Longtime Grand Ole Opry announcer and General Manager Hal Durham passed away last weekend at his home in Cape Coral, Florida. He was 77. A native of McMinnville, Tennessee, Durham started his career at Knoxville’s WROL while he was still attending the University of Tennessee. In 1964, he moved to Nashville to work at WSM as Opry announcer and on-air personality. He then moved from jobs as WSM’s Program Director to Opry Manager, and finally, to Opry General Manager from 1978 to 1993. During Durham’s tenure, the Opry inducted the following members: John Conlee (1981), Boxcar Willie (1981), Ricky Skaggs (1982), Riders in the Sky (1982), The Whites (1984), Lorrie Morgan (1984), Johnny Russell (1985), Mel McDaniel (1986), Reba McEntire (1986), Randy Travis (1986), Roy Clark (1987), Ricky Van Shelton (1988), Patty Loveless (1988), Holly Dunn (1989), Mike Snider (1990), Garth Brooks (1990), Clint Black (1991), Alan Jackson (1991), Vince Gill (1991), Emmylou Harris (1992), Travis Tritt (1992), Marty Stuart (1992), Charley Pride (1993) and Alison Krauss (1993). Durham is credited with updating the Grand Ole Opry, relaxing attendance requirements by members and clearing the way for the use of drums onstage. A baseball fan, Durham retired to Florida in 1996 where he was a regular attendee at preseason games.
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