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Landmark and Legend
Memphis, TN
Here we note legends-in-their-own-time and landmarks as they transition into history


 
John Powell
1922-2012
 
John Powell, a Kentucky native, came to Memphis in 1956 to join WREC radio as an announcer. John was a fine announcer, among several fine announcers at WREC. His star began to shine more widely when there was a fire at the Peabody Hotel, where the radio station was located, in 1962. The station had very limited functionality during the blaze but microphones were working, so Mr. Powell and colleague Fred Cook filled the time until full operations were restored by talking. Their humor and commentary was well received and the public hungered for more. In 1964 the two personalities begain the Zero Hour, in which they just talked and performed radio skits. It was a hit. On anniversaries of the  show's beginning,  hundreds of people would crowd into downtown banquet rooms to watch the program live.

In 1971, WREC-TV asked John Powell to be a news announcer. Within a few years, he was news director. In 1980 he returned to radio, teaming up with Fred Cook once again on WREC. He retired in 1994.

Mr. Powell died December 24, 2012.