MURFREESBORO, TN (WRCB) - Sixteen broadcasters, including seven in the Career category and nine in the Legacy (deceased) category were inducted Saturday into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame.
The inductees Les Acree, Charlie Chase, Rick Dees, Tommy Jett of Chattanooga, George Klein, R. M. "Bob" McKay Jr. and Pat Sajak, and posthumously Noel Ball, Allen Dennis of Chattanooga, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Coyote McCloud, Luke Medley, George Mooney, Dewey Phillips, longtime Chattanooga personality Drue Smith and Rufus Thomas.
Jett, a 52-year Chattanooga broadcaster best known for his work on WFLI was inducted by WDEF radio-TV mainstay Luther Masingill, the 91-year-old legend who still broadcasts each morning, now in his 73rd year (a world record). "Luther" was inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame's 2012 class, its first ever.
"Tommy Jett is a longtime friend," Masingill said. "He almost left us last year after a serious car accident, and that makes this honor so much more meaningful for him, and for his friends."
Allen Dennis, who died in 2012, was awarded posthumously. In the 1960s and 1970s he was frequently heard on WMOC, WDXB and WGOW in Chattanooga. His niece Debbie Williams accepted the award in his honor, saying, "This would have meant the world to my uncle. He had so many radio friends in Nashville and Chattanooga, and this was his life."
The late Drue Smith was a pioneering female journalist, first in Chattanooga and later in Nashville. She worked in Chattanooga at WAPO radio, WDEF TV and radio, and then covered state government for the Tennessee Radio Network. She is also credited with discovering Oprah Winfrey.
"Coyote McCloud," whose real name was Bill Lehmann also had Chattanooga ties. The fast-talking top-40 disc jockey worked at WGOW in the early 1970s before gaining greater fame in Atlanta and Nashville. He died in 2011.
Les Acree is best known as a top Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis radio programmer; Charlie Chase is a 42-year radio/TV veteran and co-host of several popular shows with his partner Lorianne Crook; Rick Dees was a popular Memphis deejay before appearing nationally on radio and TV; George Klein is a longtime Memphis radio personality, and was a close friend of Elvis Presley; Bob McKay is a 93-year-old who put several Tennessee stations on the air; Pat Sajak was a popular deejay on WSM in Nashville before becoming host of "Wheel of Fortune,"; Noel Ball was one of Nashville's top radio personalities in the 1950s and 1960s; Tennessee Ernie Ford made his name in Knoxville radio before going to national TV fame; Luke Medley established radio in the Cookeville area in 1940; George Mooney established the Vols Sports Network and later owned several stations; Dewey Phillips was a popular Memphis personality who was among the first to play Elvis's music; and Rufus Thomas was a Memphis deejay who also established a successful recording career.
Note from David Carroll: To read more about Tommy Jett's remarkable recovery from his 2012 car accident, go to http://www.chattanoogaradiotv.com/uncategorized/hall-of-famer-tommy-jett-the-healing-power-of-rock-n-roll/
Contact David Carroll: firstname.lastname@example.org
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