In an industry that has seen ups and downs over the years, there has been one constant in Chattanooga radio. “Ole’ Dex” has been moving the needle for over 20 years in Chattanooga and was recently honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame. In a ceremony that will be held later this year, Dex will be part of country radio history but recently he was recognizing the team around him that got him where he is today. He mentioned the other DJs that have gone before him like Big John Anthony, Jack Cole, and his long-time partner David Earl Hughes. Men who were larger than life in Chattanooga radio and left us entirely too soon.
I had the privilege to be around Dex day in and day out during my time on Old Lee Highway and I can honestly say that what you hear on the air is what you get in the private moments as well. He taught me how to laugh at myself and how to encourage others to join in on the fun. He reminded me and let me peak behind the curtain of what radio was like years ago and how we can carry that torch into the future.
I’m no longer working at US-101 but he’s reminded me that I’ll always be part of the US-101 family. However, I consider my new position in Memphis at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital a direct extension of the work we did together on the air. It could have been the annual Heart Strings for Hope Concert at the Tivoli or the annual radiothon, but every community event that bares the US-101 shield is important to him. I’ve watched Dex “in sickness and in health” stand outside for the kids of St Jude and for the Forgotten Child Fund making sure that the children’ are taken care of. His love for working for a cause rubbed off on me and that’s why I’m doing all I can to continue that effort today.
Dex was never “too good” to show the young guy the ropes. Whether it be a lunch with industry people, a meet and greet with an artist, or a super exclusive event during CMA week, it was never about him, it was always about us. Sometimes a work family can be dysfunctional but it’s still a family and I’ll always consider the lessons learned some of the most valuable of my life.
You can’t go into a room with Dex without hearing that undeniable cackle. His laugh is his signature and there are plenty of stories to be told. I’m just glad I was there to experience a handful of them. I was proud to hear of the news that he will be enshrined into the County Music Hall of Fame however, I’m not surprised by recognition he deserves. Three cheers for Dex.
I’m not Dex… but I’m done!