The Country King, the Mighty 92, WKKM, was Harrison’s first radio station founded by Dave Carmine, aka Dave Carr. Carmine started the station in 1975.
Carmine passed away at age 80 on August 8, 2022.
A first for Harrison, the station here was well received. It was another point of pride for a small tourist town and the station became a regional staple with country music, local news, obituaries, coming events, sports, weather and local business advertising – and even Paul Harvey.
Carmine was an excellent businessman. He never married or had children but had a wide network of friends in and out of the radio business. He kept in close contact with his many friends, both local and out of state all of his life.
Before coming to Harrison Carmine spent 15 years with WEXL in Detroit. He was program manager of the Royal Oak station. While he was an on-air personality, his goal was always station management and ownership. His dream was to have a small market country-western station next to a major market area. WKKM in Harrison fulfilled that dream for him.
From 1975 until 2002 his Harrison station was purely country music. In 2002 it was sold to Xavier University who operated under the call letters WVXH. In 2005 it was sold to Cincinnati Public Radio, a classical station. In 2006, it was sold to Coltrace Communications, and they switched to country programming.
Though retired, in 2014 Carmine brought back WKKM on 106.5 FM. The non-profit station played an automated playlist of old country favorites, and a few times a week Carmine read on air local news and events pulled from the Clare County Cleaver and local organizations. This lower power version of his station could be heard 10-15 miles in any direction from Harrison. The station is missed by many.
In addition to running his station in recent years, Carmine stuck to his regular schedule spending time in his office, visits with his coffee klatch at local restaurants and multiple daily visits to the Harrison District Library. He kept up with FCC news and other radio industry news.
As per his wishes, Carmine was generous to his friends and family and several education institutions as well as the Harrison District Library. They have created an endowment at the Clare County Community Foundation for the Summer Reading Program. Carmine donated to the program each year and left a bequest to continue to fund the program.
For a long time to come WKKM will hold special memories for those that worked for him and area residents who enjoyed the station. Carmine’s robust voice will echo in listeners minds with a musical crescendo joining in, “WKKM, the Country King.” You are missed Dave.
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