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Local broadcaster passes milestone

By Preston Ayres, payres@wcyb.com
Published On: May 16 2013 04:49:15 PM CDT
Updated On: May 16 2013 06:00:00 PM CDT

This week a local broadcaster marks 60 years on the air.

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -

This week a local broadcaster marks 60 years on the air.

"Good afternoon, I'm Maxine Humphries," says the greeting that some say brings Greene County to a standstill. 

"Maxine and the 12:30 news is about as everyday as you get," says Greeneville resident Jason Smith. 

For the past 60 years WGRV radio's Maxine Humphries has delivered the local news, birth announcements, obituaries, and community events at 12:30 p.m. at the same time, on the same station, and with the same sponsor. 

It adds up to close to 16,000 newscasts.  "I've served the people out there in 'radioland,'” says Humphries. “It's Arbitron rated number one, and I'm proud of that.” 

The broadcast is no longer confined to 1340 on the AM radio dial -- it's now televised on a local cable channel and streams on the internet. 

As she passes six decades on the air, she was asked if she considers herself a legend. "I'm a news lady. That's what I am, a news lady," says Humphries. 

She says her career is the journey God intended for her life. 

Doughty-Stevens Funeral Home has been along for every step of that journey. The Doughty-Stevens company is newscast's only sponsor. "I and the company are very proud of that sponsorship and long-standing tradition," says Jason Smith, Doughty-Stevens manager. 

With enough years behind her to make up two careers, it raises the question -- is retirement near? Humphries says she's tried twice, but the station won't accept it. 

And she's ok with that. "I'd just as soon go on to Heaven from here as any place," she said.

We checked with the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame; the organization's president told us to their knowledge Humphries is the longest-running female broadcaster in the state of Tennessee. 

In fact, he says the only one person with a longer career in Tennessee is Luther Massengill, who's been on the air in Chattanooga for 71 years.