Legendary Portsmouth, Ohio deejay Earcel "Zeke" Mullins dead at 93, life celebrated
PORTSMOUTH, OH -
Legendary local country music deejay, Earcel "Zeke" Mullins will be remembered for many things, including for the song he started all his broadcasts with.
"I love my wife. I love my baby. I love my biscuits sopped in gravy," the opening song begins.
His daughter, Lisa, gets teary-eyed as she lip-syncs to the song.
Zeke died on Wednesday night at the age of 93. In addition to being a deejay, Zeke was also an author.
He worked mainly out of Portsmouth, Ohio, but touched lives everywhere.
On Thursday, we met with his children, who shared stories about Zeke's off-the-cuff style.
They say he was so respected, in part, because he was a contrarian.
"They wanted him to do stuff their way, but he was just going to do it his way," says Zeke's son, Larry Mullins. "That's the way he was successful."
Zeke performed his own songs, delivered news headlines with his own twists and even sold advertising himself for his morning, noon and afternoon radio shows mainly on WPAY radio.
His presence in the community and his casual tone on the air made him a hit.
He got hundreds of letters everyday.
"He's transcendent in many ways," says Portsmouth Daily Times writer, Frank Lewis, who was mentored by Zeke as a teenager which led to Lewis's 40-year career in radio.
"He was never a performer," says Lewis. "He simply sat down and talked, just like you would sit down across the table and talk. That's just the way he was...He didn't have listeners. He had followers."
Zeke's family tells us how he was once reading a story about a woman who had her baby on Grant Bridge, and that afterward he said she should name the child 'Bridgette Grant.' She did.
"That's the kind of effect he had on people," says Larry. "He was like part of their families."
After he was named America's Deejay of the Year in 1959, Zeke got a small part in the first episode of 'Route 66,' a CBS series that ran for four years.
Zeke basically did it all, while being himself the whole time.
"Everything that you heard on the radio was him," says Larry.
Zeke's family says the radio pioneer was not a big fan of the scripted radio performance, which was the norm when Zeke first got into radio.
Neither did he morph his voice into a deep, calculated radio voice. He was just himself.
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