For those of you who live on Valley View Road, somewhere near Whittle Springs Golf Course in Northeast Knoxville, you are a part of history and probably don’t know it.
Sometime in the mid- to late-1940s, Lindsey Nelson needed to assemble an audition tape for an assignment broadcasting sports for Knoxville’s WKGN Radio.
One afternoon, with trusty tape recorder in hand, he began doing play-by-play of an imaginary scrimmage at Shields-Watkins Field some distance away. He didn’t tell the staff minions at the radio station it was imaginary, saying he was away from the field enough so he would not to intrude on the festivities.
He delivered his tape to a man named Charlie DeVois in a plain brown wrapper on a street corner downtown, much the way spies do in the movies. It was all cloak and dagger, all top-secret stuff. Or that’s the way it appeared.
With that little exchange, a career was born. He got a nightly 15-minute gig and a chance to do high school football.
After that first game, DeVois grabbed Lindsey, excitedly, and asked him what he had just done.
It was just a football game, Lindsey said.
“No, no,” DeVois said, “You have just done the best football broadcast ever heard in this town. The very best.”
“The best football broadcast ever heard in this town.” Lindsey more than likely couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
Preparation had suddenly become acquainted with opportunity. The spotting stints with Bill Stern, Lowell Blanchard, and others several years back suddenly were prologue to glory. It was akin to giving Picasso a paintbrush and a blank canvas, giving Heifetz a violin and bow, or Barney Fife a pistol. Interesting things were about to happen.
All because of an audition tape prepared in a house on Valley View Drive in northeast Knoxville. Lindsey didn’t give a street address, so you’re on your own to figure out where it was.
Friday, June 24, 2016