TOP PHOTO: WLAF remembers Frank Payne today.

By Jim Freeman

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – WLAF remembers one of its alums today, Frank Payne. Payne, who passed on Saturday, will be laid to rest this afternoon.

Payne’s career in communications spanned the mediums from the early days in the Air Force to being on YouTube or Facebook now days. Whatever Frank was doing, it likely involved communicating in some form or fashion.

Some of the random thoughts and memories I have of Frank quickly surfaced after hearing the sad news over the weekend.

Frank spent time on the air here at WLAF in the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1980s, his son Marc was WLAF’s morning man. One of the fun things Frank and Marc did was host the WLAF Trading Post together the Friday before Fathers Day.

Frank Payne was a life long communicator.

A woman called in one morning while Frank was on the air and asked him why there wasn’t anything on the air. Frank had let a record run out and didn’t know it right away. He told the caller that she caught him with his records down.

WLAF has a website because of Frank. Frank was the person who launched the site for WLAF in 2010. We continue to follow his format, and it works. The site is the most viewed in the community.

For several years, we had wanted to host a live camera somewhere here in town over WLAF. Last December, I called Frank for some advice, and he immediately had a game plan. As a result, the WLAF – Ben Rogers Building camera is up and running.

Frank Payne was 27-years old in this radio station photo.

He worked at Bechtel Engineering as a system analyst and somewhere along the way, the project he was a part of was up at the end of the day meaning he was out of work at close of business. Sometime that day, he was on the elevator with someone else at Bechtel; a person he didn’t know. They struck up a conversation and as they exited the elevator, the man told Frank to come join his department the next morning.

After retiring from Bechtel, Frank was contracted to work with a branch of the federal government. He had to have special clearance for this post working with highly classified information. His first day they sat him down at a computer, and he went to work. By lunch time, they asked him what he thought, and he said I think the first thing we need to do is beef up your security. Puzzled, he was asked why. Frank said, I’ve only been here a few hours, and I’ve accessed everything you have.

Whether in jeans and boots or coat and tie, Frank was right at home.

We miss you already, Frank. Thank you for everything. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 09/28/2021-6AM)

5 Replies to “Communication was Payne’s cornerstone”

  1. Frank was the most intelligent man I ever known, he was our Senior Mens Sunday School Class teacher. He told us on a few occasions that he was reluctant to take the position, but he said : ” If God can use a donkey, he can use me”…
    Note: In the Bible, God speaks from the mouth of a donkey.

  2. Frank will be missed by so many of us. I always read, with interest, all of his posts on Facebook. He was very intelligent and analytical and very innovative. He was the ultimate communicator. His most recent project was the Anything Vintage and Civil War site. It immediately became a popular site for many of us. We will sorely miss you Frank Payne. We know you are now resting in God’s eternal peace. God bless Pat and the family.

  3. Many people may not know but Frank was our producer on our Graham Brothers album back in 1974 in Nashville. As a seventeen year old I knew nothing of Nashville, or much of anything and if it wasn’t for Frank being with us three teenage boys we would have certainly been lost. Frank was great at keeping things loose while still getting the most out of you. On behalf of Ray, (the late) Kenneth and David thank you Frank for launching our career way back then. You will be missed my friend.

  4. I remember Frank from many years ago growing up in Indiana Ave. Baptist Church when he and Pat went to Church there and have known them all my life. He was great guy then and continued to be throughout the years. May God comfort and be with the family during this time. He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him.

  5. I can remember visiting the station to see dad when i was a kid. I can still remember the smell which in those days was a mixture of audio tape, hot electronic equipment, and cigarette smoke.
    Somewhere i have a copy of dad and I doing the Trading Post as Jim mentioned in the story. We had a great time doing those broadcasts.

    The word genius gets thrown around often when someone is good at one particular thing. But my dad truly was a genius because he was good or great at everything he endeavored to do.

    My dad’s legacy will cast a mighty long shadow, and though early Saturday be let go of what tethered him to this world, he will live on in the hearts of those who knew him or followed him on social media.

    Jim, on behalf of our family…thank you.

Comments are closed.