Tim Cable’s wife, Christinia, said of him, “There’s a lot of bad news in the world. And he wanted to bring the good. He wanted people to see that life is hard enough, so let’s not take it so seriously. Let’s enjoy life. Let’s enjoy the people around us. And let’s love one another.”
What we didn’t know, as Christinia Cable revealed after Tim’s untimely death from COVID-19 just one day after their anniversary, was that he created “Cable Country” and its welcome and refreshing look at unique people and well-known places in Northeast Tennessee to deal with the death of his 7-year-old son in 1990.
“Tim knew he couldn’t jump back into the bad news right away,” Christinia said. “So they started ‘Cable Country.’ And they used it as a ministry to be able to talk to people and others who had lost children.”
“Cable Country” was really the story of a grieving father healing.
There was not another journalist in this region who didn’t respect Cable for his intellect, his warm personality, his drive and his professionalism, which he displayed in everything he touched, be it “Cable Country,” which he wrote, filmed and edited, or his work in print and broadcast journalism.
The “Cable Country” series ran on WJHL-TV, and anyone who had seen but a single episode was hooked. Most recently, he returned to his radio roots, hosting a morning show on WJCW-AM and working as a play-by-play announcer for Daniel Boone and David Crockett high school sports.
Cable was a graduate of Hampton High School and East Tennessee State University and started his radio career at WBEJ in Elizabethton before venturing into television, where he anchored news, weather and sports. He had a 25-year career with WJHL before moving to WCYB in 2014. He stayed a fixture on radio, doing Science Hill sports for several years for WKPT before moving to WJCW and doing play-by-play for the Washington County schools.
While “Cable Country” endeared him to many, those who knew him on a personal level will attest to the kind of person he was. “A caring individual” said one. “Just a great guy all the way around,” said another. “He was very professional and very good at what he did, but more than that, he was a better person.” And, “He played such an integral part in so many people’s lives.”
“His heart was just huge,” his wife of 23 years said of him. “He told me a long time ago that when his time was up, he was ready. He said, ‘Jesus you can come back anytime. I’m ready to go.’ ”
Many knew Tim Cable up close, among them Josh Smith, evening news anchor at WJHL. He wrote that if he ever was pushed to fit into a mold for what a broadcaster was “supposed to” do or be, Tim flatly rejected it. Never one to take himself seriously, he chose moments during every broadcast to sling out a pun or interject a funny aside. Never scripted, playing it by ear.
“He had a gift, not just for the written word,” his wife told Smith. “He had a gift with people. He could read them and he knew what he needed to say. And that was a gift from God.”
Smith reported that Cable underwent surgery earlier this year, and his wife said he followed medical advice and held off on the COVID-19 vaccine. On a trip in early August, he caught COVID, and his condition rapidly worsened, leaving him seriously ill.
After spending the day of their anniversary by his hospital bed, Christinia told Smith that a nurse came into the room and informed her that the end was near. Tim died Aug. 12 with his wife and three children by his side.
“It was an honor to be married to him,” she said. “And it was an honor to be there and hold his hand until he left this world ... until we see him again.”
He was, as most headlines described him, a legend. We join the many in mourning his loss.