Bobby Denton makes a mark on Talladega, Neyland stadium and WIVK

7:44 PM, Jan 4, 2011   |    comments
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Every football Saturday, Bobby Denton sounds the rally cry, igniting VOLnation with 5 simple words, "It's football time in Tennessee."

"I make my business at WIVK, but I'm identified by Neyland stadium," says Bobby Denton. "I guess I was born to be an entertainer."

The son of a railroad engineer, Bobby Denton was born in Clinton and moved around until age 9.

"We decided to make Knoxville our home."

As a teen, he loved sports and then discovered cars.

"Everyone had souped up Chevrolets."

Hot roads turned into drag racing. One night, an announcer didn't show and Bobby took the mic.

"The next week they asked me to come back and do it again."

Bobby's broadcasting career was born. After a pit stop at Smokey Mountain Raceway, he was bama bound.

"I went to Talladega with the big boys."

For 16 years, he had a bird's eye view of Earnhardt, Petty and other NASCAR legends as Talladega's PA Announcer.

At the same time, he was playing rock-n-roll, signing on WIVK in 1961.

"The first week I was on the air Jim Dick, the owner, said, 'That guy is so bad get him off the air.'"

3 years later, WIVK went country and Bobby left briefly, but came back. He was not only working his way up as a DJ and concert promoter...

"Jerry Lee Lewis came in and did concerts for us."

Bobby was helping build WIVK into a country power house.

"It's funny, we'd had all the success and we were a country music station. People would say you can't do it with country music."

Bobby was also courting a rising country star named Dolly Parton.

"She said I was more interested in hot rods than her so she moved to Nashville."

But there's no lost love. The two are still friends which was evident at WIVK's 50th celebration. Dolly wrote a song just for Bobby.

After 38 years, Bobby, then General Manager, said goodbye to the Frog. Now, he's semi retired.

"Life is great."

He's still going strong every football Saturday as Neyland's PA announcer, a gig that literally found him four decades ago. He got a call from Gus Manning.

"I said, wait a minute, I didn't apply for it. Gus said, 'I didn't say you applied for it, but the committee selected you.' I said, 'Ok, I'll do one game and if I get thru that I'll consider doing it' and that was 44 years ago."

Bobby spends football season in Tennessee and post in Florida.

"I'm an East Tennessean by heart. I'm a Floridian to stay warm in the Winter time."

Bobby Denton, born in Clinton,

"I've been blessed with a lot of breaks in my life."

HomeGrown in Tennessee.

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