Legendary Stellar Award and NAACP Award-winning radio announcer Connie Denell Cato-Dickerson has passed away. She was 65. Dennell was the gospel voice for Nashville's 92Q for almost four decades and miraculously survived four strokes and 21 surgeries in a period of 5 years and extremely high blood pressure. She retired from radio in 2017 and was in need of a kidney transplant. Funeral plans have not been announced.
The daughter of radio legend Evelyn Cato, the first black female disc-jockey in the Southeast, Denell started as a sports reporter for her school newspaper while attending Riverside High School in Chattanooga, TN. She worked for two local Chattanooga radio stations, WNOO AM and WNTP, hosting the Quiet Storm shows before attending the famed Morris-Brown College, a historically black college in Atlanta, GA. Denell went on to attend Georgia State University and worked at the local Atlanta radio station WAOK FM on the campus of Clark-Atlanta University.
In the early 80s, Denell married and relocated to Music City, Nashville, TN, where her career took off. She worked briefly at WLAC radio doing the news. Later, she joined the Nashville-based television network TNN and became the first black talent coordinator to book country music artists on nationally televised Music City Tonight, hosted by legendary country music artist Ralph Emery. Denell went on to work with the Charlie Chase and Lorraine Crook Show, as well as with Dick Clark Productions and Rac Clark on the popular show, Prime Time Country, hosted by Gary Chapman.
In 1983, Denell worked as the Morning Show Host for 92.1 WQQK FM and news reporter for WVOL AM in Nashville. By 2000, she made the shift from R&B to Gospel, launching 92Q's hugely popular radio show, Gospel Inspirations, which aired Sunday mornings and earned her the beloved title of "The Gospel Diva." Gospel Inspirations quickly became one of the most listened to radio shows in the Music City, thereby accrediting her with laying the blueprint for Black Gospel in Nashville. She retired from 92Q in December 2017, after 37 years with the company.
Condolences have been flooding here.
She was one of a kind! Always kind to me, a staple in Gospel radio! Connie, we love you and you will be missed!
Senator Brenda Gilmore, Tennessee 19th District:
Connie was a friend to Nashville. She had the unique quality of making everyone feel special and that they were her one special friend. Her spirit, her smile and her legacy will live forever in my heart. I miss her already but the lessons she taught us to love will be forever treasured
Motown Gospel Records:
Connie's passion for gospel music, and the artists who create it was unparalleled. She was a major contributor to the success of so many of the artists on the Motown Gospel roster, and across our entire industry. Thank you, Connie, for your service and your love. You will be missed on Earth. Prayers for all family and friends, and her beloved station home of 92Q in Nashville.
Dr. Bobby Jones:
Losing Connie has certainly been an uncomfortable situation for me.However, to know that I was able to play a part in her life makes me smile. I am blessed to know that I was able to give something to another soldier that has gone home to be with the Lord.