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2014 Inductees Of Tennessee Radio Hall Of Fame Announced

Monday, December 16, 2013

In their meeting on Saturday, the Board of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame certified the election results, naming seven new inductees in the Legacy (i.e., "deceased") Category, and six new inductees to the Career Achievement (i.e., "living") category. Those elected will be inducted officially at the Awards Banquet and Induction Ceremony on Saturday May 3, at the Embassy Suites hotel in Murfreesboro.  The 2014 Radio Station of the Year winner will be released later this week.  The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit Tennessee Corporation.  TennRadioHallOfFame.org

The Legacy winners are:  

Jud Collins - (1919-2008) was known as Nashville’s “Mr. Television," but the Alabama native began his Nashville broadcasting career as host, Grand Ole Opry announcer and newsman on WSM-AM in 1940 before becoming the city’s first TV news anchor in 1950. When WSM-TV signed on, he moved over to become the city’s first TV anchorman, a desk he occupied into the 70s.

T. Tommy Cutrer - (1924-1998) was born Thomas Clayton Cutrer in Osyka Mississippi. He dreamed of being a professional football player or a boxer, but a bruise gained from playing football in High School turned out to be osteomyelitis and he spent the next six months in bed. While lying there listening to the radio he began to think about being a broadcaster. He was 18 when he landed his first radio job at WSKB/McComb, MS. From there he went to WSDU/New Orleans, where he got fired after just two weeks. He landed next at WNOE/New Orleans. His colourful career incorporated stints at radio stations in Jackson, Little Rock, Memphis, Houston, Lake Charles and Shreveport. In 1954 WSM/Nashville Program Director Jack Stapp hired him to host the “Opry Star Spotlight” and when Eddie Hill left the All Night Show, T. Tommy took over. He served as announcer on the Grand Ole Opry until 1964 when he left to purchase his own station in Jackson, MS. He later hosted his own syndicated radio show, “Music City USA,” and spent a season as host of an early morning TV show, “Nashville Scene.” He was named CMA Disc Jockey of the Year in 1957, and was inducted in the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 1980. Always interested in politics, T. Tommy ran for Congress in 1976 and lost to Al Gore, Jr. With Gore’s support and endorsement he ran for the Tennessee State Senate in 1978 and won. He served until 1982 and then worked for the International Brotherhood of teamsters as a field representative. 

Jack Stapp - (1912-1980) was born in Nashville. The family relocated to Atlanta in 1921, where he attended Georgia Tech, who had their own radio station, and became PD when WGST went commercial. He then relocated to New York, where he became a senior CBS Records executive and a friend of Phil Carlin, the Production Manager of NBC. Stapp’s abilities came to the attention of WSM in Nashville and in 1939, they appointed him Program Manager. He created new shows on WSM and he used his friendship with Carlin to gain network for some of the programs including the Prince Albert segment of the Grand Ole Opry. He has also been credited for ending the predominance of string bands on the Opry by promoting singers such as Roy Acuff and later Pee Wee King and Ernest Tubb and signing Red Foley, Eddy Arnold, Hank Williams, Carl Smith, Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline. During World War II, Jack was involved with the study of psychological warfare in New York but spent some time working on the preparation of propaganda in London. He returned to WSM and although he had no initial interest in country music, he was appointed manager of the Opry and in that capacity instigated many continuing WSM events such as the annual DJ Convention. In 1951, with his partner providing the money and Stapp providing the know-how, he and Lou Cowan launched Tree Publishing. He hired Buddy Killen to review songs and, in 1954, the first Tree-published song, ‘By The Law of My Heart’, was recorded by Benny Martin. In 1955, two of Tree’s writers, Mae Boren Axton and Tommy Durden (with the assistance of Elvis Presley), came up with ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, which firmly established the company when Presley’s recording topped the US country and pop charts. In 1957, Stapp left WSM to become head of WKDA, a rock station and when Cowan left Tree, Killen was made a partner. In 1964, when Stapp left WKDA to devote all his time to Tree, he made Killen his vice president. In 1975, he became chairman of the Tree Board. A founding member of the Country Music Association, he held top posts in other organizations, including NARAS. He received posthumous acknowledgement for his services to country music by his induction to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1989.

Bob Bell - (1937-2010) was born Bryan Bellar, but when he started his radio broadcasting career at age 19, he changed his name. Eventually he worked his way into television, where he delivered news, weather and sports at WSIX/WNGE(now WKRN)-TV for 25 years. He was a frequent guest and substitute host on Sportsnuts on WSIX/Nashville in the 1980s. For 15 years, Bob hosted a sports radio talk show on WLAC/Nashville, was the play-by-play announcer for pay-per-view television telecasts of Tennessee football games for 15 seasons and for four seasons hosted a post-game scoreboard show on the Vol Network. 

