Hallerin Hill
Tom Ingram
Dr. Robert Overholt
Gloria Ray
Wayne Ritchie


Hallerin Hill

Who is he?
The dean of Knoxville talk radio. Hollerin' Hallerin Hilton Hill holds forth every weekday from 6-10 a.m. on WNOX 990 AM/99 FM. Pretty much everybody in town has been on the show, most of them more than once. He talks politics, religion, education, pop culture, you name it. Also has a successful sideline as a songwriter (for Whitney Houston, among others).

Political traits:
Likes to talk.

Unpolitical traits:
Likes to listen.

Has he ever thought about running for office?
"I've never seriously considered it, but the thought has crossed my mind. Knowing what I know about politics, I don't feel that inclination."

What doesn't he like about politics?
"The lack of focus on results, it being more about personalities...We get sidetracked on too many side issues."

If he did run, what would be his campaign slogan?
"I don't know. I know the word 'excellence' needs to be in the slogan, I know 'working together' needs to be in the slogan, but I don't know how to put that together."

"What I aspire to be is Hallerin Hill's campaign manager."—former State Rep. Wayne Ritchie (see below).

What would be the goals of his administration?
"Creating a shared vision of what Knoxville is, creating a shared vision of what Knoxville wants to be in the future, and creating a shared commitment to doing the things that will bring that."

Anything more, um, specific?
"I would love to see us pick one or two things we're going to do in terms of economic and cultural development that we're all going to get behind, all four sectors—north, south, east, and west." Then he'd have each sector of the city also identify a couple of major projects—business parks, recreation areas, etc.—and work on them. "I don't think you can do 50 things well. I think you ought to focus on a couple things."

City he cites as doing this well:
Portland, Oregon.

Provide more support to the school system. "Interface" with TVA and UT in planning for the city's future.

Are there common skills between talk-show hosting and mayoring?
"I think I can think on my feet. [Fact—Hill does his entire morning broadcast standing up.] But I've never been mayor. That's a whole different animal. From just a purely technical standpoint of just the day to day work of a city, I think Mayor Ashe gets it done. He's very efficient. I would have to learn that level of day to day efficiency."

What would he want as his mayoral legacy?
"One, that the citizens were well-served by the government, that they always felt like we were busting our butts to give them the best value. Two, that I cared enough to listen to what they wanted. Three, that I brought people together. And maybe number four would be, 'What'd you say his name was?' Because that would imply that lots of people got involved."

Who would he name a street after?
"Street naming is pretty worthless to me. It's publicity for that day...It doesn't keep on producing some kind of good in the community, so I wouldn't name a street. I think the neatest thing you can do is endow something in somebody's name, something that keeps on producing good."

Would he sing at his inauguration?
"I doubt it. But I tell you this—the singing at my inauguration would be really good. It would be a wonderful celebration from a musical standpoint. [Chuckles.] 'Cause I got friends!"