20 January 2022

Ralph Emery, 1933-2022

Another great figure of the past has gone: Ralph Emery, once voted country music radio's 'greatest personality of the century', died last Saturday (15 Jan.), just under two months short of his eighty-ninth birthday. Born in west central Tennessee, he began radio work while still in his teens, having (as he said) worked hard to 'rid my speech of its horrid regionalism', went full-time in 1953, and was an announcer on the Grand Ole Opry in the 1960s. The obituary by Richard Thompson on Bluegrass Today lists milestones of his career at the summit of country music broadcasting, and includes nine videos of bluegrass stars whom he warmly welcomed on to his TV show (in one from the 1980s, Jerry Douglas mentions that he and Béla Fleck had recently returned from Ireland). The Washington Post obituary can be read here.

© Richard Hawkins



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