August/September 2013

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Small market radio is ART!  It's a reflection of its community.... and its people reflect the content.  For can hear all about your neighbors when you tune in to WJLE AM/FM in Smithville.  Along with hit country music and Southern Gospel, you'll hear neighbors buying, selling and trading household items with each other on the air, farm news, county government meetings aired live, obituaries and even a show about wedding anniversaries in the surrounding area. WJLE is a perfect mirror of their customers and even offer live streaming off their website.  Now, that's a station that really gives the listeners what they want!  Their motto:  You Tell Us and We'll Tell Thousands!


by Skip Woolwine 

In "A Christmas Story", Ralphie utters the Queen Mother of all dirty words: 
  " 'Fu-u-u-udge.'  Only I didn't say 'Fudge' "
This was my very first time on the air... 1973. I was 15 and loved music.
I earned my FCC 3rd Class license (with Broadcast Endorsement, of course!), and as Summer Semester of 1973 began, I was given my big break: Midnight to 2am on a MONDAY morning on Vanderbilt's 91.1-FM WRVU.  For my first 20 minutes, I was so nervous, I didn't say anything,. Then the hotline rang. It was student PD Don Benson saying,"You can't keep segueing records all night, you have to say SOMETHING. Don't be afraid, I know you can do it."  After a couple of shaky voice breaks, I decided to get adventurous and do the weather over the intro of a song. After all, I had seen Benson do it dozens of times, I could handle it, right?  So I cued up a 45 RPM of "I Got A Line On You" by Spirit. The music director's stick-on label said "Intro :06".  My problem was not realizing that you can't read a weather forecast over a 6-second intro.  So I totally blew it, stepping all over the vocal.  I was so horrified at the radio sin I had just committed. (RADIO RULE ONE: Never talk past the beginning of the vocal!) Slowly in shame, I removed my Koss Red Devil headphones and laid them down on the console.  "Well, F@*% !!!"  I yelled at myself. As I did, the VU meter pegged the right-hand side of the glass. "Why are the speakers off?" I thought... I looked down and my heart sank: The mike switch was still on, the pot was up, and soon the FCC would be at my door, the hotline would ring, and my career in radio would end the same night it started.  But nothing happened. Nothing.  Nobody heard it. Not Don Benson.  Not my proud parents at home.  Something positive about having only 10 watts at 1:00am on a Monday morning, I guess. But a huge lesson.  Huge, HUGE lesson. (Author's note: WRVU-FM PD Don Benson, a Vanderbilt senior, at that time was also a part-timer working under Scott Shannon at Nashville's WMAK. Today Benson heads the Lincoln Financial Media radio group with stations in Atlanta, Miami, Denver, and San Diego)


I've always hated know, the tiny ones with wires that are always getting tangled and plastic earpieces that pop out of my ears everytime I breathe. Maybe it's because I grew up wearing huge AKG's that covered my entire ear and half my brain, but the sound was always SO BIG! Well, I didn't want to shell out $200 for some Beats these days, so I bought a pair of $30 earbud Zipop's that actually "zip up" for comfort and convenience... and the sound is so big for these little guys.  They even have some noise canceling feature to them which helps while traveling.   If you can't find this brand, there are knock-offs everywhere, but thought I'd share a cool little radio geek find with you!  (~Cathy)


Benny R. Williams was like most of us. He loved life and the country music he played on the radio. In the small Kentucky town of Tompkinsville, Benny got his first job on the radio at 19. From his hometown, the next stop was WHIN AM in Gallatin, TN  where I worked with him in 1966. About once a week, a young Tammy Wynette came to the station in her mini skirt, tight sweaters and white boots (guys remember things like that).  Jimmy Martin, Vernon Oxford and Jim and Jesse McReynolds also were around a lot. Benny was one of the boys and would play their music. I lost touch with Benny and later learned he was writing music and had songs recorded by Jim and Jesse, the Carter Family and even Frank Sinatra, Jr. He also promoted records for a gospel record company. 

