Houston Pearce, the founder of several Tuscaloosa-area radio stations, died Friday morning, according to information from the Alabama Broadcasters Association.

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"Another Alabama radio icon has passed," ABA President Sharon Tinsley said in a statement. "Houston Pearce was larger than life. He was a dear friend. Houston always had a joke and a smile. This morning, as I spoke with some of the people closest to him through his career, I've heard a few great stories that made me laugh. I know that's how we'll remember Houston."

Pearce's radio career began in 1959, when he and a few friends built a small-power radio station in Butler, Alabama shortly after he left the U.S. Army. From that humble seed, he and his wife Voncile built a small empire of local radio stations in that included properties in Centreville, Tuscaloosa, Jasper, Meridian and Pascagoula.

Pearce was a longtime resident of Tuscaloosa and founded the stations now known as WTUG (92.9), WTSK (Praise 93.3), WQRR (ALT 101.7) and WALJ (105.1 The Block).

Pearce and Voncile ultimately sold their Tuscaloosa stations to Citadel Broadcasting Corporation in 2006 and began a life of semi-retirement together.

Citadel was acquired by Cumulis Media, Inc. in 2011, which sold the cluster of stations to Townsquare Media in 2012. Townsquare still owns and operates eight local stations here and launched the Tuscaloosa Thread in 2020.

Market President David DuBose and the entire team at Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa extend our thoughts and prayers to Pearce's wife, his three children Christie, Dean and Susan, his six grandchildren and other loved ones during this time of bereavement.

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