Caleb J. Suggs

WKNO Radio Intern

It all started in 7th grade when my voice got low…real low. So low, that if a teacher wasn’t looking, they’d swear it was an administrator asking them about last night’s homework. So low that I got to be the only Bass 2 in middle school choir and got to play all the manliest roles in high school theatre. From early on, people always told me I had a voice for radio. Who knew what they were speaking into existence?

I’d say my career in broadcast started senior year when I began working for my high school television station, GHS-TV. They started me off doing voice overs as one might expect. To this day, you can still hear me saying “You’re watching the award-winning GHS-TV…” at the start of every one of their programs. But soon after I got in front of the camera, I was really living the dream as head anchor of their daily news and as a field reporter (among other roles). After experiencing live TV and what a production family was really like, I knew I wanted to be in the industry for the rest of my life. Little did I know radio would be the next on my path.

See, that summer after graduation, I was taking an unofficial tour of the University of Memphis when I happened to come across the live room of the renowned Memphis jazz station WUMR “The Jazz Lover” 91.7 FM. Something about it all—the glowing hall lights, the smooth sound of jazz music, the voice of the DJ going live for all of Memphis to hear—drew me in like a moth to a flame. I got into a conversation with the station’s general manager, the great Malvin Massey, and he didn’t hesitate to give me a shot on the air. Next thing I know, I’m hosting my very own radio show every week and becoming a “jazz lover” myself.

Just a few months after that, I started my first semester at the UofM as a Broadcast Journalism and Film & Video Production double major. Typically, colleges don’t let freshman do too much in their major until they’re a little further along in their degree, but I just couldn’t wait that long to really start improving my craft. After seeing my ambition, competence and my resume, my professors decided to give me a chance. Armed with my pen and a camera the school provided, I set out to do my first article for the campus paper and my first news package for the campus TV studio. Was I a little nervous? Sure. But I was eager to show them what this freshman could really do. That week, my story made the front page of the campus paper. And a year later, I was made the leader of their student television program. It’s amazing what can happen when you give someone an opportunity.

Today, I’ve got to say, there’s a childish excitement that bubbles up inside of me whenever I think about how I get to work at the same local station that broadcasted Sesame Street, Clifford the Big Red Dog, WordGirl, and now Hero Elementary to me through all my childhood years. Between the TV studio, the audio recording booths, and the amazing news stories that come out of WKNO, it’s honestly the coolest place I’ve ever worked. It’s truly a blessing to be working at a place like this with people who are so full of ideas and eager to hear mine. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Caleb Suggs/WKNO

A new, mixed-use entertainment complex called MVP3 Studios is growing out of the former Malco Majestic Cinema near Winchester and Riverdale in Southeast Memphis.

Caleb Suggs/WKNO

If you heard that a high school athlete who plays both football and lacrosse was getting an award, you’d probably think it was because of his performance in the game.

You might not assume it was because he coordinated a food drive that brought over 14,000 pounds of goods to impoverished families in Orange Mound. But that’s how Miller Manguno, a junior at Briarcrest Christian School, became one of this year’s nominees for the Memphis Area I AM SPORT Award.

Caleb Suggs/WKNO

The Memphis Zoo was bustling last Wednesday as I strolled into its newest exhibit. On my right, a crowd of excited families. And on my left, a mob of red kangaroos. (That’s what a group of them are called.)  There were about a dozen of them. Zoo spokesperson Amanda Moses assured me this wasn’t your typical zoo encounter.

“How many places can you actually go to see kangaroos hanging out?” Moses asked. “There aren’t a lot of places that I can think of. So, I definitely think there is some excitement for sure.”

It’s all lights, camera, action here in Memphis even with a pandemic keeping film production crews at a social distance.

Between Netflix’s “Uncorked” and “Buried by the Bernards,” the upcoming film “Jacir,” and the new ABC series “Women of the Movement” filmed Downtown, the Bluff City is certainly getting the Hollywood treatment.

Joseph Carr, Director of Artist Development and Youth Films at Indie Memphis, said Memphis always puts out the welcome mat for the industry.

She’s an honors student at Germantown High School, an actress in her school musicals, a reporter for her campus TV station, a photographer and...oh yeah, Alexa Morris is also a published author.

Caleb Suggs/WKNO

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here on South Main Street, and not just because there’s a Christmas tree in every storefront. Twelve local shops have united for the South Main Santa Christmas Gift Drive. Each store is collecting a different type of donation in exchange for a small discount or a free item.

Caleb Suggs/WKNO

On Black Friday, Watty Brooks Hall could be found in her store, surrounded by pillows, throw blankets and home decor. The Brooks Collection is one of about a dozen small businesses in Collierville’s Town Square that was full of customers that day.

“The holiday season has been wonderful,” Hall said. “Everybody is observing social distancing, wearing masks, and you can tell they're so ready to get out.”

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The scent of pine needles and apple cider filled the air of Country Gardens, a nursery at the Agricenter that turns into a full-fledged Christmas tree lot every November.

I stood between a couple of seven-footers talking to Mikala McDaniel, who said she was more than ready for the holidays to begin.

Caleb Suggs

I expected to spend my senior year rocking my Tiger blue around campus. Instead, I’ve spent almost every moment of it trapped behind a computer screen. Day in and day out, I stare at my laptop for hours at a time, hopping from class to class over Zoom. Sometimes the courses are lively. More often than not, they’re long and quiet, with my peers’ cameras and mics turned off. For the past four months, this has been my education and my life.

Caleb Suggs

About 54,000 Shelby County voters made it to the polls in person on Election Day―far fewer those who came out during the two weeks of early voting. Still, the total number of all voters―nearly 383,000―kept the Shelby County Election Commission busy on Tuesday with a record number of absentee ballots.

“Given the amount of paper we were given today, I think it’s a major miracle,” said Election Administrator, Linda Phillips, who predicted the absentee ballots would be processed and scanned by 8 p.m. Tuesday.