Earl Freudenberg has been a radio broadcaster in Chattanooga for half a century and is still going strong at WDYN. Next week, "Hey Earl" hits the 50-year mark dating to the time he started his broadcasting career in June 1962 at WAPO Radio in Chattanooga.
While still at Northside Junior High School, he helped out at WAPO by pulling copy off the wire machine to help the sportscaster broadcast road game scores of the Chattanooga Lookouts. As a junior at Kirkman Technical School, he wrote advertising copy and he later worked the control board at WAPO.
On the day he graduated from high school, he was offered a weekend operator's job. Before long he was program director at the station, becoming the youngest program director in the market.
He went to work for WDOD in 1965 and served with the American Forces Network for a year in 1972 after joining the military in 1970 and serving in South Carolina and Germany.
At one time in the early 1980s, he was news director at WDEF-TV.
While at WDOD, he had a number of special features, including regular call-ins from then-County Commissioners Curtis Adams and Bill Hullander about their latest antics.
After 40 years with WDOD, he left the station in 2005 when it changed its format. For many years during his tenure at WDOD, he was in the same building on South Broad Street as another local radio legend, Luther.
Mr. Freudenberg was with WDYN-FM for five years before a stint co-hosting the “Morning Show” on UCTV in Fort Oglethorpe.
He is now back at Tennessee Temple at Radio Station WDYN AM 980. He works with former Commissioner Adams on a series of radio interviews of notable Chattanoogans.
He has helped a host of local causes, including the Forgotten Child Fund, Bethel Bible Village, the Salvation Army and many others. For years, he was the announcer for the annual Armed Forces Day Parade.
During his long career, he has met many notables, including a number of Tennessee governors.
His most memorable interviews have been with Art Linkletter when he came to town for a Teen Challenge event and with comedian Red Skelton. Clyde Hawkins, then-manager of the Tivoli and Memorial Auditorium, made sure that Earl was seated next to Skelton at a luncheon.
He was named AP broadcaster of the year in Tennessee in 1981.
Congressman Zach Wamp honored Earl before Congress in 1995, and Rep. Richard Floyd had Mr. Freudenberg before the Tennessee General Assembly to be honored as a notable citizen of the state.