George Reynolds Jr., a staff engineer at Nashville’s WSM(TV), which is now WSMV(TV), for more than 40 years, died on Christmas Day. He was 79.
His career is tied to the roots of WSM in both radio and television. Reynolds was the son of former WSM radio and television vice president and director of engineering George Reynolds. He was one of the few remaining station personnel with direct knowledge of WSM(TV)’s beginnings in 1950, and who had worked with the organization’s first director of engineering, the late Jack DeWitt. (The latter was with WSM radio when it began broadcasting in 1925 and was responsible for the station’s entry into television 25 years later; he later became the first president of the WSM organization.)
Reynolds was a graduate of George Peabody College graduate and served in the U.S. Air Force and the Tennessee Air National Guard. He was also Tennessee’s Industrial Development Commissioner, and in this role was instrumental in seeking and establishing new factories and other businesses in several Tennessee communities. Mr. Reynolds served as Education Officer for the State Game & Fish Commission; Water & Safety Division and the Hunter Safety Program.
In his role as a station engineer, Reynolds was involved in constructing much of the technical equipment used by the TV station in its early days. His first-hand knowledge of events and technological developments at the station allowed him provide much useful information for Craig Havighurst in preparation of his 2007 book, “WSM Air Castle of the South and the Making of Music City.”
Survivors include his wife of his wife of 46 years, Ann Mays Reynolds, and his son, George A. Reynolds III.