No radio personality in history has worked at one station for as many years as Luther Masingill. Described by one writer as “the announcer with sunshine in his voice,” Masingill was 18 when he joined the staff of WDEF/Chattanooga as host of an afternoon request program, Jitterbug Jamboree. Within a few weeks, Masingill had moved to the morning slot as host of the station’s Sundial program, playing music, taking phone calls from listeners, and reading traffic and weather reports. By the 1960s, Masingill’s show had 70 percent of the city’s morning radio audience and his show was simulcast on WDEF-FM, the station that has been his professional home ever since. His seven-decade tenure at WDEF makes him the only announcer in America to have broadcast news of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center.
It was during his time on the Sundial program that Masingill began a feature for which he has become famous: the reuniting of lost pets with their owners. Over the years, it is estimated that Masingill has reunited thousands of pets —dogs, cats, snakes, even llamas — with their owners.
Masingill once explained his longevity by noting that radio was “more than playing records. It's what you do between the songs that matters.”
Luther Masingill was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.
He died on October 20, 2014.