Carol Sharpe “When my husband and I lived in Key West in 1965, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and homesick for Chattanooga. One night I was scanning stations on the radio and I very clearly heard a voice, “TJ, the Deejay here, playing your favorite Top 40 Hits on JET FLI.” The 50,000 Watt station was clearly and enjoyably heard that night in Key West that night, and I suddenly felt more at home. Tommy and my husband (“Rick Shaw”) were fellow deejays a few years later at WFLI during the late 60’s and early 70’s.”
Tommy Jett – “The Night Train was a radio show started in 1962, 63. This was a chance to talk to the kids on the air, and this was very dangerous since there was no delay system. We took a chance on them saying something risque. So I would put them on the air, and they would say, “I’d like to put Bettye Sue, George, and Ronnie on the Night Train.” And I’d say, “Okay buddy, you got it.” And I had a whistle for the train thing, and I turned that up. Then I developed the DCLC, the Darkest Corner of the Lover’s Car, and a guy would call up and say, “I want to be in the DCLC.” And it would be on the air. I’d go to Rossville, Trenton, Dalton, cause we were heard all over town, a 75-100 mile area, so I could pick up kids everywhere and put them on the Night Train. We got by with it, and there were no vulgarities. Occasionally I would do the spots live, and Budweiser was one of the sponsors, and I would open a beer on the air. The phones would flood, you would not believe the number of callers we would get it, especially at that time of night. It would ring off the hook even from midnight to one. We had so many listeners, even if there were not any promotions going on, and the station overall was way big time #1 in the market.”
Deborah Poteet-Johnson – “T.J. The D.J.!!!”
Max O’Brian Templeton – “As a teen I would go to WFLI and stand at the control room window to watch Tommy Jett entertain, I learned a lot from him. He will always be my friend!”
Jim Copeland “I listened to Tommy daily as a teenager. He was larger than life.”
Jennie Besal – “As Steve’s sister AND the photographer (a Polaroid Swinger! The camera….not me! I was only 16) I can verify it was 1967! David Carroll and Steve Cooper win two tickets each to the 1967 JET FLI, WFLI Summer Spectacular. Tommy Jett and Dale Anthony used to DJ our Dalton HIgh Majorettes dances after all the home football games at “Teen Town” in Dalton.”
Johnny Eagle – “I was driving downtown, and I’m listening to Tommy do the news. And Tommy says over the air, “This Presbyterian got hit by a car downtown.” I pulled over and called Tommy and asked him how he knew the religion of this man? Did it tell the religion in the news story? It turned out it was a pedestrian.”
Tommy Jett – “Dale was on the air, and WFLI got a bomb threat. He got a caller that said if he played Sugar Shack, he was going to blow up the station. Well, Dale played the record and the caller called in again, and said, “I warned you once, and now I’m gonna blow up the station.” Well, I was sleeping in the back room, the police were called and evacuated the building, but no one knew I was in the back room sleeping. I was the only one in there. Well, I stuck my head out the door eventually, and they said there was a bomb threat. I laughed because everyone was always kidding me. But sure enough, there were police and photographers everywhere. Now, I was the only one in the building for a while. If there had really been a bomb, I would be – poof!”
Patricia Walker Juntunen “In the early sixties quite a few of us teenage girls had a crush on Tommy. WFLI played the music we loved. Mr. Jett is fondly remembered by my generation.”
Happy Huddleston “RIP Tommy! A very close personal friend!”
For more information on TJ, check out these links:
Chattanooga broadcast legend Thomas Wayne Reynolds Jett, “Tommy Jett,” passed away peacefully at his home on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at the age of 77.
Tommy was born on July 26, 1940 to the late James Grady & Annie Frances Reynolds. He attended DeKalb County High School in Smithville, TN and Mid-South Announcing School in Nashville. He began his broadcasting career in Waycross, Georgia and, in 1961, Tommy became a household name as he began his career at WFLI-AM 1070 in Chattanooga as “the fastest Jet in the air.” He also worked at WDOD and WDXB radio stations. On May 4, 2013, Tommy was inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. In his younger days, he loved to play golf and raise money for charities, such as the Walker County Stocking Full of Love. Tommy served in the Tennessee Army National Guard for several years, and with his strong Christian faith, his love for music and helping others was evident through the very end. In addition to his parents, Tommy was preceded in death by his siblings, Wash Nixon Reynolds, James Hopson Reynolds, & Marin Starr Reynolds Becvar.
Survivors include his loving wife of thirty-seven years, Charlene Botts Reynolds Jett; children, Chad & Chandra Brackett; grandchildren, Jacob, Krista, Chase, & Kayci; great-grandchildren, Brody Brackett & Bailey Freeman; brother, Grady Edward Reynolds; several nieces & nephews, and a host of friends.
A celebration of Tommy’s life will be held Sunday, April 29th at 2:00 p.m. in the South Crest Chapel with Ralph Vaughn, Johnny Eagle, Jerry Pond, Earl Freudenberg, and others eulogizing. Interment services with military honor will be held Monday at 10:00 a.m. at Lakewood Memory Gardens, South. Ben Cagle, Jerry Pond, Chip Chapman, Johnny Eagle, Sheriff Steve Wilson, David Carroll, Anthony Hudgins and Earl Freudenberg will serve as pallbearers. Nick Smith, Zolly Cantrell, Randy, Danny & Alfred Botts, as well as Chattanooga area broadcasters, will serve as honorary pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Walker County Stocking Full of Love, P.O. Box 767, LaFayette, GA 30728.
Please share expressions of sympathy at lane-southcrestchapel.com.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, April 28th from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home & Crematory, at the end of historic Missionary Ridge, Rossville.