Former WUKY/WBKY General Manager Don Wheeler Dies

Mar 24, 2017

Former WUKY General Manager Don Wheeler has passed away after a brief illness.  He was 87.  Wheeler was general manager of WUKY from 1964 to 1989 when it was known as WBKY.

Former WUKY general managers Len Press (L) and Don Wheeler (R) share station stories during the WUKY 75th anniversary party in October 2015. Don Wheeler passed away this week at the age of 87.
Credit WUKY

Retired WUKY general manager Roger Chesser says under Wheeler’s leadership Kentucky’s oldest public radio station experienced an unprecedented level of growth and change.

“When Don started as manager of WUKY it was only on the air for 12 hours a day.  It had a low power transmitter and the staff was only semi-professional.  Before he left, the station had become full-time, full-power, with a full professional staff," Chesser said.

WBKY was one of the first public radio stations involved in the formation of National Public Radio and aired the first episode of All Things Considered in 1971. 

"Dad did the first on-air fund raising for WUKY in the mid 1980's," Wendy Wheeler Mullins recalled.  "He hired the station's first development director, and started the on-air underwriting sponsorship for WUKY.  He saw the need for more funds and the likelihood that they would get less funding from the federal government to provide quality programs," Mullins said.

Don Wheeler was on hand to help the station celebrate its 75th anniversary in October 2015.