CommunityPositively LEX 18


Father daughter duo tied together through love of radio

Posted at 11:42 AM, Jun 27, 2024

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The jams and jockeys from WRFL have filled Lexington airwaves since 1988.

For most of that time, John Clark lent his voice to the University of Kentucky radio station.

“I started working at UK TV in 1988. Eventually I became a professor here at the university," John Clark said.

"One of my students was here, this was the four year of the station in 1992.They were looking for somebody to host a radio call in talk show. Basically he asked me because he thought I was capable of 'BSing' for two hours.”

John went on to host his own show for 17 years, so safety to say he could fill air.

His jokes aside, this journalism professor was more qualified than he let on.

A passion for radio runs pretty deep in the Clark family tree.

“I've always had an interest in radio. My father was a DJ, that’s how he met my mother. She heard his voice on the radio," John Clark said.

That love branched off to John's daughter Mary, who couldn't avoid listening to WRFL even is she wanted to.

“Always grew up listening to WRFL in the car naturally because my dad was listening for FCC violations or other things to be concerned about," Mary Clark said.

Mary has fond memories of being at the station with her dad on Friday nights while he hosted his show.

Being surrounded by that environment, t didn't take long for the radio bug to bite.

“Just loved seeing really everything that was up on the walls and being immersed in the music and watching it all happen behind the scenes," Mary Clark said.

"When I was 12, at one point he handed me the binder of public service announcements and said it was time to start talking on air.”

That started the journey for Mary to find her voice.

It led her to UK as a student spending even more time at WRFL and ultimately taking a DJ spot with another station in Lexington after graduation.

Mary ultimately ended up back at UK to earn her Master's degree when an opportunity opened up to work at WRFL.

That chance eventually turned into becoming the next faculty advisor and chief operator with the station.

A responsibility inherited from her father John as he stepped into retirement.

“As far as I’m concerned, there couldn’t be anyone more qualified to take over the position," John Clark said.

“Obviously WRFL has been a passion for me for many years so it’s pretty gratifying to see her pick up the torch and carry on.”

Mary is proud to be taking the torch from her dad to continue molding the next generation of radio enthusiasts, making sure the appreciation for this industry doesn't ever fully die.

“I wanted to continue to make sure this space was available for students to explore their interests and their identities," Mary Clark said.

"I was lucky enough to have a parent who fostered that, not everybody has that. It really helped me figure out how to be myself."