These are the types of posts that are bitter-sweet to write. While the gem at the heart of this post was continually invited into our homes and vehicles via radio, it is now hard to close a long wonderful chapter of music and broadcasting history.
WSM broadcaster and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs has announced his retirement. Most of you, like me, have heard him far more than see him. (Only once did I see Stubbs when sitting in the audience of the longest-running radio show in America.)
Stubbs began hosting WSM in 1996 and worked his way into becoming the longest-serving broadcaster in the 7 p.m. to midnight slot in WSM’s 95 years of operation. I need to state that working in broadcasting is not easy. When it sounds relaxing and conversational that means the announcer is a top-notch professional. Such as with Stubbs.
I mentioned this radio icon in my book Walking Up The Ramp for being a gentleman at the time my parents and I attended the Grand Ole Opry. Mom and Dad were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and from the world-famous stage he announced that a couple from Hancock, Wisconsin was in the Opry House. I had spoken to him personally that morning to make the arrangements. I had a nice, if short chat, with the man who I had long admired. Told him that, too. The entire crowd applauded the milestone of my parents, which was also aired live throughout the WSM listening public that evening.
Listening to Stubbs on AM 650 meant that there was the information to be learned about classic country music, as he is nothing short of a walking encyclopedia on the stars who sang from the Ryman and made records that still resonate with a large swath of the nation.
It was the pleasure of so many to have tuned into the ‘Air Castle of the South’ over the many years and found a familiar voice. One they never needed to wonder if his professionalism would ever slip, or something come over the airwaves that they would not want to be uttered in their home. Stubbs was not only a broadcaster of the best kind but also a gentleman.
Not a bad way to sum up a person. Not bad at all. He will be missed on the airwaves.
Stubbs, is of course, far more than just the voice we all recognize when hearing it over the airwaves. As they say in the South, “That boy can fiddle!”