Ralph Emery

Past DJ Hall of Fame Inductees
1989

 

Ralph Emery (Born McEwen TN), became the dominant disc jockey in country music in the late twentieth century. After graduating high school, Emery enrolled in the Tennessee School of Broadcasting, where he took classes with legendary WLAC radio star John Richbourg. WTPR in Paris, TN, hired Emery in 1951 at the recommendation of Richbourg. After stops at WNAH in Nashville TN and WAGG in Franklin TN, Emery joined WSIX in Nashville, where he had a successful country music radio show WSIX Nashville TN a. After working briefly at a Baton Rouge station, he returned for a new position at Nashville's WMAK radio. Emery's career break came in 1957 when powerful WSM radio in Nashville hired him to do the late-night Opry Star Spotlight show. Within months, Emery made the show successful and turned it into an important vehicle for aspiring artists. WSM was the base of Emery's career and reputation for the next twenty-plus years. The 1960s and 1970s witnessed Emery's height as a country music disc jockey. He began as an announcer on the Grand Ole Opry in 1961; he launched a successful morning television program on sister station WSM-TV (later WSMV); he had a memorable live radio program with western movie star Tex Ritter; and he established popular radio and television syndication programs. In 1982 WSM established The Nashville Network, a national cable channel devoted to country music. Emery naturally was one of the broadcasting stars and his nightly interview and performance program, Nashville Now, made Emery famous across the nation. It ran on the network from 1983 to 1993. Ralph Emery was inducted into the Country Music D J Hall of Fame in 1989. He has written four books on Country music, including the New York Times bestseller "Memories; The Autobiography of Ralph Emery".