|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.