Press Contact: Teri L. Sullivan
September 30, 2010
For Immediate Release
Mr. Chuck Announces His Retirement from WKNO
Television personality and community education advocate Charles A. “Mr. Chuck” Scruggs, has announced he is stepping down as WKNO’s Education Manager and Ready To Learn Coordinator, as of September 30, 2010. His immediate plans include writing a memoir of his life experiences in radio and television and continuing to work with his church’s children’s baseball league.
Scruggs, 78, who came to WKNO in 1993, is best known as the host of the popular children’s show Hello, Mr. Chuck! As Education Manager, Scruggs spearheaded an ongoing community partnership among WKNO Ready to Learn and Memphis City Schools, the Memphis Public Library, head start programs, child care centers and community service agencies. He has been a passionate voice for family and community support for early childhood literacy.
“I want to thank WKNO and PBS for the experiences I’ve had, creating many friendships among parents and children, all of whom I like to call ‘my friends,’” said Chuck Scruggs. He hopes to continue to encourage loving parents to be the best they can be for the short, crucial period of their children’s early development.
“Few people embody the educational mission of public broadcasting as thoroughly as Charles Scruggs,” said Michael LaBonia, WKNO President and CEO. “We look forward to keeping ‘Mr. Chuck’ on the air for years to come.”
A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chuck Scruggs was a sixteen-year-old high school student when he began hosting his first regular radio program, “Wake up with Bugs,” on WDXB, a Country and Western Station. He continued to work as a disc jockey while studying business administration at Tennessee A&I State University, then pursued a degree in Broadcast Communications at the University of Cincinnati.
During a long career as a top-rated on-air radio personality in Nashville, Cincinnati, and San Francisco, Scruggs worked through the ranks of management to become a seasoned, knowledgeable radio station executive. He came to Memphis in 1972 as VP-General Manager of WDIA, the nation’s first black-programmed radio station, and managed the AM and FM stations for 12 years.
His career took a new turn when he came to WKNO in 1993. As the host of #10 Friends Circle, the station’s weekday morning children’s show lineup featuring national PBS programs, “Mr. Chuck” rapidly became one of Memphis’ most recognized television personalities.
His own weekly half-hour show Sundays at Mr. Chuck’s, was launched in January 1995. The show was renamed in 1997 as it became a fixture in the weekday schedule. Hello, Mr. Chuck! has been part of WKNO’s lineup of children’s programs and is also seen on PBS stations in several other cities in Tennessee and the northeast.
In 2005, Chuck Scruggs was presented an Emmy Award by the Southeast Region National Academy of Arts and Sciences for the series. Hello, Mr. Chuck! has also received the Parents Choice Award.
“I am very proud to have worked with Chuck,” said Shawn Kelly, who produced Hello, Mr. Chuck! from 1998-2001. “He believed that the point of entry to make the most impact on the entire educational cycle is from birth to 5 years of age – focusing on early childhood parents as much as the children. Seeing a man like Mr. Chuck take the time to play or read with very young children is needed in our community.”
Chuck Scruggs has been personally honored for his contributions to the community, including the National Civil Rights Museum/Memphis Grizzlies Martin Luther King Award; Memphis City Schools Outstanding Support and Community Service; Memphis Family Child Care Association Child Advocacy Award; Tennessee Social Welfare Association Child Advocacy Award; and National Conference for Community and Justice Regional Humanitarian Award.
In 2009, Mr. Chuck began taping new material for Hello Friends!, a two-hour weekday morning block of children’s programs with Mr. Chuck appearing as the local host between shows. Hello Friends! will continue to air on WKNO.
Chuck Scruggs is also one of the founders of the Lorraine Civil Rights Museum Foundation, now the National Civil Rights Museum Foundation. He served as the organization’s first president from 1983-1991.
He is married to Imogene A. Scruggs and is the father of two sons, grandfather of eight grandchildren, and great grandfather of three.
WKNO is a non-profit, private foundation serving the Mid-South for more than 50 years.
An important community resource, WKNO uses the power of non-commercial public broadcasting to provide the Mid-South with quality educational and cultural programs that inform, entertain, and inspire. For more information: wkno.org.
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