TN Radio Hall of Fame
2017 Inductees
  2017 Legendary Station
WHUB Cookeville, TN

On July 20, 1940, WHUB went on the air making Cookeville, TN one of the smallest towns in America to have a radio station. It was the first radio station between Nashville and Knoxville, and the 14th in Tennessee. In 1944, WHUB became a CBS Radio affiliate, being one of the smallest towns in America with a network affiliation. the station played an important role in the growth of Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland area. WHUB provided the region with local news, live coverage of high school and Tennessee Tech sporting events. Station founder Luke Medley was an early member of the National Association of Broadcasters and a founding member of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters. He served as station president for 56 years until the station was sold in 1996. The station is presently owned by Zimmer Broadcasting.


2017 Legacy Category (Posthumous)

 

David Cobb

One of the first three Grand Ole Opry announcers, he adlibbed one day that WSM listeners were hearing music from “Music City USA.” The name stuck. Cobb was a WSM staff announcer from 1937 until 1972. He was the first announcer for Ernest Tubb’s Midnight Jamboree, and voiced a number of NBC network shows for WSM. His career included community theatre and roles in several Hollywood films. His distinctive voice and larger-than-life on-air presence bridged the gap between different genres of music. A veteran of World War II, Cobb served in the Navy during the battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima. A very intellectual person, Cobb was remembered following his death in 1988 with these words: “When a light of reason goes out, one feels diminished, and the loss of David leaves a void.”

   

Harold R. Krelstein

Krelstein, Chairman of Plough Broadcasting of Memphis, came to the Bluff City in 1939. He became Vice-President of the station in 1943, and continued in that position when Plough purchased WMPS in 1944. Under his leadership, Plough expanded into multiple markets, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago and Tampa. WMPS became one of the first 24-hour top 40 stations in 1955. Krelstein is credited for putting the first major market full-time country station on the air at WJJD in Chicago in 1965. Additionally, he served the industry as Chairman of the Radio Board for NAB and received the group’s Distinguished Service Award in 1977. He was also instrumental in Benjamin Hooks’ appointment as the first African-American FCC Commissioner.


Louis King 

An engineer of extraordinary talent, Louis King taught Electrical Engineering at Clemson before becoming a broadcast transmitter design engineer at RCA from 1945 and 1949. While there, he was issued five patents. King held Professional Engineer licenses in both Tennessee and Virginia, and in 1949, founded Kintronic Laboratories, a corporation respected worldwide for providing top quality analog and digital AM/Medium Wave broadcast transmission facilities designed for power levels up to and in excess of 1-million watts. He served as president of the firm until 1983, and Chairman of the Board until 2004. In 2008, he was honored with the NAB’s Radio Engineering Achievement Award for his many contributions to broadcast technology.


 

 

John Alexander “Bad Dog” McCormack

A native of Memphis, McCormack was studying journalism at Memphis State when he started an acting career that took him to Hollywood. While working at The Comedy Store, he developed a Muhammad Ali imitation that got him invited to the legendary boxer’s home. He returned to Memphis in 1984, and acting opened the door to radio in 1988 with the “Wake Up Crew” (McCormack, Tim Spencer and Bev Hart) on Rock 103. He was an instant success, and fans voted him the Memphis Flyer’s “Best of Memphis” radio personality for more than 20 years. His work with the Ronald McDonald House at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital raised millions of dollars. After becoming seriously ill himself, he continued to work, doing his show from home. His many charity efforts continue to impact the community.


       


Don Spain 

WKRM in Columbia was where Spain began his broadcast career in 1957. Except for two years in the U. S. Army, he was an announcer, Program Director and News Director until 1966, when he joined WSM-TV in Nashville. From 1968-1972 , he was Director of Public Relations for the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Department of Safety. He then returned to WSM-TV as Assistant News Director until 1975. Spain then founded the Tennessee News Service, which led to the creation of the Tennessee Radio Network and state radio networks in Kentucky and South Carolina. Capitol Media Services, which he started in 1980, provided TV satellite feeds around the world. He is also remembered for his weekly legislative reports, first on radio and later on TV, that brought news of the General Assembly to people across the state.


