Jennifer (Davis) Ratcliff stands proudly alongside a plaque naming the new space for Main Street TV inside Stockmeister Plaza “The Lew Davis Studio.” Ratcliff continues to carry on her father’s legacy as host of Main Street TV’s Morning Show, just as he did for nearly two decades on the now defunct Cable Channel 15. (Telegram Photo by Phillip Buffington)
Jennifer (Davis) Ratcliff stands proudly alongside a plaque naming the new space for Main Street TV inside Stockmeister Plaza “The Lew Davis Studio.” Ratcliff continues to carry on her father’s legacy as host of Main Street TV’s Morning Show, just as he did for nearly two decades on the now defunct Cable Channel 15. (Telegram Photo by Phillip Buffington)

With Total Media’s move from the former Radio Building in downtown Jackson to the Stockmeister Plaza now complete, the names of two men who each played integral roles in the company’s storied past are now enshrined for the years to come.

In recent weeks, the new space for Main Street TV (MSTV) has been dubbed “The Lew Davis Studio,” while the new space for 96.7 WKOV-FM has been named “The John Pelletier Radio Studio.” These men both have strong, lasting ties to radio in the area, and of course, Davis was the man responsible for creating the Morning Show on the now defunct Cable Channel 15, which has been reborn as MSTV, with the new version of the Morning Show now being hosted by Davis’ daughter, Jennifer (Davis) Ratcliff.

Pelletier, or “John Boy” as he is affectionately known to many, retired from Total Media as the company’s Sales Manager in July 2021. He graduated from Wellston High School (WHS) in 1966, and while seeking employment to help put himself through college at Ohio University in 1968, a serendipitous meeting with then manager of WKOV-AM, Gary Unger, blossomed into a 50-plus-year broadcasting career. Most of Pelletier’s time in radio was spent locally, with short stints at WCHI in Chillicothe, WBNS in Columbus and WYRO in Gallipolis.

In addition to what many would consider John Boy’s most memorable claim to fame – serving as the longtime host of the Mix Morning Café on 96.7 WKOV-FM, a job he handed over to current host Matt McKee – he was also the very first local play-by-play sportscaster to broadcast all WHS football and basketball games (both home and away), which he did from 1971 to 1986. He likewise broadcasted the first live WHS baseball state tournament games and founded and hosted the longest-running local live sports talk show – The Bob Willis Sports Show.

For most of his broadcasting career, John worked what is known in the radio business as the “morning drive,” which involved him being on air from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

In addition to being well-known for his years of service behind the microphone, Pelletier is likewise familiar to many for his work behind the pulpit, having served as Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Wellston for the past 25 years. Just as change rolled through the radio industry, it did the same in John Boy’s life in the late 1980s.

“Like most young men, I had a long list of things to do and appetites to satisfy,” he said during an interview with The Telegram just before his retirement last year. “Of course, God was not on that list. However, on May 21, 1989, God put me on His list, and from that day forward, faith has been my cornerstone.”

Though he points to his late father, Horace Pelletier, as his biggest personal influence and “guidepost” in life, John says another well-known longtime local broadcaster helped shape his career.

“Professionally, my mentor has been Lew Davis,” he said. “Under his influence and urging, broadcasting became a passion and career for me and not just a job.”

Davis, a 1955 Jackson High School graduate, can trace his start in radio back to those high-school days, when he worked part-time for WLMJ. At that time, he explained, the radio studio was in the basement of the old Jackson Publishing Company building, which is where the Jackson County Municipal Courthouse now sits.

Following high school, Davis attended The Ohio State University. Despite studying agricultural education, Davis continued in radio as well, working part-time at WBEX in Chillicothe and WIOI in Portsmouth for about a year at each station. His first full-time job out of college was teaching vocational agriculture at Mt. Vernon High School. Next, Davis accepted a job as Farm Director at the WRFD radio station in Columbus, where he would stay for four years before taking a position at Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri. He later went on to spend five years as the Director of Public Relations for Farm Credit Banks in Louisville, Kentucky, before returning home to Jackson County and purchasing WKOV-AM in 1973.

Roughly one year later, Davis established the first FM radio station in the area – WKOV-FM – and over the course of the next three years, he would purchase the Jackson-based stations of WLMJ and WCJO as well. Four to five years after that, Davis said he established the WYRO-FM station, working alongside Pelletier, whom he described as “the guiding light.”

“Since he was so successful at being the head man with the radio stations, it made me successful,” Davis said of Pelletier. “I was fortunate to have some really, really good employees, and that includes John. He was the guy who made the boat run, so I’m very indebted to him for everything he did for and with me.”

In the early- to mid-1980s, Davis constructed studios in the upper story of the now former Radio Building at 295 E. Main St., Jackson, for use with Cable Channel 15. He started the Morning Show along with Gregg Milliken and various guests and continued doing so for roughly 20 years. Near the end of that two-decade run, around 1998, Ratcliff returned to the Jackson area and assisted her father with the Morning Show for approximately three years before the station was sold to Alan Stockmeister.

Of course, as the years progressed, Davis also sold all his radio stations to Stockmeister, who now operates them under the Total Media umbrella along with MSTV.

Though Davis and Pelletier are now both enjoying retirement, their countless contributions to local media and area communities in general can still be seen and heard each day.