Radio's "Luther" gets his own city street
By David Carroll
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- The longest-running announcer in the history of broadcasting will now drive to work on the street that bears his name.
WDEF's Luther Masingill unveiled the signs proclaiming a portion of South Broad Street "Luther Masingill Parkway." The project had been in the works for years. Originally, the Chattanooga City Council had discussed the idea, but couldn't complete it due to a city ordinance which prohibits naming streets for living people.
From there, Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey took up the cause, asking the local legislative delegation to rename the street, which is part of a state highway. State Senator Bo Watson helped make the project a reality, and attended Thursday's ceremony at the Mount Vernon restaurant along with State Representatives Richard Floyd and Tommie Brown.
Luther's radio career began on December 31, 1940 at WDEF Radio in the Volunteer Building. He has the longest-running daily show in the world. From World War II, through the present day, he has survived format changes, countless managers, and several owners to remain on the air, on the same time and same station for almost 70 years. When WDEF signed on a companion television station in 1954, Luther became a daily presence on that medium too, which continues today on the station's noon newscast.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield lauded Luther for "always being there when we need to get the word out on anything important." Senator Watson credited the radio icon with "inspiring so many of us, whether it's fellow broadcasters, or just everyday citizens." And Mayor Ramsey thanked him for "being someone we can count on, through good times and bad, and certainly through all kinds of weather."
Luther said he was humbled by the honor. He said, "I still love working on the radio, with my friends James Howard and Gene Lovin each morning. I love it now even more than I did a few years ago."