To: CCI Alumni and Friends
From: Mike Wirth, Dean, UT College of Communication and Information
Re: Herb Howard’s Funeral Arrangements and Obituary
Our dear friend and colleague JEM Emeritus Professor Herb Howard passed away on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 (see his obituary, including funeral arrangements below). Please keep the Howard family in your thoughts and prayers during this time of sorrow. Herb was a legendary broadcaster and educator and will be greatly missed by everyone who was fortunate to have known him!
Herbert Hoover Howard Obituary
(1928 – 2017)
Dr. Herbert H. “Herb” Howard, age 89, of Knoxville, passed away Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. He was a native of Johnson City, Tennessee, and was a son of Mr. and Mrs. B R Howard of that city. Preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife of 47 years, Alpha Day Howard, and one brother, Robert C. Howard.
Dr. Howard was a professor emeritus of the College of Communication & Information at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he served 44 years as professor of Broadcasting and Journalism. He also served 18 years as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College and one year as acting dean of the College.
Dr. Howard earned the B. S. and M. S. degrees from East Tennessee State University. He did additional graduate study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and he completed the Ph.D. degree in Mass Communication from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, in 1974. He was admitted to membership in the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society at Ohio University and later served as president of The University of Tennessee chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.
Herb Howard was an active member and past elder of Graystone Presbyterian Church, Knoxville, where he served five terms as a member of Session. He was co-chair of the Pastoral Search Committee in 1990, and also chaired the Music & Worship Committee for a number of years.
He was a past president and reserve member of the Optimist Club of South Knoxville, lieutenant governor of the Tennessee District of Optimist International, and a member of the Optimist Club of Knoxville. For many years, Dr. Howard coordinated Optimist Club oratorical contests in the area. He was also a former state director of the Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League, based at UT. Many years earlier, as a student at Science Hill High School, Howard had participated in debate activities of the League.
Dr. Howard began his professional career at an early age (16) as a junior radio announcer at WJHL Radio in Johnson City, and continued working as a part-time announcer while he was a student at ETSU. After completing his bachelor’s degree at ETSU, he became program director for WJHL. His voice was the first one heard on WJHL-TV, the first television in the Tri-Cities, when he gave the initial sign-on announcement on the station’s first day of broadcasting in October 1953. A member of the original staff of WJHL-TV from 1953 until 1958, Herb served as the station’s TV weatherman, and he appeared on many other local television programs. He also conducted a noontime “Man-on-the-Street” radio program during this time for Honey-Krust Bakery. While attending graduate school at UNC in 1958-1959, he worked part-time as an announcer and writer for WCHL Radio and WUNC-TV. After coming to Knoxville in 1959, he also worked for several years as a weekend announcer for WNOX.
As a communication educator, Dr. Howard first served as an instructor in Journalism, as well as producer for WUOT and the University’s Radio Tape Network. In 1970, Howard returned to graduate school at Ohio University, where he received the Ph.D. in Mass Communication in 1974. In 1970, he became the first fulltime faculty member in UT’s new Department of Broadcasting. Later, Dr. Howard served as director and associate dean for the College’s graduate program from 1981 until his retirement in 1999. He also served as active dean of the College for the 1990-1991 academic year. After retiring in 1999, he continued teaching a limited schedule for another four years. Among his fondest memories were reunions with his former graduate students with whom he visited at national conventions of Broadcasting and Journalism educators.
After beginning his academic career, Dr. Howard continued to work with broadcast stations and associations as a research consultant, including conducting annual studies on media ownership and new technology for the National Association of Broadcasters. Dr. Howard was known nationally for his research on broadcast media ownership. His research was widely published and cited, including five books, more than 30 journal articles and several book chapters. He also served for several years as a member of the Community Advisory Board of WETP-TV, East Tennessee Public Broadcasting.
On of Dr. Howard’s most unusual and mysterious duties at UT was to serve as the anonymous voice of the University’s telephone system in the 1990’s. When he met new classes and invited questions from the students each fall and spring, inevitable the first question asked, usually in a hesitating manner, was “Are you the voice on the telephone registration system?” Indeed, the mystery voice of UT’s registration system was that of Dr. Howard.
In 2000, Dr. Howard was honored by the Broadcast Education Association with its highest honor, the Distinguished Education Service Award, presented at BEA’s national convention in Las Vegas. In addition to the BEA, Dr. Howard was a lifetime member of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, which honored him at its 60th Anniversary Convention, in Nashville (2008), with its Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of “outstanding contributions to his university and the broadcasting industry in Tennessee.” Dr. Howard’s other academic memberships included Kappa Tau Alpha, the national journalism honor society; Phi Kappa Phi, national scholastic honor society; and the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi.
In addition to their church activities, Dr. and Mrs. Howard enjoyed attending operas, dramatic performances, and traveling. Their travels covered all of the lower 48 states, as well as Canada and Mexico. In May 2017, Dr. Howard was inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame for his accomplishments over the past 60 years.
Dr. Howard is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Jody and Dennise Howard, and one granddaughter, Emma Howard of Knoxville. Other survivors included brothers and sister-in-law, Garnett and June Day of Johnson City; Charles and Rebecca Day of Abingdon, Virginia; Frank and Ruth Day of Clifton Park, NY. He is also survived by first cousins, Sherah Shedden of Nashville, Doug Howard of Dallas, TX, David Howard of Knoxville and Tom Howard of Pigeon Forge. He is also survived by many numerous nieces, nephews, extended family members and special friends.
The family will receive friends from 4:00-6:00 p.m., Saturday, December 16, 2017 at Berry Funeral Home, 3704 Chapman Hwy. Knoxville, TN 37920.
Funeral service will be 4:00 p.m., Sunday, December 17, 2017 at Greystone Presbyterian Church with Pastor Mark Knisley officiating.
Family and friends will meet 10:45 a.m. Monday, December 18, 2017 at Happy Valley Memorial Park, 2708 Elizabethton Hwy., Johnson City, TN 37601 for an 11:00 a.m. graveside service. www.berryfuneralhome.com
Published in Knoxville News Sentinel from Dec. 14 to Dec. 16, 2017