Fred Frelantz

Frederick David Wilson Mugler, III was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana then later attended the University of Oklahoma where he was roommates with Ron Sunshine.  While there, the two ran the school’s radio station.  While in school, Fred also worked at KOCY in Oklahoma City then for a station in Lake Charles, LA.  Then he went to KIRL, Wichita, where he came up with the name Fred Frelantz (a comment on the wandering nature of rock and roll disc jockeys) but management wouldn't let him use it.  So he went by the name "Derf O'Day" (O'Day was the last name of another well-known local personality and Derf was "Fred" spelled backwards).  Recommended by Ron, Fred was hired for the WROV morning show in 1961 and upon arriving he was an instant hit.  In addition to being a great disc jockey, Fred was a comic genius and spontaneity was one of his great virtues.  He never prepared anything before he went on the air, he just talked about whatever came to him and could ad-lib better than anyone who has ever lived.  On WROV, Fred originally called himself "Dr. Fred Frelantz" and said he was broadcasting from the "Feltbetter Clinic."  He was a genius of self-promotion and often had himself paged in restaurants to increase his name recognition. 

In November, 1964, Fred performed what is probably to this day Roanoke’s biggest radio stunt, his “Wake-A-Thon” during which Fred stayed awake broadcasting from a trailer at Towers Mall for a near record 142 hours.  During this promotion, Fred developed a unique rapport with WROV’s newest personality, Jack Fisher, which culminated with them doing a two-man show in 1966. 

Fred & Jack audio link

Fred left WROV in 1969 and formed Creative Advertising with Tommy Holcomb and John Hartmann.  He then worked for years at Image Advertising in Roanoke.  Fred continued to be seen on television commercials for Berglund Chevrolet and other clients, and as the yearly host of the Easter Seals Telethon on WSLS-TV. 

Throughout this entire era Fred was also a prominent member of the the Vikings and seen regularly at local venues such as The Coffee Pot.  One of Fred's most requested songs to this day is his version of Mr. Bojangles.

Mr Bojangles audio link

Fred and Jack returned for a reprise of their two man show on WROV in 1981 and continued this on a monthly basis for several more years.  Arguably, Fred was the biggest media star in Roanoke history.  Sadly, he died in an apartment fire in Roanoke in 1986.


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