The “Station to Station” blog would like to offer the heartiest and happiest of birthdays to Luther Masingill, the Chattanooga broadcasting icon who turns 90 tomorrow.
Luther is working, of course, on his birthday–WDEF radio in the morn, then presenting the day’s “Community Calendar” for WDEF TV, then pitching in with the noon news.
In between, there’s “A Conversation With Luther” at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga., at 10 a.m.
Luther has been on WDEF radio since 1940. 1940!
He started on television in 1954.
On the WDEF TV site, amidst the rest of the station talent, he is identified as, simply, “Luther.” The man needs no surname.
Here’s a bit from the site about Masingill’s start in broadcasting.
Luther was first “discovered” in 1940 while working at a gas station in Chattanooga. Joe Engel, then owner of WDEF Radio Station, talked Luther into trying out for the telephone receptionist job. When Luther came in and everyone heard his deep, mellow voice, he was promptly ushered into the studio where he was asked to make a demo tape. He was hired immediately as an announcer and signed on the air New Years Eve 1940. The rest is history.
“I enjoy working. I enjoy doing both [TV and radio],” he says.
Luther says he has no plans to retire any time soon.
“My health is good, thank the Lord. I’ll stick with it as long as my voice holds up,” he says. “If I notice that I’m starting to fail on air, I’ll hang it up.”
Here’s hoping that never happens.