Knoxville (WVLT) -- There is a reason radio is considered by many to be the theater of the mind, that reason of course being that with the right story line your imagination could take you anywhere.
For twenty years, an East Tennessee man has combined your mind and his microphone to take you on his travels and inspire your own trips.
And today, "Ramblin with Ramsey" comes home.
"Good morning, and hello everybody all Across America," Ramsey says in to his mic, "we are absolutely glad to have you on this, the last broadcast of Ramblin with Ramsey."
There, in two dozen words, is the essence of Ramsey Pollard, a man who sells the sights and sounds of wherever he happens to be.
"Wonderful historic events, special events that take place in any given city, things kids do, like the Knoxville zoo, wonderful places to eat," says Ramsey while rambling through what his job means. "I broadcast from all 50 states, and 12 foreign countries, somewhere in the world, every Sunday."
Once we'd have called his quest a radio travelogue. Today, most people probably call it an infomercial, but whatever we classify it as, "Ramblin Ramsey" is about helping the places he travels to tout themselves.
Take, for instance, the Knoxville Zoo.
"I don't know whether it's more fun to watch the animals they have," he says, "or to watch the people
watching the animals, they really enjoy it."
Ramsey is the definition of a soft-spoken Southern, complete with the looks and voice of an innkeeper. That probably explains why listeners send him souvenirs from their own travels, and why even the occasional celebrity finds their way to his phones.
"Having Julie Andrews on the air one day, which I did not expect," he says, "just walked in and sat down. New York City."
Today, family and fans record his farewell for posterity, in the lobby of the Knoxville Marriott.
"...very special because this is where 18 years ago I did my first broadcast on the road."
And now, that the road leads home, he signs off, with no regrets.
"I've looked forward to it," Ramsey says, "and thrilled to death it's finally here"
Mr. Pollard celebrates his 76th birthday tomorrow, at his home base in Elizabethton.
You still can track his travels on his Website at http://www.ramblinwithramsey.com/
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