John Randolph Aspenleiter

john aspenleiter
Johnny R. Aspenleiter “Johnny Randolph”, 78, died July 22, 2020 in Danville, Kentucky. John was born in Middletown, Ohio on August 7, 1941, son of the late Clarence John and Dorothy Marie Copp Aspenleiter. John graduated from the Chattauqua High School in Ohio and earned an Engineering Degree at Miami University of Ohio.  John loved studying the history of radio including call letters history, frequencies of stations and everything about the industry. He was a broadcaster and DJ for WAKY radio beginning in the early 60s and became so well-known across the state that he was recognized by strangers as soon as they heard his voice. On April 1, 1967, John joined WAKY as a jock and Assistant Program Director, until 1977. During his years at WAKY, he became a huge fan of Charlie Rich. Charlie’s record “Behind Closed Doors”, was played on air for the first time by John. The song later appeared on WAKY’s top 30 charts.  The songs popularity spread from Louisville, selling more than a million copies and turning Charlie Rich into a superstar. He then later co-owned a station in Danville with WKLO call letters. From February 2005 to February 2007 John worked as Director of Programming for Walter May’s East Kentucky Broadcasting Group in Pikeville.  Later that year John joined WAKY-FM in Elizabethtown to do the PM Drive, a position that he held until 2020. He had a fantastic sense of humor and was a good-humored prankster.  When his sister was listening to her favorite songs on her radio in her room as a teenager, he would set his radio to a similar station to interfere with her reception.  He loved musicals, dancing and traveling around the world.  John was a student of anything and everything and he had a long-time fond love of old diesel Mercedes.  He was a member of Southland Christian Church and a volunteer for Heritage Hospice.  He is predeceased by his wife of 34 years, Frances Evelyn Aspenleiter and a granddaughter, Jennifer Franklin. He is survived by three sons and two daughters, Jon Christopher Aspenleiter of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Cassie (Ed Silver) Hill of Orange Beach, Alabama, Carrie (Thomas) Owen of Danville, Gordon Edward Couch of Louisville and Tim (Patricia) Gulley of Danville; six grandchildren, Christopher (Lori) Tims, Timothy (Lisa) Tims, Michael Tims, Aubrey Lanier, Jr, Lee Gulley and Jonah Couch; one sister, Sharon  Aspenleiter (Tim) Maddox and special family friend, Sandy Turner. The funeral service will be held, 1:00 p.m., Thursday, July 30, 2020 at the Showroom in Danville. Hershel McKinley and Charlie Perry will officiate. Visitation will be after 4 p.m., Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at the Showroom in Danville. Masks and social distancing will be required at The Showroom.  Memorial donations are suggested to Heritage Hospice.  Our Hugs from Home program and the online guestbook are available at     Visitation: after 4pm Wednesday at the Showroom Funeral Service: 1pm Thursday at the Showroom

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  1. Chris and family, My heart breaks for you. It never is easy to have a parent pass. It’s hard to believe JR is gone. Just on Monday of the week he died, we exchanged emails. He was so worn out after the pneumonia. We always exchanged birthday greetings. I worked at both KLO and with your Dad at WAKY, it was such great time to be in radio. Wishing you strength and consolation in this time of grief. As you know, he was one of a kind, generous to so many and he will be missed.

  2. We want to send our heartfelt condolences to John’s family. John was our good neighbor and friend and will be greatly missed. RIP John, you had so many fans in life and in your excellent career.

  3. I actually met Johnny the first time at WAKY 79 AM on 4th St. in Louisville. I was a young Louisville Police Patrolman walking a footbeat on the newly designated River City Mall. I knew Johnny and he knew me from a casual association related to my police work, a business relationship acquaintance only. Fast forward to when Johnny came to WAKY 103.5 FM. I heard him on the air, so I called him there and reintroduced myself. We talked about things we remembered about our meeting in 1971, but even though I knew him, he didn\’t remember me. One Saturday in August 2016, Johnny had driven to Louisville to do a WAKY remote. I had known in advance he was doing the remote, so I asked him to stop by our house that afternoon; we were cooking out. He called me after his radio duties were over that afternoon, and we reconnected after such a long time. My wife Pat and I then had several occasions to meet with Johnny to take excursions into the Kentucky countryside, and enjoy a nice lunch somewhere. We both enjoyed Johnny\’s company, and he was always a pleasure to have around. Though we truly only knew him a short time, we\’ll miss our friend Johnny.

