Tommy Lynn Sneed Celebrates 32 Years As General Manager Of WDYN Radio

  • Saturday, April 1, 2023
  • Earl Freudenberg

Chattanooga Broadcaster Tommy Lynn Sneed started in radio in 1971 at WPGD in Soddy Daisy sweeping the floor and taking out the trash. Mr. Sneed said, “A year later owner Bob Mayer decided if I was going to hang around he’d put me on the on the payroll.”

April 1, 2023 marks Mr. Sneed’s 32 anniversary at Christian radio station WDYN, a very important part of his 52 year career.

Mr. Sneed said Mr. Mayer wanted to get into the Chattanooga market so he brokered a deal to swap the Soddy station with Dick broadcasting for WMOC. Mr. Sneed was hired as manager for six years. Mr. Mayer built “Radio Paradise” on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean and he immediately hired Mr. Sneed as his assistant.

Mr. Sneed said, “Going from a 1,000 watt to 50,000 watt radio station was unreal as the they received 800 to 1,000 listener letters a week about the Christian programs. Our coverage was amazing.”

Mr. Sneed remembers, “One of our most popular programs was 15 minutes a day of Chuck Wagon Selections, I’ll Fly Away, Church in the Wildwood, This World is Not My Home and the list is endless; listeners loved it.”

Mr. Sneed said he worked mainly from Chattanooga but traveled to the station several times coordinating with employees. “I sold programs on the station and ordered the parts when technical issues arose, I basically did everything.

“My biggest challenge was in 1989 when category 5 Hurricane Hugo took down our 200 foot tower.”

Mr. Sneed said a consulting engineer helped get the station back on the air with about half the coverage. He said, “Radio Paradise touched thousands of lives and I’m thankful to have been a small part of the opportunity to help get out the Gospel in that part of the world.”

He said, "Mr. Mayer sold Radio Paradise in 1991 leaving me without a job, but the Lord had other plans. I closed out that job on a Friday and started WDYN the following Monday.

“Newly named Tennessee Temple President Dr. Buddy Nichols, who with Brother Jack, started WDYN in 1968, found out I was available and they tapped me to be the new general manager of the 100,000 watt noncommercial station.”

Dr. Nichols said, “Sneed was God’s man for the job just at the time we needed him and he’s proved that time and time again. He’s the glue that holds the station together.”

Mr. Sneed said he took the new job immediately, a job he still holds today. He said it’s been challenging with so many changes over the decades.

When the Nichols brothers convinced Dr. Lee Roberson in the late 60’s the college needed a radio station it was all funded through Highland Park Baptist Church and the school, who held the license. Mr. Sneed said, “When the FCC allowed a non–profit radio station to raise their own support they began two shares-a-thons a year and so far God has met every need, although there have been some lean situations."

Mr. Sneed said his biggest challenge came in 2010 when Tennessee Temple University sold WDYN to the Bible Broadcasting Network out of Charlotte, N.C. “God was looking out for us and although it was lower power, we acquired the AM frequency at 980.

"We’ve added two translators and the FCC has approved increasing the 980 frequency to 2,500 watts.

"Our biggest break came in early 2000 when we started streaming our programs and now anyone with a computer can hear WDYN at anywhere in the world, what an accomplishment.”

Mr. Sneed said WDYN will celebrate its 55 anniversary next month during the May Share-a-Thon and offer a commemerative CD of some of voices broadcast to any person giving a gift of any amount. The CD will include President Reagan’s visit to the campus in 1976 which was heard live over WDYN.

Mr. Sneed said, “We would not have reached this milestone without the prayerful and financial support of our listeners; many say they never turn off the station.”

Mr. Sneed said his wife Cindy has played a very important role in his career. "She was my office manager at both Radio Paradise and WDYN and provided me with the moral support needed during those difficult times. It would have been impossible to do it without her; we did it as a team.”

Mr. Sneed said, "There are so many people I cannot begin to name all of them who worked in the ministry volunteering and helping present the Gospel around the clock. I’ll just say a special thank you to all my friends and supporters.”

At 75, Mr. Sneed has no plans to retire. “I realize in the next 10 years I will have to slow down, God already has a plan.”

Mr. Sneed is a licensed minister but knew very quick God called him to spread the Gospel through radio. “I still get excited when someone shares their salvation experience was by listening to one of our programs on WDYN or a listener tells me just how the station has enriched their Christian experience."

Mr. Sneed recalls, “In the early days, Dr. Lee Roberson would say WDYN is a direction you need and it’s certainly been distinctively different during its 55 years on the air."

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