HomeBusinessBowers retires after more than 40 years of radio

Bowers retires after more than 40 years of radio

Radio has had a significant impact on Steve Bowers’ life since the day he first stepped to a microphone in a studio when he was in high school in Decatur, Ala.

It even played a role in his getting married.

“One Monday evening, I’d finished up working and our sports guys were doing a remote at a Mexican restaurant that used to be on Ridgecrest Drive called El Chico’s,” Bowers said. “So I went by to support them for a little while, and while I was there, I met a lovely young woman named Pam, and I eventually married her.

“Radio has opened so many doors for me including the job I’ve had for awhile now during most of the day here at JEA.”

Thursday, Dec. 29, was a special time for Bowers as his morning radio show on WNWS-FM 101.5 was a reunion.

Many of his friends and former broadcast partners along with current coworkers at Grace Broadcasting were on hand to mark his final broadcast. Pam was in the studio as well.

Bowers, 73, announced his retirement from radio, effective at the end of 2022, ending a career that spanned more than 40 years in rural West Tennessee reporting news and hosting talk shows.

“I’m just retiring from radio,” Bowers said, clarifying he’ll continue to do his day job as communications coordinator for Jackson Energy Authority and hosting multiple shows on E+TV6 including Six in the City and Dialogue. “But I’ve been waking up at 3 a.m. to prepare to go on the air at 6 a.m., and I think it’s time to put that part of my career to bed so I can sleep a little later in the morning.”

Bowers worked in various places after first coming to West Tennessee to attend college at Freed-Hardeman University. His prior stops included Lexington and Adamsville before getting a job in Jackson, which he would parlay into various other jobs including anchoring at local television station WBBJ for a few years and coming to work at WNWS a few months after former owner Carlton Viers started it in 1993.

Bowers credits advice he got from his boss in Adamsville that really helped him throughout his career.

“I was young at the time and still trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” Bowers said. “And this was in the early 1980s, and Carl Swafford, the owner of the station in Adamsville then, told me, ‘Steve, no matter where you go and how big a market you want to work in, you’ve got to act like it matters.

“So when I was doing sports, I was talking to (then-Adamsville head football coach Tommy Browder) like I was talking to Johnny Majors. When I was covering something with the town council or the mayor, I was covering it like I was in Washington covering Congress or the President. Because while what’s going on in my market may not mean anything to anyone outside that market, it matters to the people who are listening. If it matters to them, it needs to matter to me or I need to find something else to do.”

He said he’s heard from a number of people who are considerably younger than him who have known him whether it was their choice or not.

“I’ve had a bunch of people lately, but many people over the past few years, tell me they were listening to me in the morning on their way to school,” Bowers said. “And at first I was like, ‘Why were you listening to me on the way to school?’

“But they were riding with their parent to school, and their mom or dad had the radio on listening to me talk in the morning delivering the news or interviewing someone. And I appreciate the fact that many of those people have told me they continued to listen to me now that they’ve grown up and are driving to their own jobs in the morning.”

Bowers covered news in Jackson since moving to the Hub City in 1983. He was in town for different tornadoes, dramatic or memorable meetings of the City Council or County Commission, the consolidation of the public schools in the county, the arrival of the NAIA tournament to Oman Arena, the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx and Jackson Generals’ tenure at the Jackson Baseball Stadium, four mayors of Jackson, a number of county mayors and many other stories among them.

He’s been a known person around the area hosting various events including political forums, fundraiser galas and banquets, Bicentennial events and other special occasions for various organizations. In 2012, he received the Man of the Year award from the Jackson Exchange Club for 2011, which he called a highlight of his career considering the number of people in town who could win that award each year.

“Jackson really is a neat town because there are a lot of people here who see a need and will try to figure out a way to meet it,” Bowers said. “That’s how a lot of the non-profit organizations started – because someone saw a need in town for a specific segment of the local population, and they did what they could to help them.

“I’ve always felt good about living here and having raised my son here, and things like that and the people behind efforts like that are a big reason why. My son, Clay, is alive today because he was able to be treated in the NICU at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital when he was born, and we didn’t have to go off to Nashville or Memphis or wherever for him to get the treatment he needed.”

Moving forward, Bowers plans to be more active in telling the story of JEA and various energy sources.

“It’s not really politically correct to talk positively about natural gas or nuclear energy because there’s a lot of different initiatives out there telling us how dangerous they are,” Bowers said. “But they’re actually both clean sources of energy.

“And that narrative needs to get out there, and that’s one of the things I plan to do more of in the coming years – telling our story at JEA and how solar, wind and water energy aren’t the only clean sources of energy.”

As he transitions to sleeping later and telling more of JEA’s story, Bowers is grateful for the time he’s spent on the air and the opportunities it’s given him.

“I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s time to move on,” Bowers said. “I appreciate all the friends I’ve made and the people I’ve connected with and of course everyone who’s tuned in and listened.” Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news



- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments