Kenny Hawkins

Kenny is one of our native Tennesseans, born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. During his early years, Kenny played basketball, softball, and football before blowing out a knee during a game. Not to be discouraged, Kenny helped create a high school sports show called “Sportscenter 7,” which aired on local cable stations in Oak Ridge, Oliver Springs, and Clinton.

Kenny moved north to Johnson City in 1983 to attend East Tennessee State University, graduating four years later with a degree in Mass Communications. During that time he interned at another television station in the Tri-Cities and worked at WQUT-FM as a night time DJ.

In 1986, he joined WJHL-TV as a videographer. Three years later, he became Assistant Sports Director. In 1992, he was promoted to Sports Director. During Kenny’s tenure, WJHL-TV’s sports department has won numerous awards, including Best Sports Story, Best Sports Video, best Sports Talk Show and the Tennessee Associated Press award for Best Sportscast.

In 2004, he claimed the Virginia Associated Press award for best sports department, the only station to be located outside of the state to win that honor.

Kenny was also inducted into the ETSU Communications Department Hall of Fame in 2005.

Kenny says his favorite sport to cover is football on both the high school and college levels. He has a lot of respect for small colleges like Carson-Newman, Tusculum, Emory & Henry and UVA-Wise, “but nothing beats over 100,000 fans at Neyland Stadium on a Saturday.

His all-time favorite game: “The Vols 1998 National Championship game in Tempe, Arizona when they defeated Florida State.

Kenny is also co-host of the radio show the “Morning Monster” on WXSM Cumulus radio 640AM in the mornings three days a week.

Kenny is heavily involved in the community. His charitable work over the years have involved working with the United Way, Relay for Life, Speedway Children’s Charities, Doe River Gorge, St. Jude’s and the Diabetes Association to name a few.

In fact Kenny is co-founder/honorary chairman of the Tri-Cities chapter for Step Out Walk for Diabetes which has raised around a million dollars.

Kenny is the father of twin daughters.

Here are some fun facts answered by Kenny:

Favorite story you’ve covered at WJHL: 1998 Tennessee winning the football national championship

Celebrity you’ve either met or seen while on the job: Hall of famer, Michael Jordan

First concert you attended (What band/musician, when and where): The Jackson 5 in Knoxville in 1984

Your journalism role model (Reporter/anchor you’ve looked up to throughout your career): Bryant Gumbel

One class you hated (but had to take) in college: Comm. Law (only because it was at 8 a.m.)

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