The UT Amateur Radio Club inducted the first nine members into their Hall of Fame last week. The inductees included the late Sam Brown, a long time Knoxville broadcast journalist whose career involves many different outlets such as WNOX radio, WATE, Channel 6 and the late WKXT.
Brown’s influence was very present at UT, especially with the university’s radio station 90.3 WUTK.
“He was a prince of a person and a pro at what he did,” General Manager and Program Director for WUTK Benny Smith said about his late friend. “What you saw on screen was how he was off screen.”
“(Brown) loved to drop by, and always complimented on the job that the students do at WUTK,” Smith added. “He would listen to a student do an air break, and then voice coach them as needed, giving tips on pace, accent, pronouncing words, etc. His passion for broadcasting was hard to hide.”
Fellow UT Amateur Radio Hall of Fame inductee and chief engineer for WUOT and WUTK, Tim Berry, also had the opportunity to work with Brown.
“The thing I remember the most about Sam was his journalistic excellence and desire to get the story right,” Berry said. “His ability to get it right was incredible. Right was not always easy and right was not always quick, but being right was what he aimed for in his reporting.”
Although the UT Amateur Radio Club has been a club at UT since 1947, this will be the first time the club has ever inducted any member into the new Hall of Fame.
“The faculty advisors for the club wanted to do this for as long as maybe two years ago, but just got very serious about it last year,” Berry said. “I think this is great. The UT Amateur Radio Club has been through some peaks and valleys. There were times when it was very active and times when it was not. Those of us that were recognize were largely recognized for the the contributions to the club and that community and not just the club itself.”
Within the last two years, the world of radio has been faced with a dilemma that the field has never seen before. With the buying of stations such as Script and 94.3, and the emergence of pre-recorded stations like Jack FM, stations are closing and deejays being fired have increased.
“The field is changing, but the strong will survive,” Berry said. “There is a positive side though. You no longer need someone at the station at all times. We were able to take those talented people and bring them into the day so that they could use their talents in other ways.”
The UT Amateur Radio Club hosts regular events and offers multiple opportunities like radio licensing through on-campus license classes, reference materials for new licensees and all upgrades, contests and networking with professionals, faculty, students and others in the community.