The former president and general manager of a group of Paris radio stations was presented with a distinguished service award by the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters last week.

Terry Hailey, former head of WTPR-AM and WAKQ-FM in Paris, earned the TAB’s honor for 2018 for his service to the industry and community during the association’s 71st annual conference in Murfreesboro.

Hailey started as a part-time disc jockey, first at WTRO and WASL in Dyersburg and then, in 1968, at the station that would be his professional home for most of the next 50 years in Union City. 

After graduating in 1971 from the University of Tennessee at Martin, Hailey put his education degree to use as an English teacher at his high school alma mater. 

In 1974, he returned to WENK radio, serving first as assistant manager and program director, and two years later as vice president and general manager. 

In 1985, Hailey rose to president and general manager of WENK at Union City Inc. and under his leadership, the WENK Broadcast Group consolidated its position along the Tennessee-Kentucky state line, purchasing WTPR-AM and WAKQ-FM in Paris in 1989.

He was also a city councilman in Union City, and in 1988, his fellow council members appointed him to serve as mayor, a post he has continued to hold for more than 30 years. Hailey returned to the classroom in 1985, beginning more than 30 years of service as a speech instructor at UT Martin.

In 2016, the WENK Broadcast Group was sold and a year later, he retired. In 2018, he joined Thunderbolt Broadcasting, with stations in northwest Tennessee.

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