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Tommy Jett to be Inducted into Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame
The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame will officially induct its second class of broadcast honorees on May 4th during a gala event. Sixteen broadcasters will be inducted, including Chattanooga's own Tommy Jett, who will be inducted into the Career category.
“These broadcasters have all distinguished themselves in the industry and in this state,” said Hall of Fame President Ralph Vaughn. Some have entertained you locally. Some have become prominent on the national stage. Some brought radio to your communities for the first time and some have helped build their communities. But all have made a significant contribution to the broadcast industry.”
Seven people are being inducted in the Career category, which honors those still living and in many cases, still working in broadcasting. They are:
Les Acree: Legendary country programmer and consultant who worked at stations in Memphis (WMC, WGKX and WMQM), Nashville (WKDA), and Knoxville (WIVK). He was named Program Director of the Year by Billboard in 1991, 1994 and 1997 and by the Gavin Report in 1998.
Charlie Chase: Best known as the host of The Crook and Chase Show and The Crook and Chase Countdown, Charlie Chase worked in east Tennessee, before coming to Nashville. There, he worked at WMAK and WSM before also having a TV career on Nashville’s Channel 4 and The Nashville Network.
Rick Dees: He rose to national fame while working mornings at WMPS in Memphis, when he wrote and recorded “Disco Duck,” which sold six-million copies and won a People’s Choice Award. Dees moved to WHBQ in Memphis and later to Los Angeles. He was Billboard’s Top 40/CHR major market “Air Personality of the Year” for 10 consecutive years.
Tommy Jett: One of the original “Jet-Fli” guys on 50,000 watt WFLI, the name Tommy Jett Reynolds has been synonymous with top 40 rock in the Chattanooga area for more than 50 years. He has hosted country and oldies shows on several stations and can now be heard on his website, TommyJett.com. He also emcees shows and is active in charity events and high school reunions with his “Tommy Jett Music Machine.”
George Klein: Klein has a 50-year radio and tV career in Memphis, starting with WHHM’s high school football broadcasts and baseball broadcasts for the Memphis Chicks at WHBQ. He worked at KWAM and WMC, and was a close friend of Elvis Presley. He toured with Elvis before returning to WHBQ to host Channel 13’s Talent Party, which ran for 12 years. He later hosted Memphis Sounds for WYPL. He now has a show on the Elvis Channel on Sirius/XM.
R. M. “Bob” McKay, Jr.: Bob McKay put WKRM in Columbia on the air in 1946. He later launched WPHC/Waverly in 1963, followed by WVRY-FM/Waverly in 1970. He acquired a second station in Columbia and changed its calls to WKOM. Active in numerous community organizations, McKay was a founding member of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters in 1949, served as its president in 1971 and received the TAB Distinguished Service Award in 1981. He retired in 2008 at the age of 88 after 62 years in radio.
Pat Sajak: A native of Chicago, Sajak was in broadcasting school when he got his first radio job. In 1968, he joined the Army and was sent to Vietnam, where he was a DJ on Armed Forces Radio. He came to Nashville’s WSM-AM in the early 1970s, playing pop in afternoon drive. Sister station WSM-TV (now WSMV) brought him on screen as a staff announcer and later, as weekend weatherman. In 1977, KNBC in Los Angeles hired him to do weather full time. In 1981, Merv Griffin hired him as host of Wheel of Fortune. Besides his continued duties at Wheel, he also hosts The Pat Sajak Baseball Hour, a syndicated radio talk show.
The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame is also inducting nine persons in the Legacy category. These people have passed away, but are being recognized for the contributions they made to the industry during their careers. They are:
Noel Ball: Known as Nashville’s first flamboyant rock DJ, Ball worked in radio (WKDA, WMAK, WSIX), TV (Saturday Showcase and more on WSIX-TV), artist management and in records as a producer and head of Artists and Repertoire for the Nashville office of DOT Records. While at WMAK, he co-authored (with Alan Nelson and Gene Clark) “Day for Decision,” a spoken oration on American patriotism set to music and recorded by Johnny Sea. It received a Grammy nomination in 1967.
Allen Dennis: He was a top Country and Top 40 air talent during a career that spanned five decades, beginning in the late 1950s. His resume includes stops at WKDA/Nashville, WKGN/Knoxville, WMAK/Nashville, WNOX/Knoxville, KQV/Pittsburgh, WHOO/Orlando, WDXB/Chattanooga, WAAY/Huntsville, WRIP/Chattanooga, WYDE/Birmingham, WGOW/Chattanooga and WSM/Nashville. He also published the Southern Hotline record news sheet in the 1970s.
