The last of the original WHOP staffers is dead, with Leo Wilson passing away Sunday in Bowling Green, where his daughter Molly lived and he and his wife Mary had lived in recent months.
Leo came to work at WHOP in late 1939 and liked to tell the story about how bitterly cold it was when the station took to the airwaves January, 8th 1940.
He had only recently returned from the west coast where he had earned a first class radio operator's license, and expected to have to move away from his family in his native Trigg County until the Lackey brothers obtained a license to put WHOP on the air.
He was immediately hired, but it wasn't long before he joined the millions of other Americans who joined together to fight the Japanese and German aggression in World War Two.
Leo’s technical expertise was put to use by the U.S. Navy and he was recalled to service during the Korean War, but in between and after Korea he was a mainstay at WHOP through the 40', 50's, 60's, and into the 70's, though he also operated a radio and TV repair service and put the radio service on the air for the Land Between the Lakes recreation area.
While Leo’s technical skills were much in demand, he was also a skilled announcer, and worked the ''Early Bird Show'' with the late Colonel Dink Embry and also hosted a popular birthday program, which attracted volumes of mail each week.
He is also well-remembered by older residents of the Pennyrile for his play-by-play of high school sports and his work with the Hoptown Hoppers of the Kitty League.
Leo passed along much of that information during our extended broadcast in 2010 when WHOP AM celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Leo Wilson died at the age of 92 Sunday in Bowling Green, though his broadcast legacy is carried on by his little brother Willie, who also had a notable career as an announcer and play-by-play man in the Pennyrile and west Tennessee.