Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Remembering Johnny~

In the mid 60's "Teen Time"...showcasing live bands was on some Friday nights in Lenoir City. I was 13-14 and went to one show SPECIFICALLY to see Johnny. He was larger than life. He was bringing live local bands on a rotating schedule on the same nights...Farragut, then Lenoir City...Clinton...Oak Ridge...Alcoa. He had PA's set up at every location...and came to every location to see and be seen, plus...keep the machine oiled! The bands just walked in... plugged in and let it rock. Little Joe and the Apollos...Donnie and the Lads..."The Hawk". Sweet William and the Sterios...and many more came to us live thanks to Johnny. Obviously, he was making big time cash! A true innovator. Years later...I ended up in Knoxville radio and met Johnny for the 1st time. I had a great relationship with him always. I never actually worked FOR Johnny, but always had a great respect for his forward vision for business. Truly one of a kind. Always a smile and a firm handshake...and kind words. Johnny Pirkle was a true star! (Mike Beach)

I was thinking of Johnny over the weekend...guess now I know why. Johnny and Mike Beverly took me in as an ambitious 16-year-old when WORI was on the air in Oak Ridge and WOKI-FM 100 was being launched. Johnny was a legend in the Knoxville market and a big presence in my life throughout the years. My prayers go out to his family especially Jonathan, Leigh, and Monique who I grew up with in Oak Ridge. (Dave Lambert)

Johnny Pirkle was a giant among Knoxville radio folks. He was my worthy competitor during the time he programmed WNOX and I programmed WKGN and we became friends afterward. Requiescat in Pace John. (Possum Riley)

Johnny got to do the things in life he loved all of his life. He made such an impact on the business and people throughout his career. He's one of the last local owners in the business and he rode the radio wave till the end. He will be missed. Prayers for his family and friends. (Kerry Lambert)

I worked for/with Johnny at WOKI for 12 years. It was an honor...he was incredible. (Jerry Howell)

So sorry to hear of Johnny's death. Great boss, mentor, and friend. (Scott Sams)