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    Remembering Legendary Broadcaster Ralph Emery

    Ralph Emery, a renowned radio and TV broadcaster, best-selling author, and Country Music Hall of Fame member, died on Jan. 15 at the age of 88. The country music community is coming together to remember the legendary broadcaster and his legacy.

    “I was very saddened to hear of Ralph Emery’s passing. He did more to promote country music than anyone I know. First of all, his late-night radio show on WSM was heard from coast-to-coast and border-to-border, but his ‘Nashville Now’ television show on TNN was the biggest boost country music ever had. People were buying satellite dishes all across North America just so they could watch Ralph’s TV show. All of us wanted to be on his show, and if you were lucky enough to be asked to host the show, which I did quite a few times, that was a big deal. He was my friend, he loved my family, and we all loved him. Gone but never forgotten. Thanks, Ralph.” -Ricky Skaggs
     
    “One of the great men in the Nashville music business has passed away. Rest in peace, Ralph Emery. My good friend!” -Ray Stevens
     
    “My old friend, and he was a friend, Ralph Emery, was a real piece of work, as we’d say in Texas. Not long after I left Texas and hit Nashville, Ralph took Dottie West’s advice/hint/order to put this upstart Gatlin boy on his TV show. Well, old Ralph did just that, and that Gatlin boy’s life was forever changed. A couple of days ago, Ralph found out just how much he meant to me and a jillion other upstarts like me. Thanks, Ralph. See ya when I do. And my condolences to you, Joy. You were and still are the ‘JOY’ of Ralph’s life. Keep the faith.” -Larry Gatlin
     
    “The ‘Dean of Country Music Broadcasters,’ the ‘Johnny Carson of Cable.’ These aren’t accolades folks bestow on someone lightly. He helped introduce a whole galaxy of country artists to the world, myself included, and I will be forever grateful. His contribution to Nashville and beyond is nothing less than country music history. So very saddened to hear the news, but what a life, Ralph Emery. We can all just consider that for a respectful moment.” -Pam Tillis
     
    “Ralph Emery, in my opinion, should never be overlooked as playing a major part of the mid-’80s and ’90s country music. He broke and placed many artists and put them on the road to stardom. We were, fortunately, one of those acts. If Ralph Emery was for you, the country music fans were as well. For that, we are ever grateful. The nights at TNN’s ‘Nashville Now’ were always an honor. Rest in peace.” –Marty Raybon, Shenandoah
     
    “Ralph Emery was already a radio and television icon when I first moved to Nashville. His wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and great love for country music was immeasurable! I loved Ralph. He was the real deal! A perfect gentleman and the ultimate pro. It was so much fun and such a pleasure just to be in his presence and always an honor to appear on his radio and TV shows. It was an even greater honor to call him my friend.” -Deborah Allen
     
    “I think Mr. Emery was a national treasure and I was so blown away when I met him. He made country music history.” –Darryl Worley
     
    “Ralph Emery was a walking encyclopedia of country music. He always seemed to be interested in the artist more than the celebrity and asked insightful questions. Our time together usually resulted in me asking him more questions than he would ask me. He will surely be missed.” -Billy Dean
     
    “So sad to hear of Ralph Emery’s passing. I always looked forward to being interviewed by him. He was a legend and will be truly missed.” -Aaron Tippin
     
    “When I met Ralph in 1991, we instantly became friends. Thank you for being a part of my career. Gonna miss you, my friend! God bless you and RIP. -Sammy Kershaw
     
    “Ralph loved country music and helped orchestrate its incredible growth in popularity as an on-air country radio personality on WSM, the host of the popular ’70s TV show, ‘Pop! Goes the Country,’ and then on to the incredible popularity of his TNN musical variety show, ‘Nashville Now,’ in the late ’80s and early ’90s. His wealth of knowledge of country music history was widely respected and it was always a highlight to run into Ralph at the Bellevue Kroger. An architect of modern country music has passed and will be greatly missed.”
    -Henry Paul, BlackHawk / The Outlaws

