Tennessee Journalism Hall Of Fame

“Recognizing individuals who have demonstrated outstanding skill in their Journalism field”

FRANCIS "RED" O'DONNELL

Aug 21, 2019 at 03:16 pm by Hooper


For outstanding service to broadcast journalism, Francis (Red) O'Donnell is posthumously inducted into the 2019 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame.

Red was a Nashville native, and began his journalism career in 1932, covering sports for the Tennessean. In 1943, he took a leave from his newspaper job to join the Marines, during which time he sent periodic dispatches back to the newspaper.

Although he was originally a sports reporter, Red moved to the blossoming music scene, and soon found a home and made a name for himself in what at that time was a small reporting niche.

As a music reporter and critic Red quickly made friends with many of Nashville's growing music industry stars such as Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Eddy Arnold and Chet Atkins. It was through these friendships, and a generally sympathetic coverage of the entertainment business, that he was able to score scoop after scoop over fellow reporters.

Red's work also appeared in Record World and Variety, helping move Nashville, and country music, from a small music venue to a world-wide music phenomenon.

Throughout his career Red O'Donnell distinguished himself by outstanding service to the profession of journalism, and brought great honor to himself, his community and the State of Tennessee.