Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to reminisce about working with Nashville’s talk radio heyday icon, Phil Valentine.
Leahy: Turns out this studio was the studio from which Phil Valentine broadcast apparently when he was with WLAC from 1997 on through the mid-2000s. That’s kind of interesting.
Ogles: Phil really just became an icon of Nashville talk radio, first here on this station, then now over on Super Talk. And when you think back to the income tax fight back in 2000 and 2002, Phil and Steve Gill and some of the others were really in the mix of that.
And the horn honking, the driving around the capitol. That was kind of the heyday of talk radio, when there was still a lot of local news talk and really live and remote broadcasting. A lot of fond memories there because I was actually there at those protests with Phil.
Leahy: With Phil and Steve back in 1999-2000, 2001?
Ogles: I was.
Leahy: You were just a kid, Andy. (Chuckles)
Ogles: I was just a kid.
Leahy: You were just a kid.
Ogles: And in fact, I have a tie. It says no tax. Some lady gave it to me. It was a no-tax tie. And I remember sitting there. And somewhere I actually have an old kind of Polaroid of me and Phil sitting there on the sidewalk on the radio railing against the income tax.
Leahy: Were you an on-air guest at that time with Phil?
Ogles: I was.
Leahy: What was your official roll back then?
Ogles: It was in 2001? And I was just young and active in politics.
Leahy: And so tell us there, what was that like? Your memory of being down there at the horn hacking with Phil Valentine? Would he interview you? He was the big guy back then.
Ogles: That’s right. There was a lot of energy and people were passionate about it and felt that it was wrong. There was a kind of the sky’s falling conversation taking place, that if we don’t do this, our economy will falter. That sales tax-based economy would never work. We’ve seen now that it does work.
Leahy: It does work. And we’re one of the most economically secure states in the Republic. It really struck a nerve. And talk radio led that fight.
Ogles: And then you saw State Rep. Marsha Blackburn. I don’t think she’d become a state Senator.
Leahy: She was a state rep then. And Diane Black and Mae Beavers was state reps.
Ogles: That’s right.
Leahy: They all went on to bigger things.
Ogles: And that fight and talk radio launched their political careers, if you will, because they stood there in the trenches and fought for the people. And Phil Valentine, he helped lead that charge.
Leahy: What was it like? So you’re there. You are a kid. Phil’s interviewing you. What were you thinking? Hey, I’m on the radio with Phil. That’s pretty cool. (Laughs)
Ogles: I’m thinking, why am I on the radio? But I had been helping Marsha, being from Williamson County, and so there were just some political connections there, and a young business owner.
I was taking time away from work and my growing business to come down there and protest. And it was kind of a novel idea, I guess.
Leahy: You’ve known Phil then for 25 years. Longer. Long time.
Ogles: Yeah, the whole gang. You’ve got Steve and Phil and just all of those guys from that era. We’ve been kind of been working around in those political circles for, you said, two decades or more.
Leahy: A long time. Tell us about the last time you saw Phil Valentine.
Ogles: It was really about two weeks and twelve days prior to him coming down with COVID. He and I had breakfast together, and we were talking about what two Conservatives talk about. The dismay in the country. Kind of like you said, holy crap, how did Biden get elected.
Leahy: How does this happen? What happened to our country?
Ogles: That’s right. The election fraud. We talked about the vaccines and COVID itself. And it’s all about an individual’s choice. All of those things that you would expect us to talk about. And we talked about family and his podcast with his son.
Leahy: I didn’t know he did a podcast with his son.
Ogles: I’m not sure where the name comes from, but he would just get on there with the son and they would have fun. And obviously talked about our children, just kind of caught up. And just again, two guys, two Conservatives having breakfast.
Leahy: Wow. Eleven days later, tested positive for COVID. On July 11th, he announced on his Facebook page.
Ogles: That’s right. I’d have to go back and look, it was like the 29th, I think, we had breakfast or something.
Leahy: The 29th of June.
Ogles: Just right before. I think the cautionary tale with that is, and Phil – and we’re not going to get into his medical history – is take it seriously.
If you’re in that one percent that it’s going to attack and really take hold, assume that you’re one of those people, and get that aggressive course of treatment.
I don’t check any of those comorbidity boxes, but if I came down with it, I’d call my doctor and I’d say, hey, hit me with everything. Whatever it is. And let’s knock this thing out.
But not to get off in the weeds on the other stuff. Phil is a really good guy. Nice guy. Family man. Again an icon in Nashville talk radio.
Leahy: An icon. I mean, really, if you look at conservative talk radio in Nashville, he was the King. He was a man. So we’ll be back after the news.
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Phil Valentine” by Phil Valentine.