Nashville producer/director Bayron Binkley died at age 89 on Monday (April 25).
Known as “Bink,” he was one of the first television executives to specialize in country music. He created local programming at WSMV-TV in the 1950s and 1960s, worked on country stars’ syndicated shows of the 1960s and 1970s, then graduated to cable television when TNN was launched as The Nashville Network in the 1980s and 1990s. Binkley produced and/or directed specials for such stars as Willie Nelson.
After graduating from Lipscomb High School, Bayron Binkley began his career in Nashville by working as a cameraman at WSMV in the late 1950s. He created a children’s TV character named “Happy A. Clown” and portrayed him for several years before shifting to directing local series such as Opry Almanac, The Ralph Emery Show and The Noon Show. He also provided stories for the station’s evening news telecasts.
The WSMV studios were used as locations for the production of weekly country-music series that were nationally syndicated by Show Biz. Binkley became the producer/director for the shows hosted by Flatt & Scruggs, Jim Ed Brown, Kitty Wells & Johnny Wright, Del Reeves and others. He also created programming for Opryland Productions. In 1981, he created the groundbreaking cable series Nashville Alive.
When TNN launched in 1983, Binkley was tapped to create some of its early shows. These included Church Street Station (1984), New Country (1986) and Rock n Roll Palace (1988). He created TNN specials for such stars as Bobby Goldsboro (1989), Ricky Van Shelton (1989) and Willie Nelson (1990).
In 2005, he directed the all-star special celebrating Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.
Bayron Binkley was known for his ebullient, larger-than-life personality, sense of humor and fun-loving spirit. He made many close friendships with country music’s stars.
He is survived by sons Bayron Jr. and Blair, by six grandchildren, six great grandchildren and by numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
There will be a visitation with the family on Thursday (May 5) from 6-8 p.m. at the Church of Christ of Green Hills, 3805 Granny White Pike adjoining Lipscomb Academy. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the charities of your choice.