For more than two decades he was the voice of local basketball,
broadcasting hundreds of high school games to Monticello and Wayne
County fans. Steve Staples began his radio career as a teenager and
it spanned nearly four decades.
Staples died on Friday, January 24 at the Wayne County Hospital. He
Staples was born October 1, 1941 in Chapmanville, West Virginia, the
second of six children of Fred and Vera Staples. His parents worked
as missionaries and they became involved in the radio business in
Matewan, West Virginia and then Cheraw, South Carolina. While in
Cheraw, Steve Staples became a lifetime fan of the Boston Red Sox, as
a player from the town pitched for Boston.
When he was 15, Steve Staples traveled with his father, Fred on a
journey looking for a new radio property. That landed the family at
WFLW in Monticello.
WFLW had been on the air a few months and the Staples purchased it
in 1956. Steve Staples began working at the station as a junior in
He graduated from Monticello High School in 1959. He married the
former Jean Twyford and they had two children—Stephen and Debbie.
In the early 1960's, Fred and Vera Staples purchased a Christian
bookstore in St. Petersburg, Fla. A young Steve Staples and his
family stayed in Monticello to run WFLW. He purchased the station
from his father a few years later.
Staples put WFLW-FM on the air in 1967. With WFLW-FM, it allowed for
live broadcasts of high school and University of Kentucky basketball
games. Staples broadcast high school games live from that time
through the late 1980's.
He was also an active member of the local community. He served
several terms on the Monticello Independent School Board of Education.
He was inducted to the Monticello Athletic Hall of Fame as a
dedicated fan and broadcaster in 2004.
During his radio career, he was the original owner of the license
for stations WKXO-AM in Berea, Ky. and WVFB-FM in Celina, Tn. On
February 13, 1974, WFLW-FM was signed on as WKYM, and was the first
FM station between Lexington and Knoxville programmed live and local
and playing a Top 40 format.
Soon after going on the air, WKYM was honored by the American Red
Cross and others for service on the night of widespread tornadoes in
the area. In doing that coverage, WKYM became the first station in
the area doing a 24 hour live broadcast. WKYM joined other area
stations in support of victims of the disaster, airing the Tornado
Another local radio first was the Monticello Kiwanis Radio Auction,
begun in 1971, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this
year on WKYM. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to
help underprivileged children of Wayne County in the many years of
Steve continued the daily management of WFLW and WKYM until he sold
both stations to his son Stephen on January 1, 1995, making the WFLW-
WKYM one of, if not the only third generation radio operations in the
state (or country). Stephen and Debbie are still active daily at the
In late June 2013, Staples suffered a series of strokes, and has
been limited physically since that time.
He is survived by two children, Stephen and Debbie, six
grandchildren, Jenessa Morrow, Leandra and Landry Brown, and Drake,
Dillon and Carson Staples, as well as two great grandchildren, Sophia
Morrow and Logan Watson.
Private family services were held for Staples. Burial was in the Elk Spring Cemetery.
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