Gary Lee McKee, an Oklahoma native, discovered radio at the age of 16! Hearing a friend working on the local radio station, he decided to audition for a position. He failed! However, Gary persisted in “hanging around,” since the owner/manager of this station was a family friend and conceded his request to “do anything” to learn this fascinating craft. One year later, almost to the day, he was hired!
Gary worked his way through Eastern Illinois University College, graduating with a BS in Business Management in 1968. Living in central Illinois afforded him the opportunity to hear the great jocks on WLS and WCFL in Chicago and KXOK in St. Louis. Gary was inspired by his heroes on those legendary stations: Larry Lujack, Clarke Weber, Ron Britian and Ray Otis. Upon graduation, he was re-classified 1A in the draft and selected for service in the Army. After his term of duty, including a tour in Vietnam, Gary received a call from John Patton, a program director for whom he had worked in his first radio job. Patton asked if he wanted to join the staff at WKRC radio in Cincinnati, Ohio. Gary left immediately and started, as most rookie DJ’s do, on the all-night shift. In two weeks he was switched to the afternoon-drive shift. A friend told him about a morning opening at WQXI and he moved to Atlanta in September 1971.
In August of 1974, WQXI General Manager, Jerry Blum, realized that Atlanta metro had grown so big that WQXI’s signal couldn’t cover it all. What better way to improve on the limited signal coverage of WQXI AM than to simulcast the Gary McKee Morning Show on both the AM and FM. Yetta Levitt was hired to be morning news anchor. Willis the Guard was placed on the show full time and WQXI’s morning ratings exploded to number one and remained at the top for eighteen years.
Gary went on to work at WSB AM and FM as well as WZGC before retiring in 1999.
Gary lives in Marietta.
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McKee & Crew on 94Q in 1988.
Courtesy of Herb Emory
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