Remembering Bobby Denton

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From the towering columns next to the Tennessee River to the radio airwaves that bounce off the Smoky Mountains, Bobby Denton became an East Tennessee icon. On Wednesday morning, the long-time public address announcer at UT football games passed away after a short illness. Alan Williams looks back at those he influenced .

Bobby Denton interviewing Richard Petty at Smokey Mountain Raceway (Photo credit Ray Taylor) Courtesy of Robbie Henry

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Though Bobby Denton has passed away, his influence will never die -- especially for those he touched.

That includes a once college intern desperate for a job named Cory Dickson.

"I'll never forget before I graduated he hired me on a napkin and wrote down how much he was going to pay me too," Dickson says.

Now, 15 years later, Dickson still works for WIVK radio.

Besides hearing his voice from the press box every football Saturday, folks knew Bobby Denton as a long time DJ and General Manager for the Frog Station.

He helped turn others like Ed Brantley into some of the country's top DJ's.

"After he retired", Brantley says, "I ended up sitting in his seat. I don't think there's been any person other than Jim Dick that has influenced my life as much as Bobby Denton and I'll never ever be able to pay him back for what he's done for me; this is the saddest day of my life."

Bob Thomas, now an account executive at WIVK says, "Bobby Denton loved people and people loved him. That's what made it work. He really enjoyed getting together and making things happen."

Mickey Dearstone's friendship with Denton goes back five decades.

"Bobby was the type, you know this, when you worked for him he gave you a job to do he had your back,' Dearstone says.

Bobby's friends stretched well beyond those he met behind a microphone and onto the playing field - literally - with one of his best friends in a former coach of the Vols in Johnny Majors.

"Very clever, very loveable and it's certainly going to be different on Saturday not to hear that voice say, 'It's football time in Tennessee;' he'd put his microphone voice on, and 'Pay these prices and pay no more,'" says Majors.

Bobby Denton was 73.

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