Local radio legend Luther Masingill and syndicated New York radio shock-jock Howard Stern probably have very little in common.
One is well known for finding lost dogs, while the other is known for finding strippers to be on-air guests.
But now, the two very different broadcast professionals share a very distinct career milestone.
Both men will be honored this fall in Chicago at the Museum of Broadcast Communications as this year's inductees into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Masingill said he wouldn't mind meeting Stern at the induction dinner in November, even though he knows he can a bit unpredictable.
"Even if he insults me, I don't care. I'm going to return viciousness with kindness. He won't be vicious at an event like that. But you never know about him," Masingill said.
Masingill was honored last year as one of the first inductees into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame, which called him the longest-running broadcaster in world history.
He is also the only American broadcaster to have announced both the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. And in between those two historic events, the man never missed a day of work.
Fellow Tennessee hall-of-famer and New York radio legend Scott Shannon said he is inspired by Masingill's work ethic. Shannon is heard all across the country each day as host of Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel. He also holds the record for longest-running morning drive show personality in New York City.
Although both are Tennessee boys, the two met for the first time last year during the Tennessee Hall of Fame induction dinner when Shannon introduced himself to Masingill at his table.
"I told him what a pleasure it was to meet someone like him. He is one of a kind and a Tennessee treasure. He is so full of personality and energy. It was mind-boggling. What an inspiration," Shannon said.
Masingill is now the third Tennessean in the National Radio Hall of Fame, joining Shannon and Ralph Emery.
Long time coming
Masingill, who turned 90 in March, has had the same job at WDEF, now called Sunny 92.3, in the same time slot for 73 years. He said he has had many job offers over the years, especially during the '60s when his ratings were consistently high.
"I had offers from Chicago, Houston, Philly, Miami and a few others over the early years," he said.
But the man just loved his hometown too much to ever leave.
That fact made it a little more difficult to get the attention of the National Radio Hall of Fame, according to local television broadcaster David Carroll, who has nominated Masingill for the honor for the past several years.
"No matter how great you are in Chattanooga or Jacksonville or another smaller town, you're not going to beat someone from New York or Chicago," Carroll said.
Carroll, who calls Masingill his personal hero and role model, said that seemed very unfair to the industry's longest-running broadcaster.
"[It's] not that he couldn't be a national celebrity; it's just that he didn't want to. It shouldn't be held against him that he chose to stay in a midsized city and not work in the larger markets," Carroll said.
And this year, when the selections were made, that message was finally heard.
According to National Radio Hall of Fame Chairman Bruce DuMont, in addition to Howard Stern and NPR's Terry Gross, this year's inductees are mostly local broadcasters such as Ron Chapman, who has spent his entire career in Dallas, Texas, and Jack Cooper (deceased), who was the first black on-air disc jockey in American history.
Now with syndicated, satellite and Internet radio stations becoming the norm, DuMont said the NRHOF wants to make sure the industry's current leaders don't forget people like Masingill.
"Mr. Masingill has had a remarkable career. He has become a significant feature in Chattanooga. We want to help educate the contemporary radio executives about the history of the medium," DuMont said.