Ralph Emery: Country music DJ and broadcasting legend dies aged 88

The Country music broadcasting legend Ralph Emery has passed away at the age of 88

Ralph Emery, the famous American TV host, and country music radio DJ, passed away on Saturday, January 15, aged 88. Emery’s passing was confirmed to The Associated Press by his son Michael. He reportedly died peacefully, of natural causes, at the Tristar Centennial Medical Centre in Nashville, after spending the last week in the hospital facility.

In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Emery was a celebrated County Music Hall of Famer. His lifetime in music began with his involvement with local radio stations in his native Tennessee. Credit has often been given to Emery for the exposure he gave on the radio to many up-and-coming country music singers.
Between 1957 and 1972, Emery was the all-night disc jockey on country station WSM. During these years, he was responsible for interviewing many of the major stars, including Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Loretta Lynn, while also hosting their performances.
‘Pop! Goes the Country’, his syndicated TV music series in 1974, brought Emery national fame and attention. From there, in 1983, he went on to host ‘Nashville Now‘, a nightly TV show. This ten-year stint, and his unique interviewing style, brought Emery the title of ‘the Johnny Carson of cable television’.
Emery was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame, in 2007. His weekly show, Ralph Emery Live, ran on RFD-TV, a satellite and cable TV channel, from 2007 until 2015.
“Ralph Emery’s impact in expanding country music’s audience is incalculable”, wrote Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Saturday 15.
“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 humour 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”, Young added.
Via a statement from his publicist, Don McLean, the ‘American Pie’ singer-songwriter, told Deadline, “Ralph Emery was my friend. I did his show many times, and he was kind enough to send me a Christmas card every year. He had that special country music knowledge, and that voice. Ralph was to country music what Mel Allen was to the Yankees”.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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