Jim Dick (1920-2011), a native of Calloway County, KY who grew up in Paris, Tenn., moved to Knoxville in 1947 to take a job in radio sales. In December, 1952, the FCC granted him a CP for a daytime only, 1000-watt AM radio station, and Dick Broadcasting was born. He continued to buy and build stations and, at its peak, Dick Broadcasting owned 15 radio stations in Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina, including WIVK/WNOX/WOKI/WXVO/Knoxville and WKDA/WKDF/WGFX/Nashville.

Hugh Jarrett - (1929-2008), a Nashville native, grew-up in a musical family. In his early teens he formed or participated in local barbershop quartets that competed regularly on the programs at Centennial Park. He began his music career in radio with a brief stint in Greeneville, S.C., moving to WTJS/Jackson, where he worked with TNRHOF 2012 Career Inductee Wink Martindale, then WKDA/Nashville and WHIN/Gallatin. It was while at WHIN that he staged his first record hop. He continued to sing with various groups in Nashville and in the early 1950s joined The Jordanaires, then members of the Grand Ole Opry, as their bass singer, touring and recording with various artists, most notably Eddie Arnold and Elvis Presley. He left The Jordanaires about the time Elvis was drafted into the Army.  By 1960 Hugh was back into radio when he joined WLAC/Nashville and the famous nighttime lineup of Herman Grizzard and TNRHOF 2012 Legacy Inductee John “R” Richbourg. While at WLAC he resumed his record hops, but on a much larger scale. The Big Hugh Baby Hops became a major outlet for artists such as Connie Francis, Bo Diddley, Ben E. King and Jimmy Reed to promote their records to crowds of thousands at the National Guard Armory. He continued his radio and singing career in Atlanta and Los Angeles before settling in Atlanta in 1970.

Snooky Lanson - (1914-1990) was born in Memphis and was nicknamed “Snooky” at the age of 2 for the Irving Berlin tune ''Snooky-Ookums.'' He debuted on WSM/Nashville in 1939 as a singer with Francis Craig’s Dance Band. He joined the network radio show “Your Hit Parade” as the replacement for Frank Sinatra and when the program moved to NBC-TV in 1950, Snooky was one of its stars until 1957. he continued his singing and TV career and moved to Nashville in 1967, where over the next two decades he sang at tea dances and similar functions, sold cars and outdoor advertising and hosted big band programs on syndicated radio and WAMB/Nashville. 

The Career Achievement category winners are:

 Teddy Bart - was already an accomplished singer, pianist and songwriter when he arrived in Nashville in the late 1950s and soon began performing nightly in famed Printer’s Alley. In 1960 he began singing on various programs on WSM, eventually teaming up with 2012 Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame Inductee Larry Munson to host an afternoon entertainment show, “This Is WSM.” In 1969 he became host of “The Teddy Bart Show,” WSM’s first call-in talk show. The next year, he added hosting duties for “The Noon Show” on WSM-TV and three years later added hosting duties for WSM-AM’s “The Waking Crew. In 1980, Teddy became an evening news anchor before returning to radio in 1984 with “Teddy Bart’s Roundtable,” which ran on WLAC-AM, WWTN-FM, WKDA-AM and WAMB-AM for a total of 21 years. He also launched “Beyond Reason,” a program “about spirituality and the unknown” on syndicated radio in 1987. It continues today as an internet webcast. Teddy is the author of several books, including “The Mensch,” “The God Particle,” and “The Hooligan.” He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement by the Nashville Broadcaster’s Association in 2003. 

Mike Bohan - wanted to be one of those “behind-the-scenes” guys. He began his broadcasting career while still in high school, assisting future Tennessee Radio Hall of Famer Scott Shannon rock the nighttime audience on Nashville’s number one Top 40 station, 1300/WMAK. Scott nicknamed him “The World Famous Walrus,” and Mike worked closely, but primarily behind-the-scenes, with many radio legends, including Scott Shannon, John Young and a couple of other future Tennessee Radio Hall of Famers, Coyote McCloud and Allen Dennis. In 1975, Ted Johnson offered Mike a chance to work at WSM where he was privileged to work closely with even more legendary broadcasters, including future Tennessee Radio Hall of Famers Ralph Emery, Charlie Chase and Pat Sajak. Mike left his behind-the-scenes radio career in 1981, and became a familiar face to Nashville TV viewers on WSMV-TV where he was the weekend weatherman, movie reviewer and feature reporter. His television career continued for 14 years, until 1995, when WSIX-FM’s Gerry House (yet another Tennessee Radio Hall of Famer) added him to the “House Foundation”. For over fifteen years, Gerry and Mike kept Nashville’s huge morning radio audience in stitches as they trekked in to work and consistently topped the market in the ratings.

