Popular radio show host killed in Sunday crash

VANCEBORO | Tom “The Jazzman” Mallison, a popular Public Radio East personality who hosted a weekly jazz show, was killed Sunday night in a two-vehicle, head-on crash on N.C. 43 in northwestern Craven County.

Friends say Mallison, who lived in Greenville, was headed home from PRE’s New Bern studios when the wreck occurred.

They believe Mallison was driving a Volvo. The other vehicle in the wreck has been identified as a Dodge pickup truck.

Additional details about the crash, including the name of the other driver involved and the circumstances of the wreck, were not available Monday. Ira Whitford, Craven County assistant emergency management director, said he had been told the crash happened at about 11:30 p.m. just north of Clark Road on N.C. 43.

A spokesperson at the N.C. Highway Patrol station in Williamston said Monday afternoon there was no report filed yet on the accident, and investigating Trooper S.M. Casner was not due back on duty until Monday night.

Vanceboro Fire Chief Stacey Lewis said the driver of the pickup had to be extricated from the vehicle. The driver was later flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Mallison, who used the one-word name “TomtheJazzman” in promotions for his show, had finished hosting the five-hour “An Evening with TomtheJazzman” program Sunday night shortly before his death. The show ended at 11 p.m.

Charles Wethington, general manager for Public Radio East, said he was speechless Monday when he found out about Mallison’s death.

“He did his show last night and was going to Greenville where he lived,” Wethington said. “I’m still speechless really. It was such a tragic loss.”

Wethington said that when he came to work at the station 25 years ago Mallison was already working there.

“Tom has been on the air playing jazz with various stations for a very long time,” Wethington said. He was with Public Radio East since it began, about 30 years.”

Wethington said Mallison did a lot for jazz music.

“He had such a love for jazz,” he said. “Not only was he host of the jazz show on PRE, but Tom was known up and down the East Coast and throughout the United States. He attended a lot of jazz festivals and he knew so many jazz artists.”

Jill McGuire, assistant general manager at PRE, said Mallison and his show were popular with listeners here and elsewhere.

“He had such a passion for jazz,” she said. “He’s going to be missed by people in Eastern North Carolina and across the country.”

Wethington agreed.

By Eddie Fitzgerald and Sandy Wall
Originally published on www.newbernsj.com