The Rev. T.J. Graham — the revolutionary WVOL disc jockey who wildly and, at times, bafflingly veered between firebrand conservative and old-school liberal during his thought-provoking afternoon talk show — died Monday of an undisclosed cause. He was 50.
Graham, whose given name was Anthony Hyde, was widely considered Nashville’s most controversial and intriguing radio personality. He was known for his tireless research of multiple topics and his flamboyant verbal style. Listeners either embraced the man — or loathed him.
John Heidelberg, WVOL president, said the public response to Graham’s death has been “overwhelming.”
“I [have been] inundated with calls,” Heidelberg said.
Heidelberg, known for giving Oprah Winfrey her start in radio, said he pushed Graham to be controversial. However, the outspoken talk radio host learned how to straddle the cliff’s edge of decency without careening over it. At least most of the time.
“There will never be another T.J.,” said Heidelberg, who will handle Graham’s afternoon spot for the time being. “He was one of a kind. He had a quality that fit well for the program.”
A wake for Hyde will be held between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday at Nashville-based Corinthian Missionary Baptist, located at 819 33rd Ave. N. A funeral is slated for noon Saturday in Springfield, Hyde’s hometown. A location will soon be announced.