Ralph Emery, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, National Radio Hall of Fame, New York Times best-selling author, and known as the “Dean of Country Music Broadcasters,” died Saturday at the age of 88.
Born Walter Ralph Emery on March 10, 1933, in Ewen, Tennessee, he passed away while surrounded by his family at Tristar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, his family said. In a statement from Emery’s family, it said he “passed away peacefully” and had a deep love for his family, his friends and his fans.”
Emery attended broadcasting school in Nashville and got his first radio job at WTPR in Paris, Tennessee. He later worked at radio stations in Louisiana and the Nashville area before signing on in 1957 at Nashville’s WSM, the station that carries the Grand Ole Opry, until 1972.
He was an announcer on the Grand Ole Opry from 1961-1964, and he earned his first television show, The early morning “Opry Almanac” in 1963, on WSM-TV. He shifted to afternoons from 1966-1969 with “Sixteenth Avenue” and started his highly popular early morning “The Ralph Emery Show: in 1972. The show ran for 19 years. In addition, Emery hosted the nationally syndicated weekly TV series “Pop Goes the Country” from 1974 to 1980. He then hosted “Nashville Alive,” on cable station WTBS from 1981 to 1983. Following that, he hosted the Nashville Network’s primetime country music talk show “Nashville Now” from 1983 to 1993.
His autobiography, “Memories,” came out in 1991, followed by “More Memories” in 1993 and “The View from Nashville: On the Record with Country Music’s greatest Stars” in 1998.
Emery became one of the most respected broadcast personalities in country music history throughout his career, earning the nickname, “The Dean of Country Music Broadcasters.”
By Saturday night, the country music community Emery loved so dearly rallied to share their memories and condolences on his passing.
Emery is survived by his wife, Joy Emery, three sons, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. His cause of death wasn’t revealed. Funeral arrangements are pending.