Mike Kelly was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He still lives there with his son, Dane.
Mike became interested in broadcasting while at Oak Ridge High School. Early on he hosted a show on the school radio station, WCAT, for two years. After attending UT Chattanooga where he earned a BS degree and played football, Mike started a 20 plus year career in the Government/Corporate Security industry.
In 1997, Mike accepted and offer to join a new Americana/Bluegrass station in Knoxville. He worked at WDVX for 15 years. 96.7 Merle was fortunate he brought his Bluegrass/Country Gospel show to 96.7 Merle on July 14, 2013. He is a fan of numerous types of music, but bluegrass, country, and gospel, are his favorites.
We are grateful to have Mike Kelly as a part of the 96.7 Merle tribe playing Your Forgotten Favorites & Only The New Country You Love. That’s 96.7 Merle.
What do you love about country music?
Country music can get you thru difficult times and help you celebrate good ones. I can hear a certain song and it can bring back a good memory or make me think of friends or places I miss. A great song/artist can stay with you forever.
What do you like about being on the radio?
Hosting a specialty show like “Sunday Morning in the South on 96.7 Merle” has always been a blessing. I hear from people in various places throughout the world believe it or not. My show serves as church for many people who can’t make it to services on a regular basis. Others listen on their way to church and tell me it gets their Sunday morning off to a great start. That makes getting up and putting this show together each Sunday so valuable to me.
Who is your favorite country legend?
I can’t name just one. I love Merle Haggard, George Strait, Dolly Parton, and Vince Gill. That’s the thing about country legends. The history of country music is so rich. Favorite legends are different for everyone. That’s why having a station like 96.7 Merle in East Tennessee is so important and different. So much great music and we haven’t forgotten your favorites.
Who is your favorite new country star?
I like music and artists that are really passionate and don’t fit the Nashville music machine. Ashley McBryde and Chris Stapleton are good examples.
96.7 Merle makes a big deal out of playing the songs other country stations seem to be missing these days. With such a rich variety of artists and different kinds of songs, how do you feel about mixing it all together?
Merle fills a void for people like me. We love the older artists we grew up with but also appreciate several of the new ones as well. You get both on 96.7 Merle. It’s a perfect mix for me.
When you are on the air, how do you make it special for someone just tuning in to 96.7 Merle?
I receive several requests during my show. I am usually able to fulfill most of them and that makes it special for the listener. Gospel music means so much to so many people. I hear from listeners who said I just played their late loved ones favorite song or they hear a brand new song that really hit home for them. That is a good feeling. I also take pride in supporting local artists as much as I can.