Uncle Len with George Jones at the Star Plaza Theatre in Nov 2004
Country music legend George Jones has died. Jones was hospitalized last month in Nashville. When George Jones – a-k-a “The Possum” – performed at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, in November 2004, he was part of a mini-reunion that helped Radio One Communications mark 40 years of broadcasting in Northwest Indiana. Company founder Leonard J. Ellis – known as “Uncle Len” from his on-air days -- says he remembers bringing the future country music hall-of-famer to local shows at the Hammond Civic Center back in the 1950s when Ellis worked as a concert promoter.
After being first in line to greet Jones backstage, during the “meet-and-greet”, Uncle Len came out on stage just before Jones’ performance to thank the crowd for coming out and to reminisce a little about his own long history in country music. Ellis and his wife Bee founded the company that today is known as Radio One Communications, going on the air with their first radio station, WAYK-AM AM-1500 in November 1964.