TYLER, TX (KLTV) - East Texas radio legend Tom Perryman has passed away. He'd been in the business for seven decades. Most recently Perryman could be heard on FM 104.1 The Ranch radio station, but he hadn't been on air in over a year after suffering a fall.
Perryman began his career in the forties at KEBE in Jacksonville. In the '50s he worked at KSIJ in Gladewater, and brought Elvis Presley to East Texas several times, and nearly became Presley's manager.
Perryman moved on to Nashville where he worked for WSM and the Grand Ole Opry. He returned to East Texas and bought a radio station. He retired in the early '80s, but was convinced to come back to radio at The Ranch.
Morning show host Charlie O'Douglas and General Sales Manager Corinna Ruiz say they feel fortunate to have worked with him. O'Douglas recalls his first lunch with Perryman.
"I told him, I said my first radio job was at KWRD/KRGI and he goes, that was Jim Reeves and my radio station. And some twenty-odd years later here we are together. And the stories the man would tell, the life he led with his wife; it's all a good thing, and it's really a sad day in broadcasting," O'Douglas said.
Ruiz and Perryman started at The Ranch on the same day.
"On August 1, 2001," Ruiz said.
She was just starting. He was just coming back.
"He was very well educated but a lot of fun. In 16 years you become more than coworkers; dear friends. I lost a family member last night, so it's pretty tough," Ruiz revealed.
"Every day with Tom was a memory. I mean, when Tom would do a live appearance someplace, they would come out of the woodwork. I mean a lot of these folks were listening to him back in the '50s," O'Douglas said.
"It's tough but he's in a better place," Ruiz shared.
"It was an honor to work with him; better yet to be his friend," O'Douglas added.
Perryman was the 2013 Texas Association of Broadcasters' Pioneer of the Year. He passed away Thursday. He was 90 years old.