Lost City: The Jazz Ark

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Illustration by Robert Freeson

For our February 2017 “Lost City” issue, we remember what time, disasters, and the wrecking ball have taken away.

Once anchored along the Newport side of the Ohio were the floating studios of iconic jazz station WNOP-AM 740. The Jazz Ark, as it was known, was custom built by Tucker Marine from three large steel tanks, painted orange. The low-power station began broadcasting an eclectic lineup in 1948 but evolved into a jazz station in 1962 (Leo Underhill and Oscar Treadwell were among the on-air captains) and remained so until 2000, when the station was sold. At one time, the Ark was sighted—partially submerged—in a marine salvage yard along the Licking River, though it’s now beached at Bellevue Sand and Gravel, south of Aurora, Indiana, in the hands of a collector of all things unusual, Bill Rudicill.

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