Bobby Denton has had rock star status in Vol Country for over 48 years. He is the longest running P.A. announcer in college football history. Bobby has joined forces with MIG and the Charity Classic sponsors to make a huge splash for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
As the public address announcer for Neyland Stadium, Bobby sees first hand the passion that Tennessee fans have for their team. Bobby coined the phrase "It's Football Time in Tennessee!" that he says just before kickoff.
Bobby got his start in announcing in a very interesting way. Bobby described his story to The Housing Hour in a recent interview, "
"I have always had a love for cars. One night I brought my 1957 Chevy to a Maryville Drag strip. Once I got there somebody said, 'The announcer didn't show up. Get up there and announce the race!' I had no idea what I was doing, but I just started cutting up with the drivers, and they invited me back the next week."
Bobby did very good. So good in fact he became the race announcer for the Talladega Superspeedway. for 16 years.
Bobby was contacted by WSKT in South Knoxville after the owner Harry Morgan convinced him he was made for radio. Bobby went over to meet with them and Harry said, "your hired!". Less than a year later WIVK came calling and Bobby started what was a 36 year career with WIVK. Bobby was one of the key reasons WIVK became one of the biggest country radio stations in the country. Bobby had this to say when interviewed in a 2009 article with Knoxville.com. "Our goal was to be a station with news, info, sports and weather that just happens to play country, and we never wavered from that. We proved that during the '93 blizzard. We were the only ones with generators and the only station that was able to remain on the air with 24/7 coverage."
On Bobby's watch WIVK won four CMA (Country Music Association) Awards for Radio Station of the Year along with other awards and recognitions under Bobby's direction. He has been given some credit for launching many country music stars careers including, Randy Owen, the lead singer for Alabama. Owen brought a demo by the studio for his band at the time, "Wild Country." Bobby thought it has a unique sound, and, the next time Bobby got behind the mic, he played his tape. Bobby recalls this day in the Knoxville.com article, "Randy pulled over in their yellow Camaro...they sat and cried because it was the first time they'd ever heard their recording on the radio."
One of Bobby's most famous phrases is, "Today's concession prices are found on page 99 of your souvenir program book. We urge you to pay these prices and please pay no more." Every where he goes people know him from those infamous words. Knoxville.com captured this in their article about another memorable moment at Neyland Stadium:
But perhaps one of the most memorable Neyland Stadium moments that lives with every avid UT football fan was against South Carolina when Lou Holtz was still coaching the Gamecocks. South Carolina was staring down the field at 4th down and 45 yards to go. In typical Bobby Denton style he called the play with, "It's fourth down and the river!"
"The crowd went wild," Bobby says. "They interviewed Lou Holtz and asked him if he thought I was showdogging to which Lou Holtz responded, 'Heck, I thought it was farther than that.'"
PICTURE FROM KNOXVILLE MAGAZINE
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