WVOK: The 50's
The fifties firmly cemented Joe Rumore into the Birmingham and Montgomery radio scene. The fifties saw the fan support swell to unprecedented proportions that is to this day rarely seen. Joe loved to travel to his listeners, always acknowledging them on the air.
Sponsors and potential sponsors saw this and the potential sales to be had. Joe was still doing 17 shows a week while answering an average of 250 fan letters a DAY that came to the station. In one Neilson rating taken during the fifties, out of 500,000 Alabamians in rural areas interviewed, 361,000 listen to WVOK and Joe Rumore more than any other station. One Christmas, Joe received 42,000 cards from his listeners. Joe also sent out Christmas cards to his listeners, each one personally signed. Every year Joe would have a Christmas Show live from his home, where family and local sponsors would drop by. To date, 15 of those shows have survived the test of time, are are posted in our Christmas Shows section.
On April 24, 1954 Joe opened Rumore’s Record Rack offering “Birmingham’s ONLY Exclusive Record Shop.” Another Birmingham innovation for Joe.
Joe’s popularity was astounding and growing with each passing day. When a child lost his feet in a traffic accident and the parents had no money for treatment, Joe went to his listeners and raised $2,000 in jig time.
Joe also went to his listeners to raise money for a cancer drive. In just a few weeks, the drive raised $11,000 in phone-in donations. Joe didn’t accept cigarette or alcohol accounts. Joe said, “I have nothing against them, but an awful lot of children listen to me.”