Veteran Knoxville news broadcaster still has wire copy announcing JFK's death


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) A veteran TV and radio broadcaster still holds the piece of paper he read on the air, announcing the news that JFK had been killed.

Chuck Ketron was most known for his radio show, 'Hold That Line' that aired in the 1960's after U-T football games.

But the day that sticks out in his mind, is the day he read the news on the air to East Tennessee, giving the news that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

"It was an emotional day for all of us," Ketron said.

Ketron was a 25 year old reporter, still green in the business of TV news when he happened to walk into the newsroom and heard the sound of alarms and bells ringing from the UPI machine.

The news that was coming into every newsroom in the country simply read;

'President Kennedy is dead'.

Ketron still has that piece of paper.

Half a century later, those four words are faded and hard to read, but the memory of that day is still fresh in Ketron's mind.

"I just happen to save it," Ketron said. "And I'm awful glad I did."

Ketron also said that November 22nd, 1963, was the day that TV news changed.

"Changed news as we knew it," he said.

News became more like radio, reporting immediately and live on the air and no longer recorded. It's the model TV news still follows today.

As for the events of that day, Ketron said he knew and understood the significance of his role as a broadcaster, but it didn't hit him right away.

"I think the real gravity of it set in later, after that day was passed. Maybe a year, maybe two years we really realized, hey, what a day that was."


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