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Chattanooga Broadcast Icon Masingill Dies

Luther Masingill, Chattanooga television and radio icon and an inaugural member of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame, died in his sleep Oct. 20. He was 92.

Masingill started at Chattanooga's WDEF radio in 1941 and never left, was on the air when Pearl Harbor was bombed, and when New York was attacked by terrorists in 2001. He started in television in 1954.

Masingill’s typical day involved being on WDEF radio in the morning, then presenting the day’s “Community Calendar” for WDEF TV, then pitching in with the noon news. He was out sick the week of October 13, said a station staffer, but had worked a regular Monday through Friday schedule prior to that for decades.

At the time of his 90th birthday, he told B&C: “My health is good, thank the Lord. I’ll stick with it as long as my voice holds up,” he says. “If I notice that I’m starting to fail on air, I’ll hang it up.”

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Masingill is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary Varnell Masingill, and his children.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.