           

2017 Career Inductees (Living)


Gary Beaty

Best known for his 24 years at WSM-AM/FM in Nashville, Beaty started his career at WCLC in his native Jamestown. He also worked at WBIR and WKGN in Knoxville, as well as WGNS and WMTS in Murfreesboro, WBSR in Pensacola, Florida and WAAY in Huntsville, Alabama. He was co-host of Video PM on TNN, as well as the fill-in host for Nashville Now. His voice has been heard nationally as announcer for The Academy of Country Music Awards, The Dove Awards, The TNN-Music City News Awards and The CMA Awards. He was a founding member of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame and is the group’s immediate past-president.


Dave Brown

A native of Trenton, Brown started his career at WKBJ in Milan, and also worked at WIRJ in Humboldt and WHBQ in Memphis before becoming co-host of Studio Wrestling at WHBQ-TV for 25 years. It’s still popular on YouTube. He hosted the Dialing for Dollars Movie, was a staff announcer and audio engineer and was audio engineer on the first-ever Bill Dance Fishing Show. He became a weathercaster in 1973, and for 37 years, was Chief Meteorologist for WMC-TV5. Brown is also well-known for his dedicated work as an advocate against drunk driving, which began following the loss of three members of his family in an alcohol-related crash in 1997.


Elinor “Lin” Folk

A veteran of World War II, Folk enlisted in the WAVES, and was one of the first female soldiers to serve at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. After the war, she became a children's storyteller for the Nashville Public Library, and appeared in that role on WPLN in Nashville the day it went on the air: December 17, 1962. She continued at the station as host, storyteller, producer, interviewer and narrator, and was named FM Broadcaster of the Year by American Women in Radio and Television in 1972. She later produced hundreds 5-minute vignettes of Tennessee Kaleidoscope, a state-wide syndicated radio feature, and served as both producer and host. She also worked in volunteer positions to serve Nashville.  Says Folk: “I was happily telling stories on the radio when Alvin Bolt, WPLN’s station manager, came to me and said, 'Lin, I don’t want to hear any more stories out of you --- MOVE ON, move on ---' and so I moved on.  I learned all I could about all the facets of broadcasting by actually doing it. I learned interviewing, questioning, narrating, editing and all that went with it: like putting tape together backwards, losing valuable sections of tape and, most embarrassingly, playing the side of the reel that had the out-takes instead of the good takes.  All of that was hard but the best way to learn. Many of my features were used by Voice of America in European countries and by Vanderbilt and its department of War and Society on a regular basis and later by NPR after it became a broadcaster. On the side, I did storytelling workshops in Chicago and Washington D.C.”



     

Eddie Fritts

This Union City native is best known for his 24 years of service to broadcasters as President of the National Association of Broadcasters. Fritts began his career at WENK in Union City as a disc jockey and salesman. He later founded the Fritts Broadcasting Group with the purchase of WNLA in Indianola, Mississippi. The group grew to include four more AMs and five FMs in four states. Fritts was the 2011 recipient of the highest honor in broadcasting, NAB’s Distinguished Service Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America presented him with the 2016 Excellence in Broadcasting Award this year. He has received numerous other accolades for his service.

 

Herb Howard

Howard’s first job in radio was as an announcer at WJHL in his hometown of Johnson City. By the time he was a college senior, he was full-time manager of the station. But it was only the start. After earning his B.S. and M.S., he became a faculty member at the University of Tennessee in 1959. Over the next 40 years, as the school grew, he is estimated to have taught 6,000 undergrad students, 900 masters degree students and 250 doctoral students. He also was recognized countless times for his work. But the greatest testament to his career are his students, who now work in colleges, newsrooms and other broadcast positions all over the world.



Jim Reynolds

Since 1980, Jim Reynolds has worked at WGOW in Chattanooga. He is the voice of University of Tennessee/Chattanooga athletics, broadcasting both home and road games for the school. Estimates indicate he has broadcast almost 400 football games for the school, and more than 1,100 basketball games. Reynolds is a member of the UTC Hall of Fame and the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame. Additionally, for almost 30 years, he has donated his time and talents to announcing the Area 4 Special Olympics Track & Field Meet held each May.









Copyright: The Tennessee Radio Hall Of Fame.  Founded by John Long.  Organized by Lee Dorman.

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