Tennessee Ernie Ford: Ernest Jennings Ford began his radio career at WOPI-AM in his hometown of Bristol, Tennessee. He studied classical singing at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music before World War II, where he served as a bombardier on a B-29. After the war, he worked in radio in California, and to differentiate himself, created the personality of “Tennessee Ernie,” a wildly exaggerated hillbilly. A singing, acting and TV career followed, and he received three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (radio, records and TV). He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1994.
Coyote McCloud: He worked at WGOW in Chattanooga as Bill Scott and became Coyote McCloud at WQXI in Atlanta. He became well-known in the early 1970s when he worked evenings on WMAK, Nashville and also worked at WWKX and WZPC. He became one of the most controversial DJs of the 1980s as lead man on The Zoo Crew on WYHY, and was featured in a CBS 48 Hours documentary on shock radio in 1992.
Luke Medley: When Luke Medley put WHUB/Cookeville on the air in 1940, it was the first radio station in middle Tennessee outside Nashville and only the 14th in the state. Medley was instrumental in the growth of Cookeville and Putnam County and held several key political and civic offices. He helped organize the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters and received its Distinguished Service Award in 1981. He was CEO of WHUB-AM and WHUB-FM (added in 1964) for 56 years.
George Mooney: In 1962, George Mooney piloted his boat up the Tennessee River to beat football game traffic and inspired the Vol Navy, one of the most unique traditions in college football. He was the voice of the Vols from 1952 until 1967. In 1958, he took over WKGN in Knoxville and it became Mooney Broadcasting, which included WMAK, WBYQ and WYHY in Nashville, as well as stations in Alabama, Florida and Puerto Rico. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters selected him three times as Tennessee’s Most Outstanding Broadcaster.
Dewey Phillips: “Daddy-O Dewey” began his career on WHBQ in Memphis in 1949, and was the area’s leading radio personality for nine years with his Red, Hot and Blue Show, a mix of R & B, country boogie-woogie and jazz. The Broadway musical, Memphis, is said to be based loosely on his life and career. On July 8, 1954, Phillips was the first DJ to play “That’s All Right/Blue Moon of Kentucky,” the debut Sun Records release by a young artist named Elvis Presley.
Drue Smith: A pioneering female broadcaster, Drue Smith was first a newspaper journalist at the Chattanooga Times. In the 1940s and 1950s, she was a society and political commentator for WAPO, WDOD and WDEF, where she also hosted a daily TV show. After moving to Nashville in the 1960s, she had a long run as legislative reporter for the Tennessee Radio Network and WLAC Radio. In 1984, state lawmakers passed a resolution naming her their 133rd member. Following her death in 2001, they named the Capitol Hill Press Room in her honor.
Rufus Thomas: He was one of the most influential DJs in radio history, spinning tunes on WDIA/Memphis from 1948-2001. The self-professed "world's oldest teenager" was also renowned for recording hits like "Walking The Dog" and "Do The Funky Chicken," as well as best-selling duets with his daughter, Carla. During his career, Thomas received numerous awards and supported many local and national charities. The street in Memphis which bears his name crosses Beale Street, and the city of Porretta, Italy has designated Rufus Thomas Park as the site of an annual Soul Festival held in his honor each year.
This year’s Legendary Station honor goes to WDIA, Memphis. WDIA was the first radio station in America that was programmed by African-Americans for African Americans. It empowered a huge segment of the population that was, until the late 1940s, largely unrecognized. Its achievement was all the more extraordinary because it occurred during a time of institutionalized racism. WDIA began broadcasting with 250 watts at 730 on the AM dial; yet soon became the top station in the city. In 1954, the station received a power increase to 50,000 watts at 1070 on the dial. Suddenly, it had the power to reach 10% of the total African-American population in the country. Its impact was enormous, and radio stations from other cities sent staff to Memphis to study how WDIA worked, in order to establish African-American stations in their owncities. The home of legendary DJ Rufus Thomas, names like B. B. King and Isaac Hayes have also graced WDIA’s broadcasts over the years.
The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame’s second annual induction banquet is set for Saturday, May 4, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Murfreesboro. Tickets are $75 per person (or $600 for a table of 10) and can be purchased through the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters. To inquire about tickets, contact TAB’s Doug Combs at 615.365.1840
More Entertainment News
Last Update on October 31, 2014 07:08 GMT
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It's expected to be one of the top movies of the year. And with "Interstellar" soon hitting theaters, we'll see whether the predictions will come true. The movie is set in the near future -- after Earth has been hit with a blight that wipes out most of its food sources. Enter Matthew McConaughey -- or at least his character. He plays a widowed pilot who is asked to leave his children behind to head out on a space mission to find out if there are any other planets where humans can thrive. McConaughey says he didn't quite grasp the science behind the movie. He says it took him more than five hours to get through his first read of the script. Even then, he had questions for director Christopher Nolan and the astrophysicist who was helping with the production. The movie opens next week.
