Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Saluting Radio Veteran Mr. Henry Nelson


In the very beginning sometime around his Junior year in high school longtime radio veteran Henry Nelson once asked himself, "Since I have to work, what kind of job would I do if making money was not my primary consideration?" And radio was definitely my answer. Pictured above during those early days in broadcasting Nelson is now a veteran of 50 years in radio.

Starting out radio has always sparked his early imagination. That flame remains burning today through his experience and memory of sports announcer Jack Buck calling the St. Louis Cardinals baseball games. Buck painted a picture of the game, the players, the fragrance of food in the stands, excited baseball fans and the grand experience of entertaining. While listening to radio in his hometown of West Memphis, AR Nelson also surfed the radio dials from long distances of WLS Radio in Chicago all the way to Wolfman Jack broadcasting from Del Rio, Texas. From there, inspiration was just at a beginning. 

Nelson's first radio gig was in 1972 while volunteering at WLYX Radio at a 10 watt college station located on the campus of Southwestern University (now Rhodes College) where he hosted a blues radio show called Blues on the Bluff. From there he was hired in 1974 at WMC FM-100 in Memphis where the clear channel of Stereo radio boomed throughout the Mid-South. There he would work with the influential DJ voices of Ron Micheals, Greg Siggers, Mike Powell, and David Day (Gingold).In the late 1970's Henry Nelson joined Memphian and GM Lee Armstrong at WNOE in New Orleans where he gained notoriety while working in the Crescent City. From there Nelson would shift to WYLD Radio in New Orleans till 1981. 

He returned to Memphis after that and taught school part-time as a broadcast orientation instructor at The Voice of Memphis City School system. Next, Nelson soon landed at WZXR, Rock 103 a landmark station for Memphis radio. But it all came full-circle when he was hired back at FM-100 Radio doing the evening shift while also working part-time as TV Weatherman under one of his childhood hero's, David Brown. There Nelson also became the music director at FM-100 when Steve Conley became the Program Director.

In 1998 David Gingold called Henry and asked if he would help start-up Soul Classics 103.5 WRBO, Memphis. That was the grand beginning for a fabulous ride while working with Gingold and longtime associate Tony Yoken. There they were partner in raising funds and development of the STAX Music Academy and Museum of American Soul Music and gathering support and funds for the startup Memphis Grizzlies. In addition, Nelson and Gingold came-up with the novel idea and negotiated the Isaac Hayes show and details within. 

Henry Nelson appearing here in 2016 at at the Western Washington residence of retired record executive, book author and photographer Phillip Rauls while holding a coveted STAX Records Basketball Jersey.

In 2015 thru 2017 Nelson did similar work and became Strategic Partnership Director for the Overton Park Shell with a larger footprint on community influence as an assistant to the director of libraries. One of his reasons for releasing his love of radio that is mostly presented having an authentic connection to the community and it's audience. There Nelson started the 5 Fridays of Jazz Series there at the Overton Park Shell. Wow! What a ride. 

Here's saluting to a authentic radio veteran, Mr. Henry Nelson!  




Blogger Robert Gordon said...

Henry has done great work around Memphis through radio and musical institutions. Great to see him getting some love. Thanks Phillip!

11:43 AM  

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