For publication in the August 25, 2021 print edition of the Times-Voice
...about a sad Valentine’s Day
popular conservative radio host dead
felled by a coronavirus against which he wasn't vaccinated
Old Uncle Abe lived for a while in the middle-Tennessee area. That area has always been dominated by Nashville, Tennessee, the state’s capitol. One of the pre-internet’s more prolific and popular forms of entertainment was talk radio.
The “biggest stick” on the Nashville airways was AM 1500, WLAC. The station had an all-talk format and was known far and wide as The King of Talk in the market.
I distinctly remember a promo running on WLAC where the station referred to itself as “the one-hundred thousand watt Mutha.” In the analog radio days, having a 100,000-watt signal was a really big deal.
Phil Valentine was Nashville’s biggest local talk radio show host. The Neilson Arbitron Ratings, released quarterly, would support Valentine’s being the most listened to personality in one of Tennessee’s largest, if not the largest, markets. His show ran daily from 3:00 - 6:00 pm.
Being on-air during “drive time” was indicative of a show’s importance to a station’s programming. Drive-time was prime-time in the radio business.
Phil Valentine, during the pandemic had, for months, posted warnings on social media platforms advising fans they shouldn’t get vaccinated. That message drastically changed on July 23, 2021. On that date, the Valentine family released a statement Phil Valentine had contracted COVID-19.
Phil Valentine was hospitalized. Phil Valentine suffered from COVID Pneumonia with attendant side effects or so the statement read. Phil Valentine was listed in serious condition and on respiration.
The Valentine family professed, through its statement, that Phil Valentine had never been an anti-vaxxer. The family submitted Phil likely regretted not being more vehemently “Pro-Vaccine.”
The Valentines assured Phil’s fans that Phil would be more vigorously an advocate for the vaccine upon returning to the air-waves. The Valentine family's statement concluded with an all-capitalized plea, “PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”
Prior to his contracting the disease, Valentine had repeatedly dismissed the seriousness of the coronavirus. Phil Valentine had pshawed the importance of the vaccine in preventing infection.
Phil Valentine had written in his blog, December of 2020, that his odds of contracting COVID-19 were “pretty low.” Valentine figured the odds of him dying from it were “probably way less than one percent.”
That “way less than one percent” rose to one-hundred percent this past weekend. The great Phil Valentine is dead. He was 61-years of age.
The great Phil Valentine has fallen victim to that of which he formerly professed no fear. The great Phil Valentine has fallen prey to an infection from which he once claimed there to be no urgency to seek clinical relief and against which he never did.
Please get vaccinated. The last thing any of us want is another sad “Valentine’s Day.”
This is your old Uncle Abe Yokem and I am still up here SHOUTING FROM THIS MOUNTAIN-TOP!