‘Tennessee Crossroads’ host Joe Elmore dies at 80

Joe Elmore on set Tennessee Crossroads

NPT is sad to announce the death of Joe Elmore, beloved host of the Tennessee Crossroads series. Elmore died in the early hours of Monday, June 17, after a long illness. He was 80. His immediate survivors include two sons and a daughter.

A Tennessee Crossroads tribute episode will premiere Thursday, July 25, at 7 p.m. on NPT and will be available to watch online and via the PBS app.

Joe served as the Tennessee Crossroads host since its inception in 1987. The magazine-style travel show airs on stations across Tennessee and the Southeast and remains one of the highest-rated shows in the PBS system.

“We have lost a legend and a dear friend. We’ll miss his phenomenal skills, his kind-heartedness, and his wonderful sense of humor,” said Ed Jones, executive producer of the show. “Tennessee Crossroads was his baby and as Joe would’ve wanted, it will continue, as will his spirit.”

In 2022, Elmore began sharing some his favorite segments from the 1980s and ’90s in NPT’s Retro Tennessee Crossroads series.

“I loved hosting Retro Tennessee Crossroads with Joe,” said Becky Magura, NPT’s president and CEO. “Joe was truly amazing and his gift of time and talent to our team, our viewers and the state of Tennessee is unsurpassed. We won’t be able to replace him, but we will continue his legacy through Tennessee Crossroads.”

Joe’s long career in television also included co-hosting Detroit Muscle, a weekly show celebrating American muscle car culture on NBC Sports. He hosted Horsepower, a high-performance automotive show on Spike TV from 1997 to 2013.

Joe Elmore grew up in Arkansas and received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Arkansas State University. After earning a Master of Arts degree in broadcasting and film at the University of Memphis, he served as the university’s media relations director and as an assistant professor in the journalism department. He then worked as a general assignment reporter, weekend anchor and feature reporter for WHBQ-TV in Memphis. During his five years there, he co-hosted the station’s PM Magazine. Joe moved to Nashville in 1985 and began working on shows for the Nashville Network.

Joe was inducted into The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Nashville/Midsouth Chapter’s Silver Circle in 2014. The designation honors those with at least 25 years of service to the television industry and who have made a significant contribution to the community.

In addition to hosting Tennessee Crossroads and auto shows, Joe enjoyed writing and recording music in his home studio, traveling and photography.

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There are very few shows my wife and I watch together but Tennessee Crossroads was the #1 we always looked forward to. Joe was like one of the family as he brought us the treasured moments of each and every show. Just yesterday on a day trip we passed two different places that we remembered being on Tennessee Crossroads. I think it would be great if someone could put together a show as a tribute to Joe. It would mean so much to all of us who will be grieving.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments! A special is indeed in the works, details are coming soon.

Thank you Joe for so many Sunday morning memories. You & TN Crossroads will remain part of our Sunday mornings for many years.

Joe was a trusted visitor into our house most Sunday mornings. We will miss his introductions of some very interesting places around Tennessee. We will sadly watch a tribute in Joe’s honor. Sorry to see a class act pass.

This breaks my heart. Joe’s voice was always so kind and friendly. You felt like he was your friend, although you had never met him. Rest easy and condolences to his family.

Joe made the shows feel like an old friend sitting down and telling stories. He would for sure want the show to continue. Here’s to that happening. Love to his family and friends during this time(though we are all his family, he made us feel that way).

Very sad to hear. Joe helped me get my first job in broadcasting at WHBQ in Memphis and I worked with him there for several years. I moved on, but then saw him on Tennessee Crossroads whenever I came to visit my folks in Columbia and then moving back to middle TN. RIP Joe!

My daughter who is now 56 was filmed in small Selmer tn when they came to McNairy Co, She was in eight grade at their new school and it was homecoming and he filmed the cheerleaders doing a cheer, in the parking lot. She reminded me of this today after telling me about his death. PBS has lost a good one.

I am so sorry. He truly was a great host with an unforgettable voice.
I will be keeping his family in my prayers.

Always enjoyed his hosting of the show, and the segments he would lead himself. We look forward to each show, and so happy that the show will continue in his honor.

