Marcia "Marty" Martin

Radio Broadcasting

The 1980s

A Youngster Spinnin' the Oldies

In 1981, at the age of 20, she moved on to a higher profile commercial station, working an Oldies format at WKQE-AM.  Within a year of being at this AM/FM combo, she was promoted to Program Director.

Marty with Wolfman Jack (circa 1982)

Marty & The Wolfman

While at "KQE," she had the honor of hosting an event with Wolfman Jack.  The photo below was taken at Governor’s Square Mall in Tallahassee during an autograph session for the legendary Wolfman, the most famous radio DJ in American history.

Movin' On Up

In 1982, Marty moved over to KQE’s sister station, WBGM-FM, FM 99, which used the Contemporary Hit Radio format.  She was hired as the Music Director and the on-air night personality.  She quickly advanced to Assistant Program Director and became the Midday personality.

It's All Happening At The Zoo

When Marty was 22 years old, she moved back to Alabama from Seminole Country, where she went to work for the first incarnation of the now-famous WZEW-FM, then called 92-Zoo.  Marty enjoyed an impressive view of the city from the top of what was then the Merchants Bank building, a West Mobile "skyscraper" at I-65 and Airport Boulevard.  Marty went by the name of “Kara” as her on-air moniker.

Back then, the Zoo was not the laid-back gumbo of musical flavors that keeps Mobile funky today.  Those pre-Catt (Sirten) days were the height of the hard-rock, heavy metal and Hair Band era, where Ratt, Poison, White Snake and Judas Priest fans could lap up all the head-banger fare their ears could stand.  It was the early 80’s and the beginnings of MTV. 

Marty, a.k.a. Kara, was the sultry voice of the night shift.  She also did her share of standard commercial production there, as well as spinning vinyl in the days when mastering the art of the segue was an esoteric skill and true talent.

She also did some weekend moonlighting for a short period at Q-Country where she met Bill Black, who was Program Director before becoming the WKSJ fixture he has been for decades.

The Call from KRG

When rumors circulated that The Zoo was considering a format change, Marty was offered the opportunity to work for the WKRG conglomerate, working on-air for both AM and FM stations.  She shared news duties on Radio 710-AM with the likes of Mike Malone and John Nodar (in his pre-TV5 days), while also pulling shifts on G100 with legends Jim Mahaney, Dick Hylton, Charlie Ocean, Scott O’Brien and Amy Bishop.

Back to the Zoo

In late 1984, Marty returned to WZEW as an on-air personality and Production Director, now going by 92-ZEW with a new format of AOR (album-oriented rock), under Catt Sirten as Program Director.  Marty was on-air in various shifts, mostly nights and as an occasional fill-in for Linda Woodworth on middays.  She also sat in on the original "Sunday Jazz Brunch" with Catt Sirten, as did her co-worker "Uncle Tim" (Hallmark).  Eventually, the show was rebranded as "Catt’s Sunday Jazz Brunch."

The Magic Touch

In 1985, Marty moved to Birmingham, Alabama for a year.  She worked weekends for a brief stint for WMJJ/Magic 96, while working weekdays in the banking industry, and freelance writing for local publications.

Marty with the WRKG "On the Road Show" van, in a light snow, rare for the Gulf Coast (circa 1987).

WKRG Redux

She returned to Mobile in late 1986 to do evenings on WKRG-FM, which had switched its name to 99.9FM.  It was here that she first came to be known to radio audiences as "Marty Martin," so dubbed by then-PD, Uncle Dickie (Hylton).  

In 1987, at the age of 26, she was promoted to Music Director and Midday On-Air Personality.

Marty could often be seen around town, driving the station vans to remotes and other events.

Marty with "Uncle Dickie" (circa 1987)

A birthday in the broadcast world

Marty with the giant boombox of The Surf.

Surfin' on the Emerald Coast

Just before Christmas in 1989, one day during her lunch request program on 99.9 FM, a man called the on-air studio line.  He was passing through Mobile on his way to Fort Walton Beach and had heard her on the air.  

The man was J.J. Duling, and he was going to start up a new “Hot CHR” (Contemporary Hit Radio) format for a brand new station that had not even launched yet.  Duling said he liked her voice, and once he learned of her experience, he offered her a job at the new station in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

She accepted, and got to witness the building of the radio signal tower for WWSF-FM/98 Surf.

Duling brought Marty on-board the Morning Show team with Tim Kincaid.  The debut ratings went through the roof and 98-Surf was a success in its first year.  She also served as News Director and Promotions Director for the Surf.

DJs waving from The Surf billboard

Morning Show partner Tim Kincaid

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