Firebrand WVOL talk radio man Rev. T.J. Graham dead at 50

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 6:51pm

The Rev. T.J. Graham — the revolutionary WVOL disc jockey who wildly and, at times, bafflingly veered between firebrand conservative and old-school liberal during his thought-provoking afternoon talk show — died Monday of an undisclosed cause. He was 50.

Graham, whose given name was Anthony Hyde, was widely considered Nashville’s most controversial and intriguing radio personality. He was known for his tireless research of multiple topics and his flamboyant verbal style. Listeners either embraced the man — or loathed him.

John Heidelberg, WVOL president, said the public response to Graham’s death has been “overwhelming.”

“I [have been] inundated with calls,” Heidelberg said.

Heidelberg, known for giving Oprah Winfrey her start in radio, said he pushed Graham to be controversial. However, the outspoken talk radio host learned how to straddle the cliff’s edge of decency without careening over it. At least most of the time.

“There will never be another T.J.,” said Heidelberg, who will handle Graham’s afternoon spot for the time being. “He was one of a kind. He had a quality that fit well for the program.”

A wake for Hyde will be held between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday at Nashville-based Corinthian Missionary Baptist, located at 819 33rd Ave. N. A funeral is slated for noon Saturday in Springfield, Hyde’s hometown. A location will soon be announced.

12 Comments on this post:

By: Trumpet on 11/9/11 at 9:58

Joe/The Collection:

Sincere condolences to T.J.'s family and loved-ones.

I call myself "his biggest fan" because I listened to him a lot (all the time-
whenever he was on). On rare occasions I would call-in to the show to express an opinion or a reaction to something I had heard. But more often I would call Heidelberg off-the-air to discuss the show. T.J. attempted to tag me, (and at least one other regular caller) as "Bojangles" the way he would often do his callers, but I asked him to call me "James Brown" and give me some background theme music because "Bojangles" didn't fit/suit me, and because James was the better dancer. Inside joke! WVOL, T.J.'s listeners, and a segment of this community is sure to miss him. I will miss him also, mostly because, even if you might disagree with T.J., he brought excitement to the air-waves, and caused sparks to fly off the mic and your speakers at home!

In my day, that was "good radio" - "good talk-radio!" WVOL needs "good radio." ONE HEART!

By: Writeman on 11/10/11 at 9:17

I listened to T.J. now and then over the years and condolences as well. And as I write this, it strikes me, why don't we have even one African-American talk show host on WTN or WLAC? It all seems real lilly white. It's great that WVOL exists, but most white people probably consider it the "black" station and don't listen. Shouldn't the "mainstream" talk stations better reflect the diversity of our Nashville community? The only example of an AA gracing a major station mike in town was Herman Cain as a substitute host (and he was replacing a national talk show host, not a local one). Please correct me if I'm missing someone.

By: Jughead on 11/10/11 at 10:04

I listened to him once and thought he was a blatant racist.

Did I miss something?

By: NewYorker1 on 11/10/11 at 10:19

I listened to T.J. on occasions. The show was absolutely hilarious to me and, at times, I was embarrassed and ashamed to be an American. The majority of T.J.'s callers were extreme idiots and proof that we have a long way to go with race relations in this country. The show gave me a reality check that some people still carry hatred and bigotry in their hearts and souls, but will smile in your face when they can't hide behind their phones.

May T.J. rest in peace and my condolences to his family and friend.

By: Jughead on 11/10/11 at 10:32

@NewYorker1: Anonymous speech is an essential element to any free democracy.

By: joecitizen on 11/11/11 at 2:25

I'm NOT gonna be one of the people that get on here to claim how good a person T. J. Graham was. In fact, just the opposite.

Anthony Hyde (T.J.'s REAL name) was a hate mongering instigating anti-Amerca piece of garbage! He hated white people....he hated gays...he hated immigrants. He hated ANYTHING that didn't fit his own little personal world which included full servitude to his savior Barrack Obama. It was an obsession with Anthony, to the point that it effected his personal life and health in dangerous proportions.

This guy had an arrest record for fraud, he was a habitual (in fact pathilogical) liar.

Here are just a few of Anthony Hyde's lies...

1. He stated he was a degreed ordained minister, but refused to divulge which divinity school he graduated from, and there was no record of him being officially licensed as a minister found anywhere.

