It’s always nice to see good things happen to good people. The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame will welcome six new career inductees on Saturday at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. Three of them are from Chattanooga, and they are our city’s first additions to the Hall since the late Luther Masingill in 2012 and Tommy Jett in 2013. In alphabetical order, let me pay personal tribute to three great guys:
Lifelong Chattanoogan Earl Freudenberg, best known as “Hey Earl” to his legion of talk show fans, has been talking into a microphone since he was a teenager in the early 60’s. First at WAPO, he kicked off a long career at WDOD in the mid-60s, spanning almost 40 years. His “Sound-Off” Sunday morning show, heard on both AM and FM (100,000 watts) was our own local “Meet the Press” with live phone calls. He later did a daily show “Viewpoint,” and was WDOD’s news director back when radio stations had large news departments. He won every award you can think of for his journalistic endeavors, including Tennessee’s Broadcaster of the Year in 1980. He had accomplished all this while barely in his 30s! In recent years, he’s continued to be a calm, steady voice each morning on WDYN, still delivering the news. On top of that, he mentored dozens of young reporters who have gone on to great careers. He was an early adopter of the Forgotten Child Fund, and helped make it the strong organization it is today. I’m proud of you Earl, this honor is long overdue.
Keith Landecker has been a steady presence at WJTT Power 94 for 26 years, best known as the station’s smooth afternoon host. His volunteer work with youth in the community has not gone unnoticed. He was a Jefferson Award Winner (the Nobel Prize of Public Service) in 2011, representing Chattanooga at the national program in Washington, DC. He has steered his radio station well for many years, and has taken on other administrative duties at Brewer Broadcasting. His “staying power” at Power 94 is a major reason the station is always a ratings winner. Prior to coming here, he worked in Frankfort, Louisville, Cincinnati and Detroit. We sure are fortunate that he adopted Chattanooga as his home.
“Ol Dex” is another radio lifer, having started back in his Rossville High days at WRIP, soon graduating to 50,000 watt AM top-40 giant WFLI. He took a break from radio to work in the record business, returning in 1994 to US-101, and it was like he never left. He and the late David Hughes made a great afternoon team, and he currently co-hosts the show with Melissa “Mo” Wagner. Dex has already won numerous ACM and CMA awards, and was a 2013 inductee into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. It will be a pleasure watching him accept his induction into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. Dex gives great speeches. Just like on the radio, you never know what he’s going to say. That’s what makes him so good!
Tommy Jett, our only living member of the Tennessee Hall of Fame from the Chattanooga area, called me to say how thrilled he is with the new inductees. “Keith Landecker loves this town, and it shows in everything he does,” Tommy said. “I’ve known Billy Joe Poindexter since he was a kid, just starting out. He deserves every award he gets. And it’s about time Earl Freudenberg gets some recognition. He doesn’t blow his own horn, he just does a great job day in and day out. He really cares about people. He visits me when I’m down and out, and always cheers me up. He’s just a super guy.” Tommy said he’s looking forward to helping welcome all the new inductees into the Hall of Fame in May.
Also to be inducted in the Class of 2016 are longtime Nashville and NASCAR personality Cathy Martindale, Bart Walker of WGNS in Murfreesboro, and 61-year Greeneville newscaster Maxine Humphries.
In addition to the honors for the three Chattanooga personalities, our city is also being honored with the Legendary Station award for the first time. The recipient is US-101, which has dominated the ratings for most of its 32-year history.
The first Luther Masingill Award will also be presented, honoring a Tennessee radio personality for public service. The winner of that award will be announced at a later date. For more information, go to the Hall of Fame website.
From David Carroll's ChattanoogaRadioTV.com