Joe Elmore will be missed! His relaxed and welcoming style of delivery on Tennessee Crossroads attracted loyal viewers year after year. I liked Joe and I hoped to meet him in person one day. I longed to tell him how much I enjoyed his obvious passion for Tennesseans. Joe’s hosting abilities were evident during each episode airing on NPT. His smile and laughter were contagious! Joe, you served us well, decade after decade, while taking us places and introducing us to new faces across our great state of Tennessee. Thank you to NPT for sharing Joe’s talents with us year after year as he featured the best of the best of what Tennessee has to offer. I will continue to enjoy Tennessee Crossroads as I remember and miss Joe’s terrific smile.
Mary Mason, a loyal supporter of NPT and a longtime fan of Joe Elmore

Sad news.. When I first came to Nashville many years ago, I happily discovered Tennessee Crossroads and the gracious host, Joe Elmore. I rarely miss an episode and will miss Joe.. a Tennessee Treasure forever

I have always enjoyed listening to Joe’s warm, pleasant introduction to the shows and felt so relaxed and peaceful as he set the tone for the entire show. Joe will be greatly missed. Joe is right up there with another great story-teller, Paul Harvey.
Thanks for all the great memories!

We’re an elderly couple and just tonight we agreed that we needed to get out for some day trips. I had already saved a couple of Joe’s episodes to start out with. His shows will guide us through the coming years for our Tennessee travels. Thank you Joe.

Joe was a neighbor of mine and you could not have asked for a nicer guy. We didn’t see each other often but he always had a cheerful greeting when we did!
I too have always enjoyed TN Crossroads and will dearly miss seeing him host it. He was a definite asset and will be always remembered, because he was TN Crossroads!
Rest In Peace dear friend.

Very sad to hear about the passing of Joe Elmore. My Thursday nights and some Sunday mornings was all about Tennessee Crossroads and he was the perfect host and for my job for Tennessee Department of Tourism at the Welcome Center in Clarksville, the show was and still my tutorial to study and love all things Tennessee. Especially being born and raise here. Thank Joe Elmore 👏🏾 for following in love with my state again.

I am so sorry to hear this news. I was fortunate enough to be on TN Crossroads and Joe did a wonderful job of putting me at ease and bringing out the best. His natural curiosity and kindness shone through. He will be sadly missed.

i was born and raised a wgbh kid but my wife grew up watching tennessee crossroads (she was born the year it started) and got me hooked on it a few years back.

he seemed like such a kind and fun person and seeing him was a huge highlight of our week. he even once did a birthday shout out for my wife’s birthday 🥹

rip. truly a class act. this was a great write up.

Can not believe this what a loss to PBS and Public
Television, his legacy will live on, but it won’t be the
same. I look forward to Thursdays and Crossroads
even with the newer people. Sympathy to his family.

Mr. Elmore was a special man who we loved watching. His role as the host of Tennessee Crossroads was perfect for him. He was a gracious host who loved what he did and showcased local places we loved to hear about. Thanks Joe, you will be missed.

Joe and Tennessee Crossroads have been a staple of my weekly watching since I was a child. I’ve visited so many delightful shops and destinations and delicious food places throughout Tennessee as a result of the segments on the show. My deepest condolences to his family and friends, so many of us are grieving with you, but he left such a tremendous legacy for us all.

Not quite sure how Joe will ever be replaced but the good thing is that his spirit will be present every time we watch TC and remember the amazing foundation he built for all of us who call Tennessee home. Thank you Joe! You will sorely be missed!

I was born here in Nashville and TC has been part of my life all this time. Friends and family that visit or move to Nashville are told that you have to see this show if you want to really appreciate Tennessee. It will never be the same, but he would be very happy to know that his legacy will continue through the program.

Joe was one of my instructors for a journalism class at Memphis State in the late 1970s, along with Charles Raiteri, & they were both working for WHBQ-TV news dept., so it was much longer than 5 years that Joe was with Ch. 13. I learned much about broadcast journalism from Joe, how to report the news without being biased or interjecting your personal opinion into a story. He will be greatly missed. RIP Joe, thanks for the memories.

Joe Elmore was a Tennessee treasure. His gift of Tennessee Crossroads served to give pleasure to three generations of our family; and we’ve enjoyed visiting many of the places he highlighted in the show. Please continue to honor his legacy with the many jewels of Tennessee.

I love to travel and Joe always had an interesting place to visit while I was on the road as a Salesperson in Tennessee

Wonderful host and journalist. My husband and I adore watching Joe and Tennessee Crossroads. It will not be the same with him not hosting but I hope it continues to air. He does such a great job hosting the show and talking about the many places which are show cased on the show. He will be missed by many. Prayers for the family.

We are old retired people, and one of the things we always enjoy is Tennessee Crossroads. Joe Elmore was the show for us. He obviously loved his job, and he was so good at it. We will miss him, but we will count on NPT to provide us with another perfect host.