  4. Johnny was my friend and neighbor. I will miss our talks and seeing him smile and wave as he passed my house. He was a legend in his own time.

  5. Johnny and I were friends over 53 years.I met him In 1967 when he was at WKLO Radio I was 16 in High School at Seneca. I had a Saturday morning show for 30 minutes and he helped me learn the equipment He told me something I never forgot “ Grover you have a face for radio!” God Bless you Johnny REST IN PEACE ❤️❤️❤️

  6. Sending Condolences and Prayers to the Family-we are so sorry for your Loss! We knew of Johnny through his sister Sharon, heard so many lovely stories of his humor and love that he shared. May John be at Peace and his wonderful memories help you through. Hugs, Larry & Pam Langfeldt

  7. I was president of John\’s fan club in the mid 60\’s when he was at WKLO. I would stop by the station most afternoons on my way home from Mercy High School. We had many good times talking about various local bands and everything music. I stayed in touch via phone calls and we would reminisce about various DJ\’s that had come and gone. Including Ken Douglas, Mitch Michaels, Charlie Knox, Bill Bailey just to mention a few. Rest in peace dear friend. An iconic voice that will be missed. John always said \”No matter where you go, there you are.\”

  8. I know people change and move on but you will forever be a big part of my childhood during the 10 or so years you and Mom were together. I\’m glad the two of you were able to reconnect. RIP, I will forever think of you when I see Dr. Pepper …

  9. My deepest condolences to Johnny\’s Family. I met Johnny in 1969 when one of our \” basement bands \” took 1st place in WAKY\’S Battle of the Band\’s at the Carl Casper Rod N Custom Show at The Fairgrounds in Louisville. Johnny treated us like he had known us all our lives. As I got to know him better down the road, I realized the only thing bigger than his booming voice was the size of his heart. From Club 68 to announcing wrestling matches, he was never to busy to spend time with anyone that wanted to say hello. I will never forget the time that Johnny introduced me to Charlie Rich. Charlie made sure, with tears in his eyes, that I knew everything Johnny had done for him. For the next couple of years, Johnny conned me into being a judge at consecutive Battle Of The Bands. He had us wear Tuxedo\’s and Converse Tennis Shoes. Johnny \’s keynote phrase \” Wherever You Go, There You Are \”. Today I know exactly where Johnny is, and if there is a Rock Station in Heaven, they just landed the finest Program Director on Earth . It was a privilege to have known Johnny Randolph Aspenleiter.

  10. I first met Johnny Randolph Aspenleiter in the fall of 1970 when I joined the staff of WAKY Radio. Little did I know then that my life would change forever because of him. Nor did I know when we had dinner last October that would be the last time I ever saw him. Or the email I received from him two days before his passing would be the last time I would hear from him. He had and always will have a special place in my heart. Love never dies. Thanks for the memories, Johnny. RIP

  11. Thank you, Johhny for some of the best years and experiences of my life. You will be LONG remembered.

  12. My dad Donnie remembers listening to Johnny Randolph and WAKY Radio since he was a teen in the 1960\’s and I have also always listened to Johnny & WAKY since I was a little kid right with my dad in his auto garage in Hodgenville. Johnny will be greatly missed by two generations of WAKY listeners. We will forever listen to WAKY.

  13. I never met Johnny, but I really enjoyed his show. I’m in Hopkinsville and heard Johnny on days that we traveled to Louisville for Doctor appointments. I have worked in radio two different times in my career. I know the industry can get in your blood. My condolences to all the family and everyone at WAKY.

  14. Johnny had been my favorite DJ in the 60s and 70s thru today. I was listening to WAKY several years ago on my computer while in Saigon and he was taking request, so I got on my iPad and called him up. We talked for several minutes and I asked him on live radio to play If You’re Going To San Francisco and it played for me. That song was a favorite back in the 60s, for San Francisco was where we flew into after leaving for home from the fields in Vietnam. Later I was fortunate to meet him a couple times at the Ky State Fair and got to pose for a picture with him. I miss Johnny already, for he was my favorite DJ.

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