Philip Carr “Phil” Valentine, nationally acclaimed radio talk show host, passed away on August 21, 2021 at the age of 61 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Phil is survived by his wife, Susan Shirley Valentine; his children, Carr, Campbell, and Douglas; his siblings, Steve Valentine, Mark Valentine (Tonja), and Beth Dollar (Steven); his stepmother, Barbara Valentine; and his beloved in-laws and extended family.
The son of the late Congressman Tim Valentine and the late Betsy Carr Valentine, Phil was born on September 9, 1959 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Growing up a few miles away in Nashville, North Carolina, Phil graduated from Northern Nash High School. After a brief stint at East Carolina University, Phil enrolled in broadcasting school at Carolina School of Broadcasting.
Within a year of graduating, Phil landed his first radio job, and spent several years in a small market near his hometown before working in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1985, Phil packed up everything he owned and moved to Nashville, Tennessee on nothing but faith. Within a week, he had secured a part-time job in music radio. After three months, it would become a full-time position. From there, Phil began to work his way up the ladder, eventually landing at WLAC-FM. Just three years later, he would have one of the highest rated morning shows in Nashville and was voted by readers of The Tennessean as “DJ of the Year.”
Phil was then given an opportunity in talk radio when WWTN offered him a position as a morning host. In June of 1995, The Phil Valentine Show was born, finding an instant audience. Following the show’s success, Phil was offered yet another job, this time for WWDB in Philadelphia. In his first year, he won three AIR Awards (Achievement in Radio) for Best Talk Show, Best New Talent, and Best Morning Show Host or Team—a first in radio history.
Following his success in one of the country’s largest radio markets, Phil returned home to Nashville, Tennessee in 1998. Back at WLAC, he and his long-time friend and producer John “Johnny B” Bozeman worked their way to the top of the Nashville market. Simultaneously, the pair led the fight against a state income tax in Tennessee. The issue reached a fever pitch in 2002 when throngs of protestors energized by talk radio honked their car horns outside the Capitol, ultimately stopping the measure in its tracks.
In December of 2003, Phil announced he would be moving his show to 99.7 WTN. That same year, he released his first book, a guide to conservative philosophy called Right From the Heart: The ABC’s of Reality in America. Within a few weeks of its release, it hit the Top 100 of Amazon’s bestselling books.
But Phil’s creative endeavors would not stop there. On top of helming a nationally syndicated talk show, he published a second book, Tax Revolt, as well as a number of novels. In 2012, he created the award-winning documentary An Inconsistent Truth. He would also go on to write accoladed screenplays for both movies and television, as well music that garnered international radio play. In 2018, he co-hosted a podcast with his son, Campbell, called The PodGOATs. The podcast broke 1 million downloads and received a number of honors.
In total, Phil received 17 AIR Awards in Nashville, including 5 for Best Talk Show Host. He has been named by Talkers magazine as one of the 100 Most Important Talk Show Hosts of all time. But above all, Phil was a devoted father and husband. In a final letter to his wife and children he wrote, “Please know, of all the things that kept me busy, nothing was more important than my family.” And, nothing was more evident to those who loved him and knew him best. He will be deeply missed.
A celebration of life is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 28, 2021 at the amphitheater at Ramsey Solutions, 1011 Reams Fleming Blvd., Franklin, TN for friends and family. Dr. Jon Roebuck will officiate. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Nashville Rescue Mission in Phil’s honor.
Woodbine Funeral Home, Hickory Chapel, 615-331-1952.