WNC broadcasting pioneer dead at 89 - FOX Carolina 21

WNC broadcasting pioneer dead at 89

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James "Uncle Jimmy" Childress (Source: WRGC-AM) James "Uncle Jimmy" Childress (Source: WRGC-AM)
SYLVA, NC (FOX Carolina) -

A man who is largely responsible for launching radio stations across towns in western North Carolina has died, according to his family.

James Childress, known to many as "Uncle Jimmy" died unexpectedly Friday at Mission Hospital in Asheville.

Childress is known for launching radio stations in Sylva, Burnsville and Murphy, along with nearly a dozen others in western North Carolina and the Southeast during the 1950s.

Childress was a longtime fixture at WMSJ-AM in Sylva, which was later renamed WRGC after his eldest son died in a transmitter accident at the station.

Childress retired from the broadcasting business in 2002 but remained active in community organizations in Jackson County, as well as an active supporter of the county's institutions of higher learning, Southwestern Community College and Western Carolina University.

Childress was 89 years old.

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