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Mercer Livermore

Radio Broadcaster, Cocoa Chatter

When Mercer Livermore King passed away at the age of 91 in 1998, it was the first time her age was revealed to most of the people who knew her. Although she was interviewed many times during her radio broadcasting career, she always told reporters, “My age is classified, highly classified.”

She spent more than 37 years on the air with her “Cocoa Chatter” program which became the oldest continuous women’s radio program in the United States. In 1959, she was recognized by McCall’s Magazine and awarded the “Golden Microphone,” the highest honor given exclusively to women in radio and television.

Livermore was there in 1950 when Bumper 8, the very first missile launched from Cape Canaveral lifted off. She was becoming the first woman in the media to give an eyewitness account of a launch. She was also there for most of the manned and unmanned rockets launched up through the early days of the Space Shuttle program.

She not only covered launches for her listeners, she also interviewed almost everyone who was anyone in the county and many people just traveling through including five U.S. presidents. Her program was geared to cover all activities that affected people in the area. She brought in local and county officials of all sorts to explain about schools, housing, safety, growth issues and numerous other topics that she felt was essential to the new people flocking to the area.

Often calling her media colleagues “my little chickadees” and her listeners “my dears,” she had a classic southern drawl and matter-of-fact way of telling her listeners what she thought they ought to know. And she was not shy about expressing her opinions. The result was a loyal following throughout her broadcasting career.

Born Mercer Elizabeth Pilcher in 1907, in Macon, Ga., she moved with her parents and five siblings to Panama City, Fla., when she was 13. She attended Mercer University and Wesleyan College in Georgia and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Michigan in Madison.

She received many honors during her career including being listed in the very first edition of “Who’s Who in American Woman” published in 1958.

Married to William White Livermore in 1929, she had two daughters, Elizabeth L. Norris and Wickham L. Kitzmiller, also known as “Wickie Wilson.” Both daughters also became part time reporters during the early launch days of the 1950s. Her daughter Wickie was the first Cape Canaveral reporter for Reuters, Ltd. news service. In 1958, the first live animal ever sent into space by an American missile was named “Wickie Mouse” in her honor, by her press colleagues.

Her friendship with many of the space and missile workers also resulted in an experimental mouse launched on a Thor-Able rocket to be named “Wickie Mouse” for her daughter.

Livermore married Cape Canaveral’s first port director, George J. King in 1962. He passed away five years before Livermore.