KNOXVILLE – James A. Dick, Knoxville broadcasting executive and community leader, is the University of Tennessee’s 2003 Volunteer of the Year.
The award is UT’s highest honor and is given to those “who bear the torch of enlightenment and shadow themselves to give light to others.”
UT President Joe Johnson and Chancellor Loren Crabtree are to present the award Tuesday evening at the annual banquet of the Chancellor’s Associates, a university support group. Dick is a former member of the associates.
Born in Kentucky, Dick’s family moved to Paris, Tenn., when he was a child. He returned to Kentucky to attend college at Transylvania University in Lexington. His studies were interrupted by service in the Army during World War II, but he returned to Transylvania to earn a degree.
A job offer in radio advertising sales brought Dick to Knoxville in 1947. In 1953 he bought WIVK for $3,000 and would expand Dick Broadcasting into a network of 11 stations that sold to Citadel Communications nearly 50 years later.
In 1981 he bought the Tennessee Theater on Gay Street and renovated it for the 1982 World’s Fair. Later he gave it to a private foundation, and the theatre is now undergoing a $20 million restoration.
Dick helped found the Joy of Music School that provides music training at no cost to several hundred East Tennessee young people. Several UT professors give lessons through the school.
He is a former co-chair of the Dogwood Arts Festival and has been active in supporting the Knoxville Symphony, Knoxville Opera Company and the United Way of Greater Knoxville.