Awake with Drake

If there’s one constant in Spartanburg, it’s Bill Drake.

While the popular radio host isn’t a native, he’s made himself quite at home. Drake came to Spartanburg in 1976 and while station owners and studios have changed, he’s been on the air consistently since arriving.

In fact, when his show, “Awake with Drake,” was almost cancelled loyal listeners protested so much that it stayed on the air. Today, the show, which Drake runs with Tom Herndon, is on WOLI 105.7 FM/910 AM (online at WOLI-AM.com) and airs from 6 – 9 a.m., Monday through Friday and from 6 – 8 a.m., on Sundays.

Drake describes his show as “relationship radio.” He easily chats with local leaders and business men/women and is always willing to help promote nonprofits. And, he’s one of Spartanburg’s biggest cheerleaders, having always supported his adopted hometown.

When Drake isn’t on the air he’s busy in the community. Throughout the years he has served on eight non-profit boards. Currently he is involved with the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen, serving meals several times a week. Drake continues to host the Annual Bill Drake Christmas Festival, which he founded more than three decades ago.

He’s also a constant in the schools. His first year here Drake started Battle of the Brains, of which Carolina Alliance is a proud sponsor. This show is comparable to a quiz bowl for seventh and eighth graders and Drake asks contestants about anything from current events to academic affairs. Thirty-six schools from throughout Spartanburg, Greenville, Cherokee and Union counties participate.

Drake also has strong ties with Spartanburg’s local colleges/universities. Since 1989 he’s been an adjunct instructor of communication studies at the University of South Carolina Upstate. And, from 1983-2011 he served as the public address announcer for several Wofford sports teams including football and men’s and women’s basketball.

Now Drake can add author to his long list of achievements. Last year, he, along with Perry Allen Wood, published, Awake With Drake – Conversations with a Radio Institution, a collection of stories and highlights from the first 53 years Drake spent in radio. The book was the first in South Carolina to be published by a public library. The Kennedy Free Press, an addition to the Spartanburg County Public Libraries History Center Project, was created to publish works that tell the story of Spartanburg and its citizens.

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