published Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Luther Masingill gets his day in Chicago

Luther Masingill
Luther Masingill
Photo by Matt Fields-Johnson /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

TO LISTEN

The induction ceremony will be broadcast in Chattanooga by WGOW-AM 1150 beginning at 9 p.m. A video version will be available online at noon Monday at Museum.TV.com.

Two things seem to be on people's minds when it comes to Luther Masingill being inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame tonight: It's about time, and how will he and fellow inductee Howard Stern get along.

Masingill, 90, said several people have asked him what he expects from Stern.

"There is no telling what he'll say to me," Masingill said. "I'm sure I will think of something, and it will be complimentary. I don't want him mad at me.

"I'm looking forward to meeting all of them," he continued. "Some of them I understand went through some hard times in their careers. I never did. I've enjoyed every day working here."

That's a lot of days, and Masingill's 71-plus-year run at WDEF radio is remarkable for many reasons.

"He is the world's longest-running broadcaster," said Chip Chapman, WDEF-TV 12 anchor and Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame board member.

Chapman is attending the ceremony in Chicago tonight in both capacities and as a longtime friend and colleague of Masingill's.

"He has done something no other broadcaster has ever done. He has been at the same station on the same shift in the same market. Same everything, for more than 70 years."

Masingill and Stern will be inducted tonight along with Gary Burbank, Ron Chapman, Jack L. Cooper, Terry Gross and Art Laboe.

Masingill left town Friday for tonight's event and is traveling with his wife, Mary. He will be joined by fellow local broadcasters James Howard and David Carroll, in addition to Chapman.

"I am looking forward to it," Masingill said Thursday. "This is something that happens to me once in a lifetime, I guess."

The honor is one in a series that has been bestowed on the veteran TV and radio personality. He began his radio career at WDEF on New Year's Eve in 1940 and, except for a two-year military stint during World War II (when he was still employed by WDEF), he has been on the air there ever since.

He was inducted into the inaugural class of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame earlier this year and had a portion of Broad Street renamed for him last year. "CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley" did a feature on him in July.

"Well, all this kind of scares me. At my age, I think, 'Crap, do people know something I don't,' but I saw my doctor, and he said everything looks fine," Masingill said.

Carroll, along with some others, lobbied hard over the years to get the national hall to recognize Masingill.

"It was years," Carroll said. "As soon as I knew there was a national hall, about 10 years ago, I guess, I started working on it. He was nominated numerous times, but it's a national vote, and he was always up against people from New York or Chicago, and he didn't have a chance."

Carroll said he and others worked on convincing the nominating committee to do something "out of the box that would get him out of this impossible voting process."

So this year "the committee itself named this year's winners," he said.

about Barry Courter...

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 ...

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