Jonathan Fagan, The Murfreesboro Post, October 16, 2011
Truman Jones Started work at the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office in 1972, before rising to Chief Deputy under Sheriff Craig Snell and being elected Rutherford County Sheriff.
He served for 27 years as Sheriff of Rutherford County from 1983 until 2010.
Jones now airs one of the most popular radio shows in the county, The Truman Show, on Murfreesboro’s own WGNS station.
Truman sat down with Post reporter Jonathon Fagan to talk about the show and how he has become one of Rutherford County’s most popular radio personalities.
Q: It’s quite a career change from High Sheriff to radio broadcaster. How did you come to decide that you wanted a radio show?
A: Bart Walker and I had talked about it, and he expressed interest in me coming to work over here and doing some interviews, having my own show.
I think one of the reasons is I’ve known a great number of people in Rutherford County over the years.
I know the history.
Rutherford County has been very good to me and it was something that I wanted to share – some of the knowledge that so many bright people have about the community, how their families have contributed to the community and have brought it to where we are today. Every person has a story.
I grew up listening to stories when I was a kid. My great grandmother McFarlin would tell me stories about life in the 1800s. The sad thing is a lot of that is lost history because people haven’t carried these stories on for future generations, and that’s part of the beauty of the show.
Q: Will these shows be archived for future generations?
A: Yes. People have said we have a history show that’s fun. A lot of times these stories get told around the coffee table but no one ever thought to share them to a large audience. A lot of people come on and tell stories about great things their family members did, and then say they didn’t realize just how great they were until they told it on the radio. … I was fortunate to grow up in a time when everyone was truly equal, and your story was just as important as someone else’s.
I think it’s important for people to be proud of the family they grow up in. Everyone has a great story and everybody is a contributor.
Q: Did you have any previous experience in radio?
No. Just the monthly law enforcement show we had on WGNS. I had a great rapport with Bart Walker. We worked well together, and he could see that I enjoyed the people – enjoyed talking to them.
I just rue the fact that some people put other people down. I had to deal with people from all levels as sheriff and I always thought each was interesting. It’s a lesson in humanity working in the position I did. I got to know so many people from all walks of life.
Q: What are some of the most memorable guests you’ve had so far?
A: Gosh, they’re all memorable! Some I played ball with as a kid and grew up with like Bud Mitchell. Some of the great coaches and teachers have been absolutely entertaining. They’re legends. Larry Stewart, Coon Victory and Jack Jolly are baseball legends. I don’t want to leave anybody out because I’ve had hundreds of guests already and every one of them has been great.
James Clyburn was one of the best race car drivers we ever had around here. I had Raymond Berry on who is in the NFL Hall of Fame and one of the greatest receivers ever. Jimmy C. Newman is one of the greatest entertainers of the Grand Ol’ Opry and a great friend. All of these people are friends. Greg Tucker is one of the greatest historians ever, and he’s on every Tuesday. We also had Roy Rogers’ daughter on. Freddy Goodwin brought her on. He’s the only one I’ve heard who can sing like Bob Nolan in the Sons of the Pioneers.
Q: I heard Charlie Pitts took over your show once.
A: Oh yeah, he came over. I let him in the door, and I lost control after that.
Q: Did you tell him to get his own show from now on, or did you install a mute button so you can take back control in the future?
A: Oh, no. Next time he comes on, I’ll bring a seven-course meal, go over to the table, and dine while he takes over.
Q: If someone wants to hear that show with Charlie or any other past show they missed, can they go online and hear it?
A: Yes. You can go to wgnsradio.com, click on ‘podcasts’ and it will bring up a list of archived shows.
Q: Who are some of your upcoming guests?
A: I try to leave spots open so I can pick guests that match current events like the Murfreesboro Bicentennial and MTSU Centennial. Monday is Mike Courtney, Tuesday is Greg Tucker, and Wednesday is Mo Brown and Peggy Vaught, which will definitely be a great show.
Q: Is it possible you might be having too much fun for an ex-Sheriff?
A: I don’t think you can have too much fun. I don’t think you should ever take yourself too seriously. I enjoy it. Most of my guests are people I know.
Some are a little nervous at first. I never will forget Paul Nipper who was one of the Nipper boys that played for Kittrell. Bud Mitchell called and asked to bring him on, and I could hear him holler in the background, “I’m not comin’!” Next thing I know Bud and Paul show up, and Paul faces away from the mic, wouldn’t talk on the radio. But once we started talking about Jimmy ‘Monk’ Montgomery and Kittrell, he took over the whole show and loved it. So many people tell me what fun they had once we finish the show.
Q: How long have you been doing the show?
A: Since the first week of January – 10 months.
Q: How often does the show air?
A: Monday through Friday, 2-3pm on WGNS – AM 1450, FM 101.9.