The Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame will honor five broadcast journalists, including some with strong MTSU ties, during a banquet and awards ceremony Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Murfreesboro Association of Realtors Training Center at 311 Butler Drive, the organization announced.
The 2016 class of inductees includes former state representative, MTSU alumnus and current university administrator John Hood, who began his journalism career on local radio. Also being honored posthumously is sports director and announcer Monte Hale Sr., who was “the voice of the MTSU Blue Raiders” from 1961-1980 and whose name graces Murphy Center’s Hale Arena.
Other members of the 2016 class include: Tom Britt of Jackson, Tennessee, a news producer, anchor and reporter for WBBJ-TV; Hudley Crockett of Nashville, a former news director, anchor and producer for WSIX-TV (now WKRN) and former press secretary for Tennessee Gov. Buford Ellington; and Darrell Patterson of Chattanooga, retired sports director and anchor for WTVC-TV Channel 9.
The ceremony, which will be emceed by WSMV-TV Channel 4 anchor Demetria Kalodimos, begins at 5:30 p.m. Guest speakers include Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland; Ken Paulson, dean of the MTSU College of Media and Entertainment; Ron Fryar, president of the Tennessee Press Association and owner of the Cannon Courier; and Whit Adamson, president of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters.
The dinner is being catered by Peter D’s, and tickets are $40 per person. RSVP dinner tickets by calling Hall of Fame board member Hooper Penuel at 615-347-1672 by Monday, Dec. 5.
This will be the fourth class of inductees to be honored by the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, a nonprofit organization centered in the John Bragg Media and Entertainment Building on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University. A listing of previous Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame inductees may be found at www.tnjournalismhof.org.
Individuals who have distinguished themselves through news or business management, leadership in the industry, or in the ordinary practice of all forms of journalism can be considered for induction into the hall. Inductees may be living or deceased. Nominees for the 2017 class are being accepted now. Nomination forms and guidelines may be downloaded from TJHOF website.
About the Class of 2016
• Tom Britt: Britt is a 40-year veteran of electronic media in West Tennessee, the past 19 or so years with WBBJ-TV 7 Eyewitness News. During his tenure, he has reported, and anchored Midday and ABC 7 Eyewitness News at 5 and 6 p.m. Currently he anchors and produces the midday, noon and 5 p.m. newscasts. Before coming to WBBJ, Britt spent 21 years in radio and area stations working news, announcing and sport casting. For more than three decades he has been the voice of University of Tennessee-Martin football and women’s basketball with the Skyhawks Sports Network. He also serves as the color analyst for UT Martin men’s basketball.
• Hudley Crockett: A native of Rutherford County, Crockett began his journalism career working for radio stations in North Carolina, New Mexico and Alabama where in 1955 he was named as Sportscaster of the Year. In 1956, Crockett returned to Nashville, where he graduated from West End High School, and was named sports director for WSIX Radio and Television. Radio listeners heard Crockett’s voice during this time announcing a wide range of high school and college games, which included voice over of Tennessee football games on film. He began the first MTSU football and basketball networks working closely with football coach Charles “Bubber” Murphy and basketball coach Ed Diddle Jr. In 1961, young Crockett moved from radio to television and was appointed news director at WSIX-TV (now WKRN) in Nashville where he covered many major news events throughout the United States and in Latin America as the ABC Network’s special assignment producer. A professional in his field, Crockett was elected president of the Tennessee Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Society.
• Monte Hale Sr. (posthumously): Hale was born in West Virginia, growing up as the son of a coal miner who spent many years digging out a living for his family. Understanding the perils and hard work his father endured as a coal miner, Hale decided to develop his God-given radio voice, seeking a future in broadcast journalism. After graduating from high school, Hale ventured north, where he attended and graduated from Northwestern Radio School in Chicago. Fresh out of school, Hale worked at a couple of radio stations before moving to McMinnville, Tennessee, where he continued his radio career. After a brief period in McMinnville, Hale moved to Murfreesboro and was hired by WGNS Radio, where he worked as a sports announcer for many years. His voice could be heard on 1450 AM calling both high school and college games. Hale was also the voice of the MTSU Blue Raiders from 1961-1980. Later he became the first voice of the Nashville Sounds baseball team. For his outstanding support and tireless commitment to MTSU, the university named the Murphy Center basketball arena in his honor in 1983 and he was named to the MTSU Athletic Hall of Fame two years earlier. Hale succumbed to cancer in 1982 at age 42.
• John D. Hood: Hood began his journalism career at Murfreesboro’s WGNS Radio in 1948 working as a staff announcer until 1954. In 1956 he became news and program manager for WMTS, another local radio station and served in this capacity through 1960. Developing a way with words and developing his skills as a people person, Hood continued to be a voice of the community in many ways. Throughout his career, he has served as a personnel manager, bank vice president, a Tennessee Representative and presently serves as director of government and community affairs for Middle Tennessee State University, where he holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree and is known to many as “Mr. MTSU.” A U.S. Army veteran, Hood served in the Army Security Agency and 74th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. He’s considered by many as an ambassador for Murfreesboro-Rutherford County. Very active in the community, Hood was past president of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Murfreesboro School Board, former member of the old Quarterly Court, now County Commission, and he was named Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Business Legend of the Year in 2014.
• Darrell Patterson: A native of Athens, Tennessee, where he started his broadcasting career in 1965 at WLAR radio at the young age of 16, Patterson worked the 5-9 a.m. sign-on shift while participating in the local high school’s industrial cooperative training program. He worked as an on-air disc jockey, news and sports director broadcasting McMinn County High School and Tennessee Wesleyan College games until moving to WDOD in Chattanooga in 1973 as a DJ and news and sports director broadcasting UTC basketball and football games. Later he transitioned to television in June 1975, moving to WTVC-TV as sports director anchoring the nightly sportscasts. Patterson was inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He retired from broadcasting after 48 years in December 2013.