(CelebrityAccess) – Nationally renowed radio and television broadcaster and best-selling author, Ralph Emery passed away Sunday, January 15 at the age of 88.
The prior host of “Nashville Now” was known for his candid and informal hosting and interviewing style. Emery born and raised in Tennessee, grew up with a love for radio. While attending the Tennessee School of Broadcasting, he began his career at WTPR in Paris, TN, moving to WSM’s graveyard shift in 1957 at the age of 24. According to the Country Music Hall of Fame (CMA), he filled that late-night spot for nearly 15 years, having conversations with Nashville’s royalty such as: Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson, among others.
Emery also authored several books about his life, had a country hit himself, “Hello Fool” in 1961, which reached No. 4 on the Billboard country music singles chart, and held many positions throughout the Nashville area in both radio and TV. He returned to the airwaves in 2015 at the age of 82 to recreate an episode of “Nashville Now”, which ran from 1983-1993 with former guests Lorrie Morgan and Barbara Mandrell.
The Nashville community mourns one of their biggest supporters. Loretta Lynn posted on Twitter:
It breaks my heart to learn of Ralph Emery’s passing. Ralph and I go way back. He was a Nashville original and you cannot underestimate the role he played in the growth and success of country music. He made you feel at ease and interviewed everyone just like an old friend.
— Loretta Lynn (@LorettaLynn) January 15, 2022
The tributes continue to pour in for one of Nashville’s own:
“Ralph Emery understood artists as human beings, and if Ralph liked you, chances are you were gonna make it in Nashville. I loved him on WSM, and every TV show he ever had on the air.” –Ronnie Milsap
“Ralph was one of the best friends country music ever had. He loved the music but also brought to life the stories surrounding the singers and the songs through his interviews and TV programs. He really helped take our format into people’s living rooms and broaden the fan base with integrity for the art and humor.” –John Anderson
“We admired Ralph Emery, the voice and face of country music for the last five decades. He was always a gentleman to us with great respect. We salute a true legend. We will miss you.”
–ALABAMA / Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry, Randy Owen
Emery is survived by his wife, Joy, three sons, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are forthcoming.