Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame Inducts Inaugural Class

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• May 8, 2012

The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction ceremony took place Sat., May 5 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Murfreesboro. 

The inductees included:
Career category
Ralph Emery—longtime WSM announcer and Grand Ole Opry host
John Ward—the “Voice of the Vols” announcer for University of Tennessee football and basketball
Gerry House—morning personality on WSIX/Nashville for over two decades
Wink Martindale—former Memphis radio personality and television game show host
Scott Shannon—night personality at WMAK/Nashville, other stations across the country and the ABC radio network
Luther Massingill—top-rated morning host at WDEF radio for 71 years

Legacy category (deceased)
Bill “Hoss” Allen—longtime air personality and popular nighttime rhythm and blues deejay at WLAC in Nashville
John “Jack” DeWitt—beginning at 16 years old, built Nashville’s first three radio stations in the 1920s, including WSM
Larry Munson—Sports Director of WSM radio and television and the voice of the Vanderbilt Commodores football and basketball
Lindsay Nelson—play-by-play for the UT Volunteers from 1948-1952 before moving on to national fame with CBS Radio
John Richbourg—known as “John R,” worked alongside Hoss Allen at WLAC as one of their popular R & B announcers at night
Grant Turner—staff announcer at WSM for more than 40 years, and a popular Grand Ole Opry announcer

Legendary Station of the Year: WSM
WSM signed on in 1925 and its iconic Grand Ole Opry program, back then called WSM Barn Dance, is the longest running radio program in history. Among its alumni are former hosts Ralph Emery, Pat Sajak, Larry Munson, Grant Turner, Teddy Bart, and Keith Bilbrey.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Bill Barry
William O. Barry pursued his love for radio while a student at Vanderbilt University, attempting to secure a “local” AM channel for Lebanon and working on-air at WGNS/Murfreesboro. In 1957, he and Will C. Baird purchased WSOK-FM/Nashville (105.9 mhz.) from Cal Young, changing the calls to WFMB. In 1965, they sold WFMB to the Life and Casualty Insurance Company, who switched the calls to WLAC-FM. He was a leader and innovator in engineering and promotion, pushing the FCC to adopt the FM channel allocation plan that opened the new band to broadcasters across the region. Bill played a key role in starting WPLN-FM and he started, owned or grew other Nashville area stations including WAMB, WMAK and WZEZ.

Charlie Chase honored WSM. (L-R) on air personality Cathy Martindale, WSM-AM General Manager Tom English, and Charlie Chase

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Sarah Skates is Sr. News Editor of MusicRow Enterprises. Now in her tenth year with the company, she contributes to musicrow.com and the print magazine. She welcomes your inquiries to sskates@musicrow.com. Please send press releases, photos, and news items to news@musicrow.com.

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