    “Ralph Emery was often better known than the stars he introduced to larger and larger audiences over the years as Country Music’s foremost ambassador. Our format had no better voice over the years than Ralph, who treated Country Music and its stars – many of whom went on to become his friend – with the kind of dignity and respect they deserved for decades. As a Country Music Hall of Famer, he will be remembered among so many of the artists he supported throughout his career. On a personal note, I worked with Ralph for many years, and I always looked forward to his lively stories when we sat down for lunch. My thoughts are with his family today.” – Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association CEO 

    “We admired Ralph Emery, the voice and face of country music for the last five decades. He was always a gentleman to us with great respect. We salute a true legend. We will miss you.”
    -ALABAMA / Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry, Randy Owen
     
    “Ralph Emery understood artists as human beings, and if Ralph liked you, chances are you were gonna make it in Nashville. I loved him on WSM, and every TV show he ever had on the air.” -Ronnie Milsap
     
    “Ralph was one of the best friends country music ever had. He loved the music but also brought to life the stories surrounding the singers and the songs through his interviews and TV programs. He really helped take our format into people’s living rooms and broaden the fan base with integrity for the art and humor.” -John Anderson
     
    “We always loved appearing on Ralph’s TV show. One of my favorite memories of him was interviewing Toy Caldwell. He always wanted him to sing ‘This Ole Cowboy.’  The lyrics say, ‘This won’t be the first time this ole cowboy spent the night alone.’ Now, Ralph will never be alone. Today and for eternity. May God bless you!” Doug Gray, The Marshall Tucker Band
     
    “Sad to hear the news of the passing of country music legend Ralph Emery today. Ralph was kind enough to let Shenandoah play on not only his ‘Nashville Now’ show on TNN but also his early morning show on WSM TV. He was always kind to us and was a big supporter of our career. He was that way with a lot of new country music acts. We are sad to see him go. RIP Ralph. We will miss you.” -Mike McGuire, Shenandoah
     
    “Ralph was like a father to me. When my dad died, he took me under his wing. He was hard on me when he needed to be and very praising of me when he thought I deserved it. He was a great friend and a lover of real artistry of any genre of music. If Ralph approved you, you were in and respected. I will miss my good friend and all the laughs. I love you, Ralph.”
    -Lorrie Morgan

    “We are sad to hear that our old friend Ralph Emery has died. Ralph is a legend in country music and was a great friend and supporter of Exile. Our many appearances with him on Nashville Now were always enjoyable and played a big role in our success. Rest in peace.”–Exile

    “Ralph Emery has been synonymous with Country music as long as I can remember. His endorsement of your records was almost crucial to a hit, and his criticism, although painful at times, often taught a lesson that would ultimately prove very useful. I could never imagine the Country music world without him, and I did not want to. Thank you, Ralph and RIP.”–Jeannie Seely

    “Ralph Emery was a welcoming host to new artist like me, always engaging in great conversations revealing much about an artist, their music, and especially their day-to-day lives. I always enjoyed joining him on Music City Tonight as he would bring attention to new artist as well as the veteran entertainers. Ralph will be missed personally as well as professionally, he was one of a kind.”–John Berry

    “We are saddened this week at the losses of Dallas Frazier, Jerry Crutchfield, and now, Ralph Emery. Ralph was not only a legendary personality but a dear friend who meant so much to The Oak Ridge Boys’ career. If Ralph liked you … EVERYONE liked you! it would seem a lot of folks are going home these days so CELEBRATE LIFE FRIENDS. Life is God’s greatest gift this side of salvation. Goodbye Ralph, Jerry, and Dallas. See you at the House.” – Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys

    “Ralph Emery was my friend. I did his show many times and he was kind enough to send me a Christmas card every year. He had that special country music knowledge and that voice. Ralph was to country music what Mel Allen was to the Yankees.” – Don McLean

