recording studio businesses, a part-time career as a voice-over talent, and his newest venture, a multimedia communications firm.

Although Mark's diploma credits him with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication, his educational experience was long-lasting and far-reaching ... he also studied Electronics Engineering, Music, Marketing and Public Relations, and honed these skills in unison with (and payed the bills by) fixing guitar amps and riding the Midwest band circuit as bass guitarist and vocalist.

I'll add that I now have a new hobby ... listening to airchecks over at Uncle Ricky's place.

Thanks to Uncle Ricky and everyone who has contributed material to this fabulous site, and happy listening.

Thanks to Mark Heleniak, who contributed his Collection in 1997.

[Descriptions by Mark Heleniak]


WOKY - Milwaukee - "Snippets" - 1968-69 (13:12)

. . . Mighty 92 . . .

  Bob Barry - 1969 (1:35)
Afternoons, then mornings on WOKY. Arguably, the name most associated with WOKY’s heyday. Known as "Mr. Show Biz", Bob was the "5th Beatle" when the Fab 4 came to Milwaukee in '64. He was the DJ who "called the world" and made headlines with long distance bills and cranky celebs who didn't enjoy 6am 'wake up calls'. In 1972 he left for challenger WEMP-AM, signaling WOKY’s slow decline. Still in broadcasting, Bob's doing commercials/infomercials in Milwaukee.

  Bob "Robert L." Collins - 1969 (2:00)
Bob Collins took over Wally Phillips' morning drive slot on Chicago's top rated full-service WGN. He died in a tragic air crash on February 8, 2000. (Robert L. can also be heard on WRIT Milwaukee, 1971 in Bootleg Top 40 Volume 1).

  Carl Como - 1969 (4:45)
"… come the hits"

For years Carl Como held down the evening slot. To me, he was the epitome of the ‘fun-loving, go-guy’ sound.

  Jack McCoy - 1969 (4:48)
Jack came to WOKY via WDUZ Green Bay. Being a Green Bay kid, I mourned the day he left town. To me, he could generate excitement like no other. He went on to greater radio fame as the co-creator/voice of KCBQ’s "The Last Contest".

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WOKY - Milwaukee - "Snippets" - '70-'73 (6:30)

. . . You know what? My radio broke down yesterday . . .


Ron Richards opens, then into WOKY-Talkie (aired nightly at 11pm with newsman Bob Sherwood).

Listen to Jack McCoy developing his soon-to-be-famous Last Contest vocal style (about 4 years before KCBQ).

Also a cool-for-1970 montage of WOKY promo bits. On to >Chip Taylor -1971-late nights followed by (from 12/73):

  Johnny Dark and a WOKY DOUBLE CASH CALL to Ms. Hanzel (02:31)

She thinks she needs a new condenser for her radio. Johnny Dark's not sure, Robert L. (Bob) Collins thinks it’s her vibrator.

"WOKY Snippets" - An Explanation

Somebody's Uncle wanted 4 - 7" reels of tape transferred to cassette. Not my favorite favor. However, when I learned it was 4 reels of classic WOKY, I jumped - only to find mostly music. Ugh. I guess the then-teenager wasn’t interested in what the DJ’s had to say. Years later however, we are. And thanks to The Repository, classic WOKY jingles I luckily found in my tape closet, and computerized audio editing, I’ve been able to construct these "WOKY Snippets". Snippets are not airchecks and do not give justice to the talented jocks and great-sounding station. Snippets do give an idea of why this station was top dog for so many years. We're continuing to scour the closets of Milwaukee for the REEL WOKY thing. Until then, Snippets will have to do.

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Aircheck Round Up - Early '70’s (8:12)

. . . LOTS o' boogie . . .

These are "Bootleg" Mini-checks & ID's from the early '70’s. I edited these from an old aircheck cassette (original source unknown.) Take a deep breath, and listen to the whole thing!
A quick scope around the Midwest & beyond reveals .... radio used to be B IG & LOUD!

  • PLAY WCFL - Chicago w/ Bob Dearborn includes that great 'CFL "double drum" ID!
  • WCFL - Chicago - Larry Lujack
  • WNUW - Milwaukee - X-Rock 99 promo w/ Johnny Dark
  • X-Rock 80 - Mexico w/ Bruce Miller Earl
  • WLS - Chicago - jingles (more)
  • K-Earth 101 - Los Angeles
  • KTNQ - Los Angeles w/Dave Conley
  • WLS - Chicago - Kris Stevens
  • WCFL- Chicago - Johnny Driscoll
  • WHBQ - Memphis - Truckin' Tom Cookin' Kent
  • WZUU - Milwaukee - John Sebastian
  • WYNE - Appleton, WI - Jack McCary
  • KDWB - Minneapolis - Rob Sherwood
  • WMET - Chicago - Captain Whammo (Jim Channel) (more)
  • WOKY - Milwaukee - Michael Lee Scott
  • KSLQ - St. Louis - Jim Morgan
  • WEMP - Milwaukee - 1950’s-vintage studio gear falling apart on the air
  • WQXI - Atlanta - Dickie Shannon
  • PLAY WQXI - Atlanta - Coyote McCloud - a GREAT screamin’ intro !
  • WOKY - Milwaukee - jingle
  • WLS - Chicago - Bill Bailey
  • WCFL - Chicago - Chuck Knapp
  • WCFL - Chicago - Kris Stevens
  • WLS - Chicago -The Rock of Chicago
  • WYNE - Appleton - Steve Connelly
  • WRKR - Racine, WI
  • WRIT - Milwaukee - Vic Brandon (aka Paul Kirby)

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"Lujack Hijack" - WLS - 1985 (28:16)

. . . It's a Lujacking! . . .

"Was it real or was it staged?" That was the headline the next day in the Chicago press... You be the judge.

Larry Lujack (mornings) finds himself doing an unexpected second shift as Steve Dahl and Gary Meier (afternoon drive) wimp & limp out of the studio.

Seems ol' Uncle Lar had had justa 'bout enuff of Steve's on-air bad mouthing and went into the studio - while Steve & Gary were on the air - to ask him "why". The astonished Les Grobstien (sports) went on record the next day saying this was "the reel thing".

[MD Heleniak notes:] For the record, I edited this piece to play like a movie flashback. It starts with Lujack explaining how & why he was doing Steve & Gary's shift. He then replays the start of the 'hijack' and after that we're back in real time.

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The Mark 'MD' Heleniak Collection first appeared on September 14, 1997

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