Tribute to My Brother, Ron Lane

 In Blog

I recently lost my beloved brother. Ron Lane was the consummate broadcaster. As an air personality, General Manager, and owner, his radio stations super-served small towns in Camden, TN, Bartow, FL, Russellville, AL, and Flora, IL.

Ron was both my personal and professional mentor, coach, and inspiration. At eight years old, somehow over my whining and complaining, he taught me to play baseball and a short time later basketball.

Under Ron’s mentorship, I went on to become a little league All Star and All State basketball player in high school. It wasn’t until years later I realized Ron was playing vicariously through me. Ron was stricken with polio at age nine, a few years before the vaccine was available in the US. I never once heard him complain.

After my freshman year of college at Memphis State University, he gave me a summer job in radio. I got the bug, and he guided me through my radio career.

The Voice of the Magic Valley

Ron was blessed with a distinctive, resonant voice. Most everyone knew it in the “Magic Valley” of the Camden, TN area. Ron was an entertaining and informative personality who broadcast local football, basketball, and baseball games. He made sure his radio stations aired all important local events, festivals, and county fairs.

He interviewed local and state leaders in education, business, sports, and politics. Ron was an outstanding interviewer who approached guests patterned after the folksy and conversational style of Johnny Carson.

Embarrassing Radio Story

Early in Ron’s on-air career, our next-door neighbor’s husband died, and his wife asked Ron to dedicate a gospel song to him. Ron said a few kind words about her husband and played the song.

A minute later the phone rang, it was our neighbor who said to Ron crying, “Oh Ron, how could you do this? You’re not playing “Precious Memories,” you’re playing “Wasted Years!” Ron was mortified and quickly cued up the right song.

Ron loved to tell that story as the most embarrassing moment in his career.

A Life of Service

Ron served on many local civic organizations including the school board, Lions Club, Board of Public Utilities, Rotary Club, and Gideons. He held the office of mayor for Big Sandy, TN for fifteen years and he was a United Methodist Church Lay Speaker.

Ron hosted numerous fundraisers including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the American Cancer Society, United Way, and the local food bank. He advised the local high school journalism class on funding audio and video equipment. Ron also guided several high school students into a career in radio.

Ron’s favorite movie was It’s a Wonderful Life where Clarence the Angel showed George Bailey what the world would have been like without him. The world without Ron Lane would be:

  • Many charities, schools, and organizations unserved
  • Young people not mentored
  • An audience not informed and entertained
  • A family living life without his spirit, love, and positive outlook.

Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

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