50 Stories for 50 Years: Cruisin' Main Street

Feb 12, 2020

Gil Hopson as depicted in the 1978 Murray State University Shield, yearbook.
Credit Murray State University

  In 1978 Gil Hopson was a senior at Murray State and working at WKMS. He hosted a Saturday evening program called “Cruisin' Main Street. It was mostly a music show.

But one evening he decided to literally cruise Main Street with some teenagers and college students with his handheld cassette recorder.

"As people were going by I would ask if I could interview them, said Hopson.  "Because, that seemed to be the thing that a lot of people did on Saturday nights in Murray Kentucky. They’d cruise around the square downtown and then go down to the Dairy Queen and turn around and back and forth."

"The first couple of times (interviews) I felt a little awkward, but afterwards when people heard it would be on the radio, they figured this is their chance at 15 minutes of fame."

On the radio it was… in the fall of 1978 listeners to NPR's All Things Considered heard what cruising Main Street in Murray Kentucky was like.

To this day Hopson has held on to every shred of paper he received from NPR for his report: The

This post card to Gil Hopson explains that his story had been accepted for airing on NPR's All Things Considered
Credit Provided by Gil Hopson

 postcard stating when it would air, a quality control report form stating some of the audio was hollow or muddy and even the pay stub, dated September 6, 1978 totalling a whopping $22.50. Hopson's story is even immortalized in the book “This is NPR, The FIrst 40 years. "

Share you memories of WKMS here as we strive to tell 50 stories of WKMS’ 50 years of history. You can also call us and leave us a birthday greeting at 270-809-2070.

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