Doris Freeman - began her career in the 1930's as a Saturday regular feature radio singer and tap dancer (that's correct - tap dancing on the radio). She created “Cousin Tuny” as a child loving, adult entertaining character that she took to radio, television and live venues, entertaining generations and raising millions of dollars over the decades for organizations such as the West TN Cerebral Palsy Center, the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, the March of Dimes, the United Negro College Fund and more, hosting over 70 telethons all connected with children and education causes. “Tuny” hosted daily and weekly radio shows on WDXI/Jackson, a daily TV children's show in Jackson (1955-1967), sang across West Tennessee as the lead vocalist of the Moonglows Dance Combo (1951-1977) and headed up Cousin Tuny Enterprises, one of Jackson's first advertising agencies. As a single mother of four, she became Jackson's first female radio advertising representative with WDXI in 1948 and was known as a top rep there and later and WTJS and WJAK. She produced and hosted live radio coverage of the Miss Tennessee Pageant for more than 20 years and gave Jackson audiences first hand, behind-the-scenes coverage of the Miss America Pageant live from Atlantic City. She continues fund-raising work today for such causes as the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the  Prevention of Child Abuse, and the March of Dimes. 

Hairl Hensley - Hairl Hensley’s career in radio actually began by accident. Like many boys, Hairl loved music, learned to play the guitar in high school, and joined a band, which landed a weekly gig on WDEH/Sweetwater, where the morning DJ eventually was promoted and unceremoniously handed the broadcasting reins to his musical guests. Hairl’s bandmates voted him to be the replacement DJ because he had the most education. He advanced to WNOX/Knoxville where he hosted the Tennessee Barn Dance and worked with many Country stars, including bluegrass legends Jim and Jesse McReynolds, Don Gibson, and Archie Campbell. Through his network of contacts, Hairl eventually moved to Nashville, first at WKDA, then WMAK. He was PD at WLAC before joining WSM in 1972, playing records, announcing the Grand Ole Opry and becoming PD in the early 80s. In 1975, Hairl was voted the Country Music Association’s top Disc Jockey of the Year and was inducted into the Country Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2000, he received the Golden Voice Awards Radio Personality of the Year, in recognition of his significant role in the preservation of country music’s more traditional heritage. Among the shows he hosted on WSM were “The Early Bird Gets the Bluegrass,” and “The Orange Possum Special,” which led the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America to name him Bluegrass DJ of the Year in 1996. Hairl left his daily duties at WSM but continued as the “Dean of Opry Announcers” and was heard daily on the Sirius Roadhouse Channel until health issues forced his retirement in 2007.

Carl P. Mayfield - began his radio career in 1966 at WYFY FM/Columbia, followed by WGNS/Murfreesboro and WLWM FM/Nashville. WLWM was sold in 1968 to WSM, but by the time the calls were changed to WSM-FM, Carl was serving in the US Army in Vietnam. In 1970, he returned to Tennessee as a fulltime student at MTSU and a part-time announcer at WGNS/Murfreesboro. He was soon hired at WKDA-FM/Nashville, a 20,000 watt mono station that was about to become Nashville’s album rock “100,000 watts of 2- and 4-channel stereo” and later change to WKDF-FM. Over his 20 years there, he and the station were consistent ratings winners and Carl accumulated a trove of National honors. In 1990, he made the jump to Country at WSIX-FM and picked up right where he left off, at the top of the ratings for a decade and the recipient of more national awards and nominations. In 2000, he returned to WKDF (now Country), retiring in 2006 only to be lured onto the satellite airwaves in 2007 on the Road Dawg Channel on Sirius for 2 years. He is the only personality to win both Best National Air Personality Album Rock Radio from Billboard and Best National Country Air Personality from the Academy of Country Music. He hosted “Country’s Most Wanted” on more than 400 stations for Sony Worldwide Networks, nominated 3 times as “Best Nationally Syndicated Show.” 

Buddy Sadler - Buddy Sadler began his radio career in 1965 at the top. Literally. WLAC FM was on the observation deck of the Life and Casualty building, Nashville’s tallest at that time. After three years “playing rock and roll and rip and read news” at WHIN-AM/Gallatin, he returned to Nashville and a full time job in news at WKDA-AM/FM, moving from anchor/reporter to News Director. In 1974, he was off to KIKK/Houston, TX as News Director until returning to Nashville in 1979 as News Director and sidekick to TNRHOF 2013 Legacy Inductee Coyote McCloud at WWKX/Kix104. In 1980, Buddy was offered the overnight shift at WSM-AM and, after six months, moved to daytime reporter covering primarily the legislature and federal court, with some occasional anchoring. Advanced to Assistant News Director and supervised the most recognized and award winning radio news department in the south, including the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Peabody Award and numerous state and national awards. Was retired from WSM/WWTN in 2002 and became Affiliate Relations Director with the Tennessee Radio Network. Today, he is “nearly retired,” doing a one hour shift on Thursday and Friday mornings talking to guests from a local restaurant on WHIN/Gallatin. (His wife says two hours a week is, “retired, not nearly.”)

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