Benny died last December in an assisted living home. No one claimed the body, and he was laid to rest in January in a pauper’s cemetery.  Among his possessions were pictures of him with Bill Hailey and Bo Diddley.  

For all of us in it for the fun of radio….there is an end…and we need to be prepared. For all the fun Benny had…. I hear his last royalty check was for a penny.


-Buddy Sadler



At press time, we've learned that TN Radio HOF Advisory Board member Charlie Scott is under the weather. Charlie's robust, multi-decade career includes Nashville stations WSIX, WLAC, WMAK, WKDA, WENO, and WKRN-TV2 Nashville.  Get Well, Charlie!


John Young brought this to our attention about record man Al Coury:


Nick Archer continues doing a fantastic job overseeing our Facebook page by posting audio, stories, and photos from the 1920s to the present on The Official Radio Hall of Fame Community page and on The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame YouTube Channel (lots of airchecks).  It's a great way to keep up with your current and former co-workers.  Check it out at:

The Official Tennessee Radio Hall Of Fame Community


Want to make a difference? Join a committee:

Click here to see committee descriptions.


Upcoming joint meetings of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board will be
September 14th, November 16th, and December 14th.


If you currently work for a radio station, or have some influence in asking a station to air Public Service Announcements, our new PSAs need your push to get them on the air before August wraps up. T
he purpose of these PSAs is 3-fold:

1. To create awareness for the TN Radio HOF.
2. To encourage people to join the TN Radio HOF now.
3. To encourage members to nominate a qualified, living individual before the deadline August 31st.

There are 2 PSAs voiced by John Young, and if you would please air both in a 50-50 rotation using as many avails as you can spare, the TN Radio Hall of Fame would greatly appreciate it.  Here's the download page. Thanks! 

                       LAST CALL

The nomination period for the Hall Of Fame Class of 2014 is now open until 12:00 Midnight (CDT) August 31. All current Full Members are eligible to nominate living radio professionals who are from the State of Tennessee, or who have worked in the State of Tennessee, and who have made substantial contributions to the radio industry and the communities they served to the Career category. Members of the Board and Advisory Board will nominate deceased radio professionals to the Legacy Category and will also select the Legendary Station for 2014.

This year, we have a brand spanking new website to help ease the nomination process. Visit to see info on the Inductee Classes of 2012 and 2013. Then, ask yourself: "Who do I know who truly belongs in this elite company?"


Remember, if you would like to nominate someone for induction, you must first be a Full Member of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame AND you must be current with your dues.

First, update your membership for the year ending June 30, 2014 using Paypal there on the site. Just login using your email address, and if it's your first time, get a fresh password. Go to Member Profile and add any missing information, then pay. 

If you have not previously been a member of the Hall Of Fame, you'll find the info you need under the "Join" tab.

Then, you'll have access to the nomination form and instructions under the "Members" tab and you can submit your nominee right there on the site.

2013 and 2012 Career Nominees who were not elected will continue to be nominated for induction in 2014. They include: Bob Anderson, Bill Brittain, Doris Freeman, Eddie Fritts, Leon Griffin, Van Irwin, Jr., Ken Marston, Glenn McNish, Don Paris, Bill Poindexter, Ed Perkins and Randy Swaffer.

If you have any questions about the nomination/election process, please feel free to contact us by email at


I have a degree in advertising from what was considered a prestigious program at The University of Illinois. Early on, I had copywriter jobs at an advertising agency and a couple of television stations. But it was the mentorship I found at WSM Radio that turned me into a radio person and gave me a lifelong career. Tom Bryant, Kyle Cantrell, Charlie Douglas, Bruce Sherman, Bennie Shipley, and so many others taught me directly and by example how to write, produce and edit audio for a radio audience. I have been working on nationally syndicated radio programs for 20 years now, and I owe it all to the education I received at WSM. I don't have a diploma from there, but it truly was the best school I ever attended.

-- Jennifer Anderson

Editor: Cathy Martindale   
Newsletter staff:
Buddy Sadler
Melissa McDonald
Skip Woolwine

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