Philip Rodney Watlington
Philip Rodney Watlington, of Danville, Va., passed away Sunday, October 18, 2020, at Chatham Health and Rehab Center.
Born in Reidsville, N.C., he was a son of the late Turner and Wilma Watlington.
Phil came to WBTM in 1962 where he did the afternoon show from 1-5. He worked with the likes of Jim Crawford, Ann Siddle, David Luther, Ned Richardson, Leon Smith, and Bill Schwarz. In those days he played the music of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Ray Conniff, Percy Faith, Peggy Lee, Anita Bryant among others. Phil was also the Production Director where he truly excelled producing and making commercials and promos with that golden voice of his. He was so good, New York City tried to recruit him, but Phil turned down the offer to stay at WBTM. Early in his career at BTM, Phil set, the then, world record for the number of revolutions on a Ferris wheel...9,095!
Phil eventually left the air to assume other duties that would come his way. He and Ann Siddle started WBTM-FM, playing what was considered "beautiful music" at the time. It was 100,000 watts, automated, and was heard 24/7. A few years later, the call letters were changed to WAKG and country music became the order of the day.
As the years went by, Phil took on other duties and responsibilities. One of those was a weekly air shift Sunday mornings on WBTM called the "Swing Shift" where he replaced the legendary Ned Richardson who had passed. Even though Phil was a huge fan of 50's music, he took to the big band era like a duck to water, even sprinkling in some of those 50's artists.
Phil was well read, incredibly bright, and extremely talented. He had a quick wit and a great sense of humor. Phil concluded his career at Piedmont Broadcasting Corporation September 30, 2013 after 51 years of service, the longest tenured employee. Phil will be sorely missed by his co-workers and those who knew him best.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Keith and Bryan Watlington, both of Reidsville. He is survived by his nephew, Keith D. Watlington Jr. of Houston, Texas.
Special thanks to Bill Garrett and his wife Voinda of Danville who helped support and comfort Phil in a most difficult time.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, October 31, 2020, from 2 until 4 p.m. at Townes Funeral Home.
Townes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Watlington family. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.townesfuneralhome.com
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Published by Danville and Rockingham County on Oct. 25, 2020.