Saturday, July 22, 2017

Can you ask, via your Ktown radio blog, if anyone knows how to contact either Lisa McNeill, Wendy Miller or Ann Alexander (aka: Stella Shelton)? These three individuals were in Knoxville radio and TV broadcasting back in the early and mid 1970s. 

Lisa was at WRJZ’s news department and then went to UT Hospital as a PR person. We used to give Lisa good-natured kidding about being from the thriving metropolis of Wartburg. Indeed, her father was mayor of that small town for a time. Lisa was a real hustler, and was always eager to cover breaking or "spot news" regardless of the hour. And Knoxville had a lot of “spot news” back then.

Wendy was at WBIR AM-FM Radio for a time. He last came onto my radar screen when I was laboring away in grad school in 1986. I was slammed with dissertation writing when he passed through en route from a job in West Virginia to, I think, a station in Texas.  

Stella Shelton was primarily a TV news reporter. But like everyone at WATE-TV, she also supported WATE Radio's news operation. She was from eastern North Carolina and left Knoxville for, I think, a TV reporting position in Raleigh. Stella was a major contributor to WATE-TV’s news dominance in the 1970s. 

News Director Hal Wanzer recruited a great team of hard-working journalists that included reporters Sally Lay, Jack Isenhour, Millie Bass, Wayne Barry, and Skip Adams, and photographers Jeff Jernigan, Glenn Morgan, and Laura Hicks. Sandy Webb was the Assistant News Director. The team also included a fine group of control room directors and technicians…Ray Rose and Hal Watson kept everyone on their toes with their crisp production management. Sam Brown, Mike Thurman, and Margie Ison were the long-time 6:00P and 11:00P anchors.

I enjoy reading the posts of and by Knoxville radio personalities on your blog. While much of AM and FM radio is “canned" these days, I still run into awesome local radio stations with local personalities and news reporters in my travels in the great American Southwest and western Plains states. There is no way a radio programmer in NYC or LA can fill the needs of listeners in Dodge City, Kansas; Hobbs, New Mexico; or Clarkdale, Arizona. 

Hats off to all who served, and STILL serve, Knoxville and East Tennessee.

Art Miller

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You may want to note the passing of Bickley “Bick” Berney.  He was at WBIR AM-FM-TV in the late 1960s, this before beginning a 30 year Air Force career. I tried to find his KNS obit but ran into the website, which is a mess.