Bill Mitchell in the middle retires after a long career with WDEF TV.
Fellow employees called him one of the hardest working men on television. William “Bill” Mitchell will retire on Friday after spending more than 62 years in broadcasting, most of it on television. Of those, he has been with Channel 12 for 26 years.
Bill Mitchell was born in Nashville and attended Peabody College while majoring in psychology. He said his brother told him that he should use it on air because he has a big mouth.
Mitchell attended the Mid-South Electronics School in Davidson County and began sending out audition tapes to various stations. In 1959 he got a job in Midland, Texas.
Mitchell has worked as an editor, reporter, news director and air anchor for several television stations.
he I was doing radio work on the station with country singer Waylon Jennings. Mitchell said he had a morning drive, and Jennings reassured him.
Mitchell said he has given many interviews, including President Gerald Ford, country singer Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.
While in Texas, he worked with TV executive Jim Grimes, who came to WDEF TV in Chattanooga in the mid-’90s. Mitchell said he got a call from Grimes one day and he said, “I want you to come to Chattanooga and work for me.”
Mitchell flew to Scenic City and 30 minutes later called his wife and said, “I’m moving here where there are grass and trees and it’s raining all the time.”
Mitchell said that although she adopted Texas, Tennessee has always been her home, and despite living across the state near Trenton, Georgia, she was happy to be back in the volunteer state.
Former WDEF TV show director Doris Ellis said she knew Bill Mitchell was TV savvy when he came to Chattanooga. “He added that extra dimension to our station that was missing. I know,” said Ellis.
Mitchell served in the United States Air Force and the Tennessee National Guard, but was released early due to health problems. Mitchell said: He said he was proud of his overwhelming support for the recent “Wreaths over Chattanooga project.”
Mitchell said he held a variety of jobs while working for WDEF TV’s Channel 12.
WDEF TV News Director Dutch Terry said: He is amazing and has touched so many lives in the newsroom, including mine. Bill knows everyone here and they trust him. We wish him the best of luck. “
Chip Chapman, a TV weatherman, said, “We wouldn’t be in the same place without him.”
General Manager Phil Cox congratulated Mitchell on his retirement.
Mitchell has always loved country music and knows how to play five instruments. His father had a radio show in Memphis and played guitar. Mitchell purchased a Martin guitar from Luther Perkins, who worked with Johnny Cash. Mitchell said, “I sold the guitar to singer Marty Stuart, and having identified the mark, Cash used it to record his first song, ‘I Walk the Line.’ I just found out it’s a guitar. “
Mr. Mitchell said television had been good for him, but it was time to do something else. I plan to plant other vegetables.
what about his music? “I learned to play these instruments growing up, so maybe it’s time to brush up on some songs and relax,” Mitchell said.