Matthew McConaughey says it took some time to get his head around the script for "Interstellar," even with the help of director Christopher Nolan. ((longer version of cut in wrap))
<<CUT ..003 (10/31/14)>> 00:09 "the actor work"
Matthew McConaughey says once he got a handle on the science behind "Interstellar," he was able to dive into the role.
<<CUT ..004 (10/31/14)>> 00:09 "on the ground"
Matthew McConaughey says unlike most kids, he never dreamed of being an astronaut. ((longer version of cut used in wrap))
<<CUT ..005 (10/31/14)>> 00:19 ""
Sound of Matthew McConaughey
Sound of Matthew McConaughey from the trailer for the movie "Interstellar."
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Nicole Kidman can pretty much get whatever kind of part she wants these days. But that wasn't the case when she was 5 -- and she missed out on a coveted role. She says she wanted to play Mary or maybe an angel in her school's nativity play. But she ended up cast as a sheep. She says she still remembers her costume: one of those fleece-looking car seats cover converted into an outfit by her mom. She says playing a sheep wasn't her finest moment as an actress, but she "felt amazing." She says she "bleated through the whole play" and even got a laugh -- and she was hooked. Kidman stars in "Before I Go To Sleep" a movie about a woman whose memory is wiped clean every night.
Nicole Kidman recalls her first acting role.
<<CUT ..008 (10/31/14)>> 00:09 "my whole career"
Nicole Kidman says while she wanted a bigger role, she was thrilled with her first acting part.
<<CUT ..009 (10/31/14)>> 00:17 "secretly doing it"
Nicole Kidman recalls some of her earliest childhood memories. ((note length of cut))
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- Gregg Allman is no longer involved in a lawsuit filed by the family of a movie crew worker killed by a train during the shooting of a movie about the musician. Lawyers for the parents of Sarah Jones say they have decided to dismiss all claims against Allman and two other parties. The decision was made after going over thousands of documents and other evidence in the case. The attorney says it's clear Allman "had no involvement" in any of the decisions that led to Jones' death. Allman was an executive producer of the movie based on his life story -- but has moved to distance himself from the project since the crew member's death. Members of the crew were struck by a freight train as they worked on a rail bridge. CSX says it denied the film crew access to the area.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chris Brown has settled a lawsuit stemming from his punching a man outside a Washington D.C. hotel a year ago. The lawyer for the man who suffered a broken nose in the incident says his client and Brown have reached a deal on a lawsuit. No details on how much the settlement was worth. Brown pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault on Sept. 2. The singer admitted hitting Parker Adams, who tried to get in a picture the singer was taking with two women outside the W hotel in October 2013. Brown was sentenced to time served.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Some people are criticizing reality TV star Tiny Harris -- for failing to keep it real when it comes to her eyes. She's drawing fire from social media haters and some eye doctors over a procedure she underwent to have her eyes permanently lightened. They were once brown; now they're ice gray. Harris is thrilled with the results, telling ABC she had the cosmetic eye implants done in Africa. She says of her new eyes: "they're amazing." Some medical pros aren't so impressed. New York ophthalmologist James Tsai says such cosmetic procedures are illegal in the U.S. And he says those who have the procedure run the risk of getting glaucoma, cataracts, bleeding in the eyes -- or problems with their corneas.
NEW YORK (AP) -- It was a tug-of-war between two divisions within ABC -- entertainment and news. "The View" will now come under the command and control of ABC News. The move ends an 18-year run with the daytime chat-fest being under the network's entertainment wing. It may prove to be a hollow victory. The show's ratings have dropped since shifting to a new set of hosts going into this season. The current panel is made up of Rosie O'Donnell, Nicolle Wallace and Rosie Perez -- and the lone holdover from the glory days, Whoopi Goldberg.
"GAME OF THRONES"-SUSPENSION
PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) -- "Game of Thrones" is a popular TV series. But a slogan from the HBO show wasn't as well received when it ended up posted online by a New Jersey professor. Francis Schmidt teaches art and animation at Bergen County Community College. He says he was suspended eight days after posting a photo of his 7-year-old daughter wearing a T-shirt with the slogan: "I will take what is mine with fire and blood." Now school officials have overturned the punishment, saying the suspension may have violated his constitutional rights. Schmidt said that school officials wondered if the reference was a threat against a dean, who was one of the people who saw the online post.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- If you see a rather large fellow decked out in an Elvis costume today, take a close look -- you might have seen him on TV. Jorge Garcia says he has forked over $3,700 on a "Dragon" jumpsuit, styled after the kind Elvis Presley used to wear. It's white with colorful dragons stitched into the front and back. Garcia says he always wanted to have one -- and now that he has made good money from "Lost" and "Hawaii Five-O," he decided to splurge.
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