Staff photo by Matt Fields-Johnson/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Luther Masingill, 88, of Sunny 92.3 Radio, is being honored for his 68 years on the air with the 2010 Senior Leadership Award.
The honors keep piling up for radio icon Luther Masingill.
On Friday, Garden Plaza of Greenbriar Cover presented him with their first Chattanooga Senior Leadership Award for his years of service.
The 88-year-old Mr. Masingill is also on the ballot for entry in the Radio Hall of Fame in the Local or Regional Active category.
"It's very flattering and a boost to your ego," Mr. Masingill said after working his shift at WDEF-FM 92.3. "On those occasions when you wonder why you still do this, awards like this are a nice boost."
Mr. Masingill has been on the air since 1941, and he has worked at the same station his entire career.
The Garden Plaza award was presented to Mr. Masingill by Mike Kelly, sales director at the Collegedale retirement center. It is presented in conjunction with the Arthritis Foundation of East Tennessee.
"We are a new facility and we want to honor seniors who have contributed so much," he said. "Choosing Luther was a no brainer for, and for the Arthritis Foundation as well."
For David Carroll, putting Mr. Masingill into the Radio Hall of Fame would seem to be an even easier decision.
"He has been nominated before, but he is up against people on cable or in larger markets," Mr. Carroll said. "He is the longest running broadcaster in the history of the world. It's time he gets in. It boggles the mind that he is not already in there."
James Howard has worked with Luther at WDEF for 17 years. His first brush with him came the same way it has for hundreds of Chattanoogans.
"He helped me find my dog," Mr. Howard said. "I was 8 or 9."
"I can't believe I get to work with him. I pick his brain every day about the old days of radio."
Vote for Luther
You can vote to put Luther Masingill into the Radio Hall of Fame by registering and voting on the site at www.radiohof.org. Others in the Local or Regional - Active category are Leslie Fram, Terri Hemmert and Ronn Owens.
Career at a glance
* Luther signed on at WDEF-AM in 1941. He was 19.
* He announced to Chattanooga listeners that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.
* He also was on the air the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and announced the World Trade Center attacks.
* During the peak of his career in the '50s and '60s, he routinely drew 60-70 percent audience ratings.
* He has been on local TV since 1954.
* From 1947 to 2001, he never called in sick.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...