Chattanooga bids a sad farewell to our best friend
For the first time in 74 years, Chattanoogans will not be able to turn on their radios or televisions and be entertained, informed and comforted by the friendliest voice on the airwaves. The passing of Luther Masingill at the age of 92 this past Sunday night has left an unfillable hole in the hearts of generations.
Starting on New Year’s Eve in 1940, Luther was a mainstay on WDEF radio (with the exception of his time spent as a reporter during World War II). And when television came to the city in 1954, Luther was there to sign on WDEF-TV 12.
The word “legend” is thrown around a lot these days, largely misused. Not in the case of Luther. No one has ever worked as long as he did for the same radio station (and in the same time slot, at that) as he did. The format of the station has changed many times over the years. AM dominance gave way to the FM band, and it has physically moved and been remodeled many times since 1940. But Luther was there through it all.
He reported on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy, Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, and the attack of 9/11. In between, he helped reunite thousands upon thousands of lost pets with their worried owners. It may seem quaint, it may seem old-fashioned, but Luther never lost touch with the personal connection that made his friends and listeners love him so much.
There will never be another like him. And we are all richer for having known him.
— Gary Poole