Country Music Hall of Fame member and legendary radio star Ralph Emery
passed away today (Jan. 15). He was 88.
Emery was an original taste-maker for country music.
He was born on March 10, 1933, in McEwen, Tennessee, and began his career
at small-market radio stations in Tennessee before going on to become the
most renowned TV and radio personality in country music.
Emery gained national fame while hosting the syndicated television music series,
Pop! Goes the Country, from 1974 to 1980 and the nightly Nashville
Network television program, Nashville Now, from 1983 to 1993.
Emery also hosted Ralph Emery Live on RFD-TV every week from 2007 to 2015.
He was lovingly dubbed “the Dick Clark of country music” and “the Johnny Carson of cable
television.” Emery was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 1989,
Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2010.
Emery is survived by his wife, Joy Emery, his three sons, five grandchildren
and seven great-grandchildren. Memorial arrangements have not yet been announced.
“Ralph Emery’s impact in expanding country music’s audience is incalculable,”
comments Kyle Young, CEO, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “On radio and on television,
he allowed fans to get to know the people behind the songs. Ralph was more a
grand conversationalist than a calculated interviewer, and it was
his conversations that revealed the humor and humanity of Tom T. Hall,
Barbara Mandrell, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins and many more. Above all,
he believed in music and in the people who make it.”
“Ralph Emery was often better known than the stars he introduced to larger and
larger audiences over the years as Country Music’s foremost ambassador. Our format
had no better voice over the years than Ralph, who treated Country Music and its stars –
many of whom went on to become his friend – with the kind of dignity and respect they
deserved for decades. As a Country Music Hall of Famer, he will be remembered among
so many of the artists he supported throughout his career. On a personal note,
I worked with Ralph for many years, and I always looked forward to his lively
stories when we sat down for lunch. My thoughts are with his family today,” comments
Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association CEO.
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