NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — This weekend, NewsChannel 5 will say final goodbyes to our longtime former General Manager, Tom Ervin.
"I was so touched and blessed to have known Tom Ervin; a great man," said former NewsChannel 5 Sports Director Hope Hines. "I respected him, I loved him, he was a man of integrity."
Ervin's start at the station was humble. "He would thread the projector. That was his job," explained Chris Clark, a former NewsChannel 5 Anchor and News Director. "That was about as low on the totem pole as you could get."
But over 40 years, Ervin rose from the film room to the boardroom, eventually serving as President and General Manager of WTVF-TV. "He came to work before anyone else got there and was often there until 10 or 11 o’clock at night," remembered Hines.
By all accounts, Ervin was meticulous and a perfectionist. Chris Clark recalled a story where Ervin obsessed for 20 minutes over the color of a graphic in the newscast with only about 10 minutes before they went live. "No matter how good you did, no matter how high the ratings, the question was always -- why aren’t we better?" said Clark.
But that determination paid off in 1974 when NewsChannel 5 became the second TV station in the country to develop technology to broadcast a reporter live in the field.
Ervin applied that same management style to philanthropy too. Hope says Ervin enjoyed the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon so much, he would stay at work around the clock. "Tom was back there every hour. He never went to sleep during that telethon. Just keeping track of the money that was coming in," said Hines.
Clark remembered Ervin personally coming into his office and making sure he was donating to the United Way of Middle Tennessee during one of their campaign fundraisers. "If he was going to head up the United Way, it was going to be the best United Way campaign ever, and it was. Everything he did was like that. He devoted himself like that," said Clark.
But it was away from our downtown studios where Tom found his greatest joy -- his family. "He bragged to me one time -- 'you know what my daughters are calling me?' I said 'no Tom, what?' 'Big Daddy.' I said 'Big Daddy?' He said - 'yea, isn’t that great?'" said Clark.
While his TV family at NewsChannel 5 is sad to say farewell, we feel so lucky we had him behind the scenes.
"Tom was in my life for a long long time and I’m thankful for that," said Hines.