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We Bid Farewell To An Old Friend

WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

Norris Dryer estimated he spent 41 years of his life in radio. Thirty-four of those years were spent at WUOT.

Norris passed away Thursday, October 30 at the age of 71 following a long battle with cancer. A remembrance/pot-luck gathering of friends will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, November 10, at The Standard, 416 W. Jackson Avenue in Knoxville

He had a passion for radio, but it was far from his only passion.  For 45 years, he performed as a violinist for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and classical music was an intimate, integral part of his life. Outspoken and fiercely committed to his political ideals, he was a stalwart presence in local politics (he appears on the November 4 ballot as the Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives).  He worked tirelessly, advocating and recruiting for the local United Campus Workers union at the University of Tennessee.  And he dearly loved his Chicago White Sox, the team he began rooting for as a boy, growing up in Northern Indiana. 

Norris began his WUOT career on January 8, 1968.  His first job at WUOT was as a producer for the now-defunct WUOT tape network, a series of programs sent to various commercial radio stations across Tennessee.  Throughout his time at WUOT, he served as an announcer, music director and program director.  He was the creator and original host of Dialogue, WUOT’s award-winning call-in program.   His live program Untitled featured a popular and difficult music quiz.  Dryer also worked on behalf of the station to bring many internationally respected music ensembles to Knoxville, including the Instrument Ensemble of France.  Norris retired from WUOT in the summer of 2003 although he continued to do Untitled for another year. 

“I never, a single time, minded going there to work,” Dryer said in a 2009 interview for WUOT’s Pioneers & Engineers retrospective.  “I consider myself very, very lucky and it’s to the credit to the university and the vast majority of my colleagues over the years that I enjoyed my career so much.”

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.

Read Jack Neely's remembrance of Norris Dryer

Read Norris Dryer's Obituary in the Knoxville News Sentinel

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