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Did the radio show ‘Our Best To You’ ever play in Wilmington?

Ben Steelman
Jimmy Capps

Our Best To You was the brainchild of announcer Jimmy Capps.

It sure did, according to R.A. “Dick” Dunlea Jr., whose family owned Wilmington radio station WMFD until 1983.

According to Dunlea, WMFD picked the show up at 11 p.m. nightly on a feed from Raleigh radio station WPTF. In its heyday, “Our Best To You” was carried on 27 stations in the Southeast.

Airing on WPTF from 1947 to 1962, “Our Best To You” was the brainchild of announcer Jimmy Capps, who was inducted into the N.C. Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame in 2001.

The show featured mellow “music of a midnight mood.”¬†According to Dunlea, it had a particular following among ’50s college students who found it romantic. (References to “Our Best To You” pop up on alumni websites.) Capps would take requests and even punctuate the music with poetry readings.

Capps and his engineer, Larry Gardner, also produced records under the JCP label (for Jimmy Capps Productions). The Embers and several other vintage North Carolina bands released their first records through JCP.

Wilmington’s oldest commercial radio station, WMFD went on the air on April 21, 1935, a week after obtaining its FCC license. Originally powered at just 100 watts, it increased to 250 watts in 1942, then up to a whopping 1,000 watts in 1948 – the same year it moved from 1400 on the dial to its present position at 630 AM.

According to broadcast veteran Wayne Jackson, in a University of North Carolina Wilmington interview, the call letters stood for “We Make Friends Daily.”

Early broadcasts were spotty. At first, the station aired from 8 to 10 a.m. then turned off until noon, staying on until 1:30 to coincide with the Atlantic Coast Line railroad’s lunch break, according to early accounts. It then returned to the air from 6 to 10 p.m. Almost all programming originated locally at first. In 1942, however, WMFD joined the NBC “Blue” network, which eventually became ABC.

The station bought big ads in local papers in the 1940s to make sure listeners knew it carried “The Lone Ranger” radio show.

Today owned by Capitol Broadcasting of Raleigh (which also operates WILM-TV), WMFD is a sports/news outlet identified as the local radio home of ESPN.

WPTF, incidentally, still airs an “Our Best to You” tribute at 11 p.m. Sundays, including tapes of Jimmy Capps’ voice. Capps died of liver cancer in 1967, at the age of 47.

User-contributed question by:
SuAnn Beal Brown

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2 Responses to “ Did the radio show ‘Our Best To You’ ever play in Wilmington?”

  1. On July 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm William Raynor wrote:

    How can I get a copy of Jimmy Capps and Our Best to You theme? Listened to it every night in the 60’s. Great times!!!!

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