L.A, 2022-01-17 09:30:55. Ralph Emery, famous country music broadcaster, dies at 88
Nashville, Tenn. Ralph Emery, who became known as the dean of country music broadcasters for more than half a century on radio and television, died Saturday, his family said. He was 88 years old.
Emery passed away peacefully of natural causes, surrounded by family, at Tristar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, his son Michael told The Associated Press. He was taken to the hospital for a week.
Beginning his career in small radio stations and then moving to television as well, Emery is perhaps best known for his work on the Nashville Network Channel. From 1983 to 1993, he was the host of the channel’s live variety talk show “Nashville Now”, earning the nickname “Johnny Carson of Cable Television” for his interviewing style. From 2007 to 2015, Emery hosted a weekly show on RFD-TV, a satellite and cable television channel.
He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
“Ralph Emery’s impact in expanding the country’s music audience is immeasurable,” Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a statement Saturday. “On radio and television, it allowed fans to learn about the people behind the songs. Ralph was more of a great talker than a calculated communicator, and it was his conversations that revealed the humor and humanity of Tom T. Hall, Barbara Mandrell, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins and others. And above Everything, he believed in music and in the people who make it.”
Born on March 10, 1933 in McQueen, Tennessee, Emery attended broadcasting school in Nashville and landed his first radio job at WTPR in Paris, Tennessee. He later worked on radio stations in Louisiana and the Nashville area before signing in 1957 to WSM in Nashville, the station that carries the Grand Ole Opry, until 1972.
His autobiography, “Memories,” was released in 1991, followed by “More Memories” in 1993 and “The View From Nashville: On the Record with Country Music’s Great Stars” in 1998.
Emery hosted “Pop Goes the Country,” a syndicated television show, from 1974 until 1980. From 1981 to 1983, he hosted “Nashville Alive” on cable station WTBS.
On the variety talk show “Nashville Now,” Emery sat at his desk, interviewing country music stars and others, just as Carson spoke with celebrities on NBC’s “Tonight.”
Emery also briefly had his recording career in the early 1960s. He admitted in a 1990 interview: “I’m not a singer and that was one of the main problems.”
“Ralph loved his family, friends and fans,” the family statement said, adding that Emery left behind his wife, Joey Emery, three children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were pending.
Emery’s death was first reported by The Tennessean.
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