    “I am heartbroken to learn that the man who believed in me when I wasn’t even sure I believed in myself after my partner and I had parted company and I found myself a solo artist has been called home by the Lord. Ralph Emery was so good to me I adored him and I know that it was mutual. He brought me to Nashville to appear on Nashville Now so many times long before and of course after I’d recorded “Rainy Night In Georgia” with Conway. Ralph believed in me, he believed in my talent, and he presented me always in the best light, giving me the opportunity to shine. Gratitude, honor, and love Ralph, forever and always.” – Sam Moore

    “The passing of my long-time friend Ralph Emery is devastating. His friendship to me and his contribution to country music will never be surpassed. It’s going to be tough not having him to turn to for advice. He was so kind to help guide me throughout my career as a friend and artist. Just knowing him made me a better person. My prayers go out to Joy and the family during this very sad time. R.I.P. my dear friend.” – T.G. Sheppard

    “It was great leaders like Ralph Emery who helped build careers for so many of us performers. May God Rest his soul.” – Janie Fricke

    “Ralph Emery just crossed over the river Jordan. If it were not for his generosity, I wouldn’t have had a career. He had me on his hugely popular show, “Nashville Now”, 56 times. The importance of that exposure to millions of country music fans cannot be overstated. He was a dear friend and we shared many good times together. He helped countless artists and was a giant figure in country music history. Sheila and I loved him very, very much and will miss him deeply. What a guy!!” – T. Graham Brown

    “My earliest memories of Ralph Emery are listening to him on WSM Radio.  My dad would talk about when he was married to Grand Ole Opry star Skeeter Davis, and how she would pop in the studio and talk on the air during his late-night shift. Hearing my father talk about this, and listening to Ralph years later on the radio, became a vivid picture in my mind. For many years, Ralph Emery was the heartbeat of country music. He hosted Nashville Now on The Nashville Network. That’s where I came to know him best. He featured the best of the best on his show. Also hosted a morning show in Nashville. His passing is a great loss to the country music community, and he will long be remembered as the host of Nashville for many many years.” – Rhonda Vincent

    “I remember when I first got signed to Curb Records, I did the Ralph Emery Show. He was filming it at the Opryland Hotel where I had played prior to getting the deal. I’ll never forget it. I sat between Ralph Emery and Ray Price. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. I have missed hearing his voice on a regular basis for years. He will be sorely missed.” – Jeff Carson

    “I first met Ralph Emery in Nashville with my brother Lefty at WSM Radio and then got to know him better in the early 80s with my singing partner Shelly West on The Nashville Now TV show.” – David Frizzell

    “I am heartbroken to hear about the passing of my dear friend and father figure Ralph Emery. I will miss him so very much, but I know in my heart he is in a better place. Thank you Ralph for believing in me and playing such an important role in my life. Rest in peace.” – Kelly Lang

    “Ralph Emery was a big part of my life. I played the Ralph Emery Morning Show for 14 years, and I later played piano on TNN’s Nashville Now as a regular sub for Jerry Whitehurst. Ralph broke records and made stars on WSM radio; then he introduced those same stars to a television audience and in the process became a household name himself. Ralph Emery was country music! I send my condolences and prayers to his wife Joy and the rest of his family and friends.” – Tim Atwood

    “Ralph Emery was truly a one of a kind and legend in country music. Many artists owe their start to him, myself included. I will never forget his kindness and prayers to his family.” – Johnny Lee

    “Talk about someone who makes a profound effect on your life, not only by his words but by his actions as well. He was sneaky. He would sneak up and be there for you when you least expected it. He was a friend and will forever be missed.” – Lulu Roman, HEE HAW

    “Ralph Emery was a Country music Hall of Famer and broadcast star. I had the opportunity to meet him and I’m saddened by his passing. We lost another true legend!” – Shane Owens

    “Prayers to the family of the Legendary Ralph Emery. One of the most iconic voices on the national airwaves. Sad to hear the news this morning from Nashville. Remember watching Ralph with my grandmother growing up. What a great life and career. He will be missed.” – JD Shelburne 

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