Luther Masingill has been reuniting lost dogs with their owners for the past seven decades of his career as a radio announcer. His work has earned him a top industry honor.
Masingill, 90, describes the first time he reunited a listener with her lost companion. A man had found a lost dog and contacted the Chattanooga radio station in hopes of locating the owner.
Then, the woman called.
“Very anxious, very much upset,” he remembers of the woman. “She wanted to find the dog before her children got home from school. Here’s somebody who’s so upset and why not help her if I can.”
Masingill began his career in radio at the age of 17. A man who was about to put a new station on the air asked Masingill to audition. Although he thought he might end up just answering the telephone for the station, he was offered a part-time position as a “cub announcer.”
Although Masingill has received offers from other radio stations across the country, he has always turned them down.
“I love the city,” Masingill said of Chattanooga. “It’s just the right size for me.”
Seven decades later, Masingill is still co-host of the morning show, and still reuniting lost dogs with their distraught owners.
The radio station has even created a website, “Luther’s Page,” dedicated to Masingill’s work. “It features separate searches for dogs and cats, missing and found…and other pets.
“It’s become dogs, cats, horses, mules, and once a small alligator,” Masingill said.
At times, Masingill runs into people who thank him for reuniting them with their pets – sometimes 20 years ago.
For his work, the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame has included Masingill on its initial class of inductees this spring. Also, he is among only seven professionals who will be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago on November 10.