Behind the large fishbowl window of a broadcast booth inside an A-frame building off Highway 78, a disc jockey flips on his microphone. As a song begins, he playfully teases, “Here’s one from Conway Twitty. This is The Johny Mack Show on the big WWWB-AM 1360. Don’t touch that dial, I’ll bite your hand!”
Johny McPoland arrived on earth in 1918 with the cards stacked against him. “He had asthma and wasn’t supposed to live past twelve,” says his daughter Cindy Rowland.
In his younger days, McPoland was broadcasting from a closet in his 19th Street home. “He got into radio because he loved people,” Cindy says.
By the mid-1960s, “Johny Mack” was becoming a popular Jasper radio personality. Each afternoon the self-proclaimed “Mouth Of The South,” broadcasted from a booth inside Sherer’s Drive-In. When listeners waved at him from a passing car, McPoland would chirp, “Toodle-oo to the blue Chevy!”
McPoland’s folksy humor was often directed at his own bulbous nose. “He’d say, ‘When the Lord said, noses,I thought He said roses,and I said, ‘Give me a great big red one!’” Cindy laughs.
Even off the air, Cindy says her father loved to talk. “My mother said the only time you could turn him off was when he was on the radio.”
McPoland had been a beloved larger than life public figure for years, but that ended in 1991with an asthma attack. “When he died, I told Mother, ‘We’re so boring.’ I was entertained my whole life.” 78
Cindy McPoland photo by Blakeney Cox
Johny McPoland photo courtesy of Cindy McPoland