‘Radio was his roots’ | Colleagues remember local broadcaster Tim Cable’s 40-year career


GRAY, Tenn (WJHL) – Local morning radio in the Tri-Cities has lost a beloved voice.

“He had that real down-to-earth connection with folks, like you were sitting on a front porch just chatting with him,” said Richard Lovette, news director at Cumulus Media Tri-Cities, owner of WJCW AM radio.

Tim Cable died Sunday after a month-long battle with COVID-19. He was 60 years old.

He was the co-host of “Thinking Out Loud” on WJCW radio weekdays from 6-9 a.m.

Tim returned to radio after 25 years at News Channel 11. On local television, he anchored the news and hosted the popular feature series “Cable Country.”

“He was so good at turning a phrase,” Lovette said. “You’d throw out a word or phrase and he would turn it, and he’d have you laughing.”

Tim’s first broadcasting job was at WBEJ radio in Elizabethton, Tennessee. (Photo: WBEJ radio)

Tim’s return to radio in recent years was a return to his first love.

He got his start at age 19 on the air at WBEJ Radio in Elizabethton, Tennessee where he DJ’d and did play-by-play for local high school games. By late 1980, he was the weeknight host of the station’s rock and roll show.

“Seemed like whatever you put before him he could do,” Lovette said.

“Radio was his roots,” said WJCW morning radio news anchor Don Helman. “This is where he got started. He really enjoyed what he was doing.”

Helman and Cable often worked together before dawn as they prepared for morning broadcasts. That time of day, Tim’s humor came in handy.

Tim didn’t just appear on camera. He shot and edited of his popular “Cable Country” feature segments. Here, he poses for a camera while carrying a camera. The date and location aren’t confirmed, but this appears to be at a restaurant in downtown Elizabethton, just up the street from WBEJ radio where he got his first job. (Photo: WBEJ radio)

“You knew that there was nothing ever too serious,” Helman said. “You could just have fun with him every morning. That was one of the things that was enjoyable about him.”

On Wednesday, Tim’s family announced funeral plans that include a private memorial Thursday night. The service will be live-streamed to allow people to take part without gathering at the funeral home. A public outdoor graveside service is set for Friday morning.

“He cared about people,” Helman said. “He cared about other people and had an infectious personality. Everybody liked him.”

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