Remembering WDEF's Jolly Cholly

Monday, July 4, 2005 - by Harmon Jolley
Jolly Cholly, pictured at the top of this 1965 ad, was a popular personality at WDEF.  Click to enlarge.
Jolly Cholly, pictured at the top of this 1965 ad, was a popular personality at WDEF. Click to enlarge.

In the 1960’s, with a growing number of cars on the road, the afternoon commute had become a daily chore. The advent of freeways meant more choices for becoming stuck in traffic. As a calmative for rattled nerves, AM car radios offered motorists a combination of entertainment along with news and traffic information. Locally, many radios had a preset (a mechanical pushbutton, not one of those newfangled electronic ones) which selected WDEF and the relaxing music and voice of afternoon drive man “Jolly Cholly.”

Charles W. Krause, nicknamed “Jolly Cholly,” was a native of Aurora, Illinois. He served in World War II, and then began a radio career in Kentucky. In 1963, he moved to Chattanooga and became program director at WDOD radio. After twenty months at WDOD, he switched to WDEF. There, he hosted the afternoon program, “The Road Show.”

Jolly Cholly’s program began with “They Say I’m Lucky, Mr. Lucky Guy.” In a musical era when rock-and-roll, aided by the British Invasion, was claiming more listeners, Jolly Cholly offered the hits of the big bands and vocalists such as Dean Martin and Perry Como. His show ended around 7:00pm each day with “Misty,” the stylish piano instrumental by Erroll Garner.

Charles Krause earned his nickname each day at the station. WDEF’s Doris Ellis shared her memories of Mr. Krause: “A couple of things I remember vividly about Jolly Cholly were, as his name indicates...he was always Jolly....and he had a great sense of humor and wit. Everyone just loved him. He also loved food and he loved to talk about it and he talked about it often on the air. His descriptive terms would almost make you think you could actually smell and taste the food as you listened at home. I would always get hungry just listening to Jolly Cholly.”

In the mid-1960’s, Jolly Cholly was part of a three-person team which hosted “The Morning Show” on WDEF-TV Monday through Friday. One of his co-hosts was Betty Mac, who was a popular local TV host for many years. Mr. Krause also had on-air time at WDEF with a noon cooking show.

Jolly Cholly continued as a radio personality at WDEF until his untimely passing in 1974 at age 48. Afternoon radio in Chattanooga had lost a class act.

In case that you're wondering, yes, when I was growing up, I was sometimes called "Jolly Cholly" due to the similarity of my last name.

If you have memories of Jolly Cholly, please send me an e-mail at jolleyh@signaldata.net.


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