Doug Layton

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Doug Layton

Douglas William Layton (born 1933 in Sylacauga; died July 15, 2015 in Vestavia Hills) was a longtime radio announcer, deejay and sports announcer.

Layton grew up in Sylacauga and played baseball, football and basketball at B. B. Comer High School. He got his start in radio at age 15 with a "Digging with Doug" afternoon show on WMLS-AM. He went on to attend Jacksonville State University and spent some time in the U.S. Navy before resuming his radio career in Montgomery.

In 1960 Layton moved to Birmingham to work for WSGN-AM, and was one of the "Good Guys" that worked in the evenings from the "Sky Castle" broadcast booth. From there he moved to WYDE-AM where he was first matched up with Tommy Charles.

The two were dismissed from WSGN in 1964 and helped laucnh the upstart WAQY-AM. In 1966 they announced a "Ban the Beatles" campaign in protest of John Lennon's remark that the group was "bigger than Jesus." They encouraged listeners to bring Beatles' records and paraphernalia to various collection points and planned to destroy the materials in a bonfire and deliver the ashes to the group's concert in Memphis. It is unclear whether any such event took place in Birmingham.

The mania spread across the United States and became part of Beatles' legend. The notoriety followed Layton and Charles the rest of their lives.

Beginning in 1969 Layton became a a color commentator for Alabama Crimson Tide football radio broadcasts. He provided commentary alongside play-by-play announcers John Forney, Paul Kennedy and Eli Gold. For twenty years he was partnered with Jerry Duncan for pre-game programming. He stepped down from football broadcasting after the 2001 season, and was granted a lifetime pass to watch games from the press box in his retirement.

Layton also did play-by-play for Alabama Crimson Tide basketball games for 11 years. He was also active in community theater at the Levite Jewish Community Center.

After Charles' death in 1996 Layton began working with John Ed Willoughby as co-host of WERC-AM's morning show. They moved the show to WAPI-AM where it aired until April 1998. After retiring from weekday mornings, the pait co-hosted a "Layton & Willoughby" Saturday-morning sports-talk program on WJOX-AM. It moved to WYDE-FM in 2011 and ended with Willoughby's death in March 2015.

Layton was inducted into the Birmingham Record Collectors Hall of Fame in 2006.

Layton died from cancer four months after Willoughby. He was survived by his wife, Villeta, son Doug Jr and daughter Tyler.

References

  • Carlton, Bob (July 15, 2015) "Birmingham and Crimson Tide radio legend Doug Layton dies at 81." The Birmingham News