RCK member Dave Winstrom introduced our speaker Alan Williams, long-time Knoxville television and radio person.  Mr. Williams and Dave worked together at WVLT for many years.  Dave noted that over the years, Alan became particularly adept at finding and telling stories, particularly positive, uplifting stories.  And he still is doing stories today.

Mr. Williams began his remarks by recounting a bit of Rotary Club of Knoxville history, mentioning briefly some things going on in the world when RCK was formed in 1915, and remarking that the goals and mission of Rotary have barely changed in the long period of time since then.

Mr. Williams indicated that he has been in the television and radio business for 45 years.  He has learned over that time that everyone has a story.  He told us a bit of his own story.  He grew up in Knoxville until high school.  Then moved with his family to Florida and attended the University of Florida on a football scholarship.  He was drafted by the New York Jets as a punter, was cut by the Jets and picked up by the Green Bay Packers briefly, and then moved back to Knoxville.

Before trying his hand at professional football, Mr. Williams had a brief interview with WBIR television.  When he came back to Knoxville, he was quickly hired by WBIR – he described it as being “hired right off of the street.”  He worked there with Bob Kesling who was the sports director.  He went to a station in Huntsville, Alabama as sports anchor for a time.  He came back to Knoxville and went to work for WATE television and WIVK radio.  He was the color man for Bob Kesling’s broadcast of Lady Vols basketball.  Together they broadcast the first Lady Vols national championship win.  He went back to WVLT, and worked there for 32 years.

At one point Mr. Williams felt a calling to do more than just broadcast news and sports. This led him to devote some of his considerable talents to finding and telling stories of people and places.  He mentioned a few note-worthy stories that he has done over the years, including talking one-on-one with Joe DiMaggio at a Johnny Majors golf tournament.  He told of a gentleman who adopted 8 children.  He did a story on Men of Valor, the post-incarceration ministry that presented a program to RCK a few months ago.  He did a story on the lady who became the voice of Siri on your Apple devices.  He mentioned the story that was to run on WVLT on the evening of our meeting.  It is about a gentleman who lives in Blount County, played in the 1943 Army/Navy football game, shortly thereafter was on a U.S. Navy vessel when it was struck by Japanese kamikazes, became a pilot and served in five wars, and is now 103 years old.

Mr. Williams retired from his news anchor job two years ago, but continues to produce stories for WVLT and others through his company, Alan Williams Entertainment.