Hudson Alexander Biography:
Hudson Alexander first began writing for newspapers at the age of 17, while serving as a copyboy at The Nashville Tennessean. The son of former well-known Franklin attorney, T.H. (Huddy) Alexander, Jr. and the former Miss Maurine Lynch, his first writing assignments were handed out by Tennessean City Editor, Herman Eskew, and the State Editor, Jimmy Carnahan. At the time, he was following in the footsteps of his grandfather, former syndicated newspaper columnist T.H. Alexander, who had written for the same paper during the glory years under publisher Luke Lea, from 1912 until 1939.
“I recall those early days at the paper very well,” Alexander said. “There were several of the old-timers who really liked to tease several of us copyboys. You see, there were three of us on that staff that had strong ties back to those ‘glory days’ at The Tennessean. Me and my brother, Pat, were both copyboys, along with Crom Tidwell, who was a classmate of ours at BGA. It was actually Crom who’d arranged the jobs for me and Pat. Back then, the Copy Editor at the paper was a very amiable man named Mike Tate. We all loved Mike because he’d cut up with us and we all had such a good time. He made it fun to be around the editorial office. But he used to get a kick out of hounding the three of us as the ‘neps’ at the paper- a reference, of course, to nepotism. He used to say: ‘Confound it, just look at how nepotism is alive and well around here. Just look- you have Crom Tidwell, the grandson of the former publisher, old Colonel Luke Lea, himself…and you have the Alexander boys here, Hudson and Pat, the grandsons of the old colonel’s favorite ace political writer, T.H. Alexander. We’ve got neps all over the place around here.’ They were some good times- but some times where the learning curve was extremely steep for a young kid, still in high school. But, all in all, it was a great experience.”
In the early fall of 1973, Alexander joined the original staff put together by Bailey Leopard for the brand new weekly paper in his hometown of Franklin, Tennessee- The Williamson Leader. It was during his tenure there that Alexander served in several capacities: reporter, columnist, photographer, and as head of circulation.
By 1974, Alexander departed The Williamson Leader and joined the news department at Nashville radio stations WKDA-AM (1240) and WKDA-FM (103.3). He was hired onto the staff by News Director Bob Witkin, recently at CNN Radio in Atlanta. Alexander’s mentor during those early days in radio was veteran broadcaster Ernie Keller.
“I was really lucky during those days,” Alexander said, “because Ernie Keller just took me under his wing and taught me about radio news. Ernie had got his start at WBIR in Knoxville when he was just a young guy, still in high school- then he spent many years at WSM in Nashville before coming over to WKDA. Later on, Ernie was the voice behind the old WNGE-TV, Channel 2 in Nashville. He also headed up the news operation at the Tennessee Radio Network. Ernie was a great guy, and he had one of the best voices I’ve ever heard in broadcasting. I was honored to have him as my mentor. We were very close in those days- and I learned alot from him.”
Alexander remained at WKDA, working fulltime in the news department until that fall, when he entered the College of Communications at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. And he continued his work there parttime, pulling some weekend work and working during the summers between college classes, until the summer of 1977. At that time, he was hired by Program Director Les Acree to take charge of his own show on WKDA-AM. Using the air-name of Bill Hudson, he worked on-the-air during several time slots at the station. He initially took the all-night show, from midnight till 6 am; later, he moved into his familiar time slot of 7 pm till midnight; and later was offered the midday show, from noon till 3 pm. In addition to his air work at the station, Alexander served as Music Director at WKDA in 1978-1979. It was while serving in these dual capacities that he became the first radio discjockey in the country to play Don Schlitz’s inaugural hit record, “The Gambler.”
Alexander has worked for every owner of radio station AM-950 in Franklin. In the summers of 1975, 1976, and 1977 he worked on-the-air for Bill Ormes when it went under the old call letters of WAGG. In the earliest days, he learned the ropes from one of WAGG’s legendary announcers, Don Freeze. In 1979, Alexander was named News Director at the station, when it was under the ownership of a group of Tennessee broadcasters, including Paul Allen (Weese), who served as the station’s General Manager. It renewed a friendship between Alexander and Paul Allen, since the two had worked on the same news staff at WKDA. In 1980, after graduating from UTK with a BS Degree in Communications, Alexander was again hired as News Director at the station- this time when it went by the call letters WTJT. It was then owned by Tom T. Hall, Tandy Rice, and John Lentz. Later, when the station again changed call letters to the present WAKM, Alexander was back on-the-air at the station, on a parttime basis, for the present owners.
In 1982, Alexander began working in the automobile business. At this same time, he began to write, on a freelance basis, for several national magazines. Among them were: Civil War Times; Blue and Gray magazine; The Civil War News; and Confederate Veteran. While persuing his passion for Civil War history, Alexander has contributed numerous articles to these publications. He has also contributed to Family History magazine and historical journals in both Maury and Williamson Counties of Middle Tennessee.
In 1997, Alexander was tapped by officials with the Williamson Medical Center to write a history of the medical profession in Williamson County. The book, “Physicians of Williamson County: A Legacy of Healing, 1797-1997”, was published in 1998 by Bob Canaday.
In the latter part of 2005, Alexander undertook a new assignment, this one from Mindy Tate, Editor of The Williamson Herald, to write a weekly newspaper column. Alexander began writing his column, called “Around The Block,” when the paper initiated publication with the Dec. 15, 2005 issue. He continued to contribute weekly columns into the month of March, 2008, when it was temporarily suspended due to the poor state of the economy.
In recent months, Alexander has been a contributor on two historical book projects. These include: Lee Dorman’s recent book, “Nashville Broadcasting,” which was released in April, 2009 by Arcadia Publishing; and a book released by a New York writer, Diane Janowski, entitled, “In Their Honor: Soldiers of the Confederacy: The Elmira Prison Camp.” Published in 2009, this title is available in both hard and soft cover by the New York History Review. In the latter title, Alexander assisted the author with detailed information about his great-granduncle, John Williamson Alexander, who was a Confederate prisoner of war at the infamous Elmira Prison Camp during the latter part of the American Civil War.
“I love writing, but I guess I’ll always enjoy the work in radio, too,” Alexander said. “I especially enjoy the time I spend with the people I’ve come to call the legends of Franklin radio: Jim Hayes, Tom Lawrence, Charles Dibbrell, and Darrell Williams. Come to think of it, it was Jim Hayes who spawned the idea for a name for my newspaper column.”
At the present time, Alexander continues to work parttime- and nearly fulltime- with the radio crew at WAKM, AM-950. His weekly time slot is Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 6 AM until 9 AM, and on Sunday mornings from 7 AM until 11 AM, where he incorporates southern gospel music into the station’s weekly religious block formatting.
Alexander is married to the former Miss Edna Dunn of Nashville. The couple met while Hudson was working as an air personality at WKDA. They have two grown sons: Jason and Hudson IV. They also have five grandchildren: Taylor Leeanne, Jayden Alexis, Truman Hudson “Little Huddy” V, Christian Blake, and Aubrey Kathleen.