A Former Employee from Down On The River is Back on the Air and a Viewer Speaks Out About These News Choppers

It’s deja vu all over again in Memphis with a guy who used to work at WREG getting back on the airwaves. Joey Hadley signed on this morning with WPTY to do traffic updates. I chatted with the former deputy Joe Wednesday night and he was excited to be back in the traffic saddle. He’s doing this gig in addition to his boxing/fitness training program in East Memphis. (A word of caution here. Turn down your speakers a bit if you go to his website.) I tuned in this morning to see how Joey did. He appeared to be a little nervous around the 7:25 cut-in but give him a few days and he’ll be fitting right in. They even decided to let him wear his signature loud patterned shirts. For those not familiar with Joey’s attire, when worked in radio he used the moniker “Deputy Joe with your traffic info”. This flowed well since he worked for the Shelby County Sheriff’s department at the time. He wore his uniform minus the sidearm when he first started doing traffic DOTR. It was his involvement in local politics that prompted calls for him to switch over to civilian attire. Somehow Joey wearing a coat and tie didn’t look right as he did traffic and he was encouraged to switch to casual shirts which later evolved into outlandish and bold prints. Eventually the powers that rule DOTR told him to can the loud shirts and they got him some NewsChannel 3 shirts. By that time JH was falling out of favor with the GM and ND and they were looking for reasons to can him. He finally left and I can tell you I missed working with him on the air and we had a number of viewers who missed him as well. Good to see him back in the traffic seat.

And speaking of traffic, I got an email last week from a person who lives in East Memphis and was commenting about WREG and WMC using their newschoppers early in the morning for traffic. This woman said and I’m quoting now, “I pray it’s only for the sweeps. I find myself waiting until daylight to venture outside and feed the dog. Being a Memphian for 20+ years I know that choppers in the air means the MPD is looking for a ne’er-do-well. Unfortunately I live west of I-40/240 junction out east, a very popular traffic reporting spot.”
I don’t know if the two stations were only flying the choppers during sweeps or if this is a full time thing. With the cost of flying running about 500 bucks an hour, I can see that burning through the budget pretty quickly. Perhaps since it’s close to the end of the year the folks in charge found they had a little extra that needed to be spent and decided to do so, especially since it gets dark earlier in the evening and those chopper shots aren’t as spectacular in the fall and winter as they are in the spring and summer.

I can appreciate what the emailer was thinking. The Friday after Thanksgiving, my lovely and talented bride and I were driving out to Collierville to visit her stepmother and we saw a news chopper hovering over the Nonconnah/Houston Levee interchange. My first thought was, ” Oh great, something really bad has happened out here. It’s either a bad wreck or some kind of road-block”. Then as we got closer we figured that it was during the Noon hour and the chopper was hovering over that huge shopping center. IT WAS THE FIRST DAY OF THE HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON! Man, how quickly one forgets what gets reported EVERY YEAR right after Thanksgiving.

And finally, it appears Peggy Phillip will be staying in the Memphis area to pursue something in the TV/news business. That information came from the Commercial Appeal. Perhaps she will restart her blog again.

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14 Comments on “A Former Employee from Down On The River is Back on the Air and a Viewer Speaks Out About These News Choppers”

  1. Tommy Stafford Says:

    Ditto Joe! Joey was a heck of a fellow to work with on those AM shifts at WREG when I did morning weather on occasion Ok, so were you too. Remember his phrase: The traffic at that intersection is jelly tight!”

    Remember those loud blazers he’d wear to the Christmas parties, back when they had good Christmas parties.

    Welcome back to the airwaves Joey & good luck!

  2. Average Guy Says:

    More correctly, Deputy Joe would say “jammed up and jelly tight”.

    The GM

  3. Tommy Stafford Says:

    Whoops, I stand corrected GM , you are right, just couldn’t remember it exactly. But did remember something about the jelly part.

  4. Doug Johnson Says:

    Ah, I fondly remember the days when ‘REG had good Christmas parties… open bar, band, bemused acceptance by the bosses of the staff having a good time… Thanks for the memories, Tommy!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    The CA was wrong in it’s wording. Peggy would like to stay in Memphis. Peggy would like to stay in TV news. The two won’t happen together for several reasons. Damn CA

  6. Joe Larkins Says:

    Thanks for the clarification.

  7. AMNewsBoy Says:

    Kojaks with Kodaks!

  8. AMNewsBoy Says:

    Kojaks with Kodaks!

    And — I should point out that, here in KC, all 4 stations now have choppers (the latter two acquiring them within the last year and a half)… and all 4 go up for morning traffic.

    It does burn up the budget, but the bosses around town swear by it.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Joe, An interesting side bar if you will…..

    Joey Hadley used to box quite a bit around town and was very good at it. He boxed in the same events with Jim Fox and Jack Mayer, the guys who put together the Mayor vs. Joe Frazier event.

    After a bout, the first thing Joey would do is pick up his Bible in the corner. Win or lose he always did.
    In the time I have known him, he has always been a perfect gentleman and if he ever uttered a swear word…somebody needs to check him!
    Glad he’s back.

    (The other thing was somebody needed to let Jerry Lawler toss in a chair, a chain or a “foreign object” into the ring with Hizzonner and Smokin’ Joe. Better yet would to have had him in there too!)……….JD

  10. John Says:

    Hey Joe,
    CA had an article on the Nov ratings Today (WREG won again at 10 by .4 points, WMC took 5 and 6). WHBQ also appears to have won the demos again. But it didn’t have anything on morning/midday numbers. Have you (or anyone else) heard anything about those?


  11. Joe Larkins Says:

    I saw the article and I do NOT have the numbers for the morning shows. Perhaps someone out there can provide an assist.

  12. AMNewsBoy Says:

    Speaking of morning shows — is 24’s morning show any good?

    I’ve only seen a clip or two of it, enough to know that a) it’s all done in front of a very fake chroma set (and that they have GOT to put an end to the c’key abuse), and b) if their site is any indication, it uses a lot of franchise pieces (including Smart Woman that WREG used to have).

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Hey! With all these “News” Choppers flying around in addition to MPD’S chopper, then throw in Hospital Wings 3 machines……..hell, I can’t find room for my twin-cessna to get across Memphis! Someone Help!!!!!!!!


  14. AMNewsBoy Says:

    Kojaks with Kodaks!

    And — I should point out that, here in KC, all 4 stations now have choppers (the latter two acquiring them within the last year and a half)… and all 4 go up for morning traffic.

    It does burn up the budget, but the bosses around town swear by it.

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