Everyone has a radio story...a memory from when they first heard their favorite song or their favorite radio program. The 300-piece Kirk Collection at the WFSU Broadcast Center helps bring those stories and memories to life.
Jim Kirk grew up in rural Tennessee where he formed a fascination with radio and television. With his wife, Biddie, he began collecting items found in the collection - housed in WFSU's lobby - nearly 65 years ago. Mr. Kirk hopes it will help to revive the wonder of radio for a generation more in-tune with CNN and iPods.

Jim Kirk did not intend to become a collector. He had bought a 1932 Emerson radio that was so unrecognizable that he thought it was an antique jewelry box. Apparently, the repair of this item spawned the first of hundreds of items stored in a museum in the studios of WMOP-AM in Ocala, which Kirk owned from 1963 to 1993.

His career began at Florida State, where he earned the University's first degree in speech with a broadcasting emphasis. Then he was off to Quincy as staff announcer at WCNH-AM. Eventually, along with WCNH station owner, Ben Letson, Kirk began the establishment which is now known as the Seminole Sports Network. In 1953, Kirk was asked to manage WMOP, a new 1,000 watt station. Ten years later he bought the station. And while running Florida's oldest country station, he served as Ocala's mayor for 3 terms. In 1993 Kirk sold WMOP and he is now working for the FSU Foundation and the Seminole Boosters.

Kirk has 3 sons, all of whom attended Florida State University, and describes his grandchildren as "double-dipped Seminoles." He enjoys traveling, mostly by car, with the radio tuned in to the nearest local station.

Photo: Tallahassee Democrat