2. He stated he was a Marine. This is one of his most upsetting lies, especially to those of us who have served. The real story according to his DD214 search is that Anthony Hyde entered the U.S. Army and was dismissed from boot camp for failure to comply and conform. He was a ARMY washout. He NEVER was a Marine...he NEVER attempted to be a Marine. He doesn't have what it takes to be a Marine!

3. He was never a Chef. He was a "institutional cook" working at Vanderbilt University and at the Maxwell House Hotel. To be a Chef implies he has a degree in culinary arts which of course he does not.

4. He was NEVER a "Golden gloves" boxer when he was a kid. He grew up in Sprinfield, Tennessee where youth boxing didn't exist in his years there.

5. Anthony Hyde was NOT an educated man. At least not from a formal standpoint. There is not a record with the Tennessee Higher Learning Institute of any sort of degree obtained whether it be undergraduate, graduate, or post graduate.

6. Anthony Hyde stated on a regular basis that his show was in negotiations for national syndication. This was NEVER the case. Anthony was very lucky to have the medial job he held at WVOL. I personally spoke to Mr. Heidelberg who stated to me that T.J. 's show was not making any revenue, and in fact Mr. Heidelberg was exploring his options on keeping the show on the air or in fact cancelling it.

I think most people listened to Anthony Hyde's (T.J. Graham) radio show because he was an absolute moron and was so easy to point the finger at, call a total dumbass, and laugh at, even though in his own mind he felt he was being legitimate and fancied himself and his ridiculously produced show as being in the same realm of such legitimate shows as Steve Gill, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage. T.J.'s show was nowhere even close to that caliber of broadcasting. T.J's show was a joke and NEVER anything else to those of us who had our faculties about us. Now that he's gone, maybe the REAL healing can start amongst the races, and NOT be instigated by people like him!

By: Nitzche on 11/15/11 at 10:57


By: tgs on 11/18/11 at 7:03

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By: tgs on 11/18/11 at 7:04

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By: cmla on 11/27/11 at 10:20


By: standingonthetop on 12/2/11 at 1:23

I agree that this person was a COMPLETE RACIST ASSHOLE! He made it a point to do everything that he could to turn the races against each other.

According to him...EVERYTHING in his life was the way that it was because of him being a victim of racism! Seriously!...he would interject racism in EVERYTHING!

According to TJ...( actual quotes and excuses from his show by TJ himself)

He was stuck at a station like WVOL as a low paid DJ / Host because the white man wouldn't hire him because he was black and too controversial.

THE TRUTH is: was because he was a no talent racist ASSHOLE! The vast majority of Nashville had NEVER heard of this clown that would literally read at the skill level of a third grader on the air! It was truly pathetic and embarrassing to ALL the black community in Nashville who TJ made look like uneducated fools!

He couldn't get his show syndicated because "the man" was holding him down.

THE TRUTH is: was because he was a loud mouthed instigator that alienated listeners both black and white and didn't generate recurring revenue dollars from show sponsors. In fact , Mr. Hidelberg stated to me personally that TJ's show was NOT making money for the station.

TJ stated that before radio he couldn't move up as a chef because the white man that he cooked for was an actual chef and stole all the credit from TJ's cooking and then fired him.

THE TRUTH is: First of all, the above thread is correct. TJ was a "cook"...NOT a chef. It would be like calling a cook at Denny's a "Chef". Just because they wear a tall white "Chef's" style hat, doesn't make them a Chef! In all probability, the story was fabricated by TJ just to once again claim racism.

TJ saw himself as a "revolutionary" for the black community.

THE TRUTH is: TJ Graham NEVER... I repeat NEVER, did anything constructive for the general public or his "base" north Nashville radio market. He NEVER donated any of his time to charity events, fact, he NEVER got involved in ANY charity events at ALL! He NEVER helped out at the Homeless shelters...He NEVER helped feed the hungry via a radio drive like WLAC AM1510 and WWTN 99.7 FM. TJ had NEVER helped A single BLACK, WHITE, or HISPANIC cause in the community...PERIOD! The only thing he EVER did was just arbitrarily run his mouth about subjects that he wasn't qualified to even discuss, much less be an authority on like he so often claimed to be!

Hey the sun's out today...must be racism!

Hey Titan's won...must be because the the racist referees helping the Titans!

That's how ignorant and ridiculous this novelty goof of a small minded racist radio host was. All I can PERSONALLY say is...Good riddance!

By: stp1911 on 12/5/11 at 1:52

I heard he drown in a pool of Obama Cool-aid. What a joke he was. A truly destructive person....