I agree with all the comments and add mine from the other side of the lens! I worked with Joe at WDCN/WNPT for 13 years and we were always talking cars as Joe was a consummate gearhead! We worked closely on ways to improve the quality of TC from a technical perspective. The only entry I have on IMDB is for TC.
We are the same age so we had a lot to talk about! RIP Joe and I’ll see you in the great beyond some day (but not right away)

Didn’t see much of Joe after he moved to Nashville back in the ’80’s. Will remember our days at Memphis State fondly in the journalism department. So many great journalist came from the department back then. I began my career in journalism in 1978 and couldn’t have a better mentor than Joe. Rest In Peace my friend.

Joe Elmore is a part of television history that should always be remembered. Never controversial, friendly, factual, and part of every family that gathered to watch Tennessee Crossroads. What a star!!! Rest in peace and thank you to a true television star-one that understood the importance of the medium and one that made the medium!

My parents and husband turned me on to Tennessee Crossroads many years ago, which we have taped (LOL) and recorded as many episodes as possible. Joe was such a joy to view. He was a good sport! He was like the Lone Ranger was to kids as he was to Adults that loved weekend excursions in Tennessee. I will miss seeing his wonderful smile!!!! May God be with his children, family & Co-Workers. 🙏

I have been so sad since I learned the news about Joe. I had the great pleasure of working with Joe through the non-profit “Tennessee’s Backroads Heritage,” a travel promotion organization for southern Middle Tennessee. Joe was a speaker on three different occasions over the last seventeen years for the organization’s special events. Over the years, this area has received much publicity with special attractions and restaurants being featured which resulted in additional business for these tourism entities. He was a kind and gentle soul always ready to explore and bring fun into our living rooms weekly. I feel very blessed that our paths crossed and will always remember him as a wonderful human being – one that I am glad I could call “ friend.”

Our family will really miss Joe. Watching Crossroads on Thursday night was the highlight of my week.I hope it will carry on the tradition to honor him and this great state we live in.

My wife and I are going to miss Joe every Saturday morning. It has been our favorite part of each week. We have our Saturday morning coffee and start streaming Tennessee Crossroads on our UNCTV-PBS App. We were both so heartbroken to learn of Joe’s passing. We will keep watching and supporting Tennessee Crossroads but it won’t be the same and Joe will be so missed by us. Please don’t change what you awesome people do and remember that we do love all of you and the great show created with love for Tennessee. We have visited so many places in Tennessee that we would have never known about if you guys did not do what you do. Our son is stationed at Ft Campbell and we make the trip out there to see him, our daughter-in-law and our precious grandchildren about 6 times a year and we have grown to love Tennessee. We are always looking for new places to eat and visit along the way. We love you guys and we will be praying for you all.

We loved Joe Elmore. Have watched him since the show began. I graduated from high school in 1985 and married in 1989. Tennessee Crossroads started in 1987 and it has been and still is “Date night” for me and my husband. We always watch it together and take notes on places we want to stop and see on our road trips. He felt like an old familiar friend when we tuned in every week and on some chance the show wasn’t on one week, we would miss it terribly. I’ve grown from young to old watching Tennessee Crossroads and Joe Elmore was just part of life every week. He will be terribly, terribly missed.

I moved to Tennessee 5 years ago, a co-worker told me if I wanted to know Tennessee, watch Tennessee Crossroads. I never miss the show and have gone to many many many of the locations highlighted on the show. Will truly miss Joe, Rest in peace my friend.
Scott Stenseth

My husband and I have always loved Tennessee Crossroads and Joe Elmore Living in small town Middle Tennessee we have learned of many small towns we were not aware of. Thanks to Joe and Tennessee Crossroads we have had many interesting day trips.We will miss him.

My wife and I never met Joel Elmore, however his warmth, enthusiasm and work made you feel you knew him personally. We’ve been Tennessee Crossroads viewers since we moved hear from up north 14 years ago. He and the show opened up our eyes to the beauty of Tennessee. We will miss him.

Can you imaging the conversations now going on in Heaven between Joe and Huell Houser. Both Tennessee Broadcasting Legends. Joe and Huell are now missed beyond explanation. Rest easy Joe, NPT will carry your legacy .

With Huells “California Gold” series and Joe’s “Tennessee Crossroads” program both exploring the off the beaten path treasures, the comparison is unique and similar. Two Tennessee natives bringing enjoyment to the viewing public. May they both Rest In Peace as their careers have served us extremely well.

Me and my Wife have been watching Tennessee Crossroads Since 1985. Never missed