Long-time Upper Cumberland broadcaster Bill Penn died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 69.
Penn’s wife, Debra Penn, said Bill passed away peacefully Tuesday after spending several weeks at the hospital. Penn said Bill had been in failing health this spring.
Penn spent some 35 years serving listeners and advertisers across the region. He retired in 2016 as traffic director and business manager for the stations of Stonecom. Penn worked for owners including Dwight Henry and Joe Wilmoth during his career in Cookeville.
“If you knew Bill Penn, you had a friend for life,” Colleague David Hunter said. “One of the famous quotes Bill would always say to us ‘real good.” I will never forget those words.”
Penn began his broadcast career in 1974 in Vevay, Indiana. He worked in radio in east Tennessee including stops at Knoxville’s WNOX.
“The best thing I can say about Bill is that he was one of the nicest men I have ever known,” Stonecom President Larry Stone said. “He just never had a bad word to say about anyone. Our hearts go out to his family and children.”
Upon Penn’s retirement, Stonecom started the Bill Penn Scholarship, an annual award for students wishing to pursue a career in broadcasting.
Sunday morning, Rock 93-7’s David Hunter will present a special edition of Rockin The Rock in tribute to Bill Penn. The program airs 8-10am on Rock 93-7.
Services are planned for Friday.