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By Elizabeth Tanner
The Red River Sun
MEMPHIS – The Memphis Lions Club hosted the 36th Annual Radio Day at KLSR 105.3’s station from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 17, playing their favorite throwbacks such as Survivor’s “I Can’t Hold Back” and Lionel Richie’s “Dancing on the Ceiling.”
Encouraging listeners to submit song requests of their own, Lions Club President Donnie Carrol, Secretary/Treasurer Billy Ballen, Tail Twister Charles Phillips and members County Judge Ray Powell, Orvilla Evans, Daniel Downey and Leigh Ann Hawthorne took turns at the mic, cracking jokes and providing entertainment all day long.
Now on their 36th year of production, Ballen said the behind-the-scenes has come a long way, budding from vinyl records to digital audio.
“It’s evolved a lot,” Ballen said. “When we first started, we were on vinyl and had to cue up the records. The first two years, we didn’t have ads written and we had to ad lib. But as time has evolved, we’ve got it all on computers.”
And as the years have flown by, mistakes have of course been inevitable. However, Ballen said perfection is the last thing listeners expect when tuning in.
“We make a few mistakes,” Ballen said. “Sometimes we make a lot of mistakes. We’ve left the radio mics on while we were listening to music and probably said things we shouldn’t have said, but no one expects us to be perfect. They expect us to be fun, and it generally is. It’s not professional quality radio, but that’s not what people turn in for.”
Staying busy as ever, the Lions Club is already planning their next event, the 65th Annual Memphis City Park Opener.
Known as “the official start of summer,” the event will be held at 6 p.m. May 14. Tickets, which are $6, can be purchased from any Lions Club member.
Encouraging residents to attend, Ballen said it’s exciting to see things returning to normal after being forced to cancel the event last year due to COVID-19.
“We’ve been rained out before and had to reschedule, but we’ve never had to cancel until last year,” Ballen said. “So it’s encouraging to see that people are ready to get back to normal.”
With entertainment from the Golden Cyclone Band, over 150 prizes will be awarded and over 400 hamburgers cooked at the event.
“It’s tradition,” Carroll said. “People love it, and we have fun doing it.”
The Memphis Lions Club meets at noon on Wednesdays at the Memphis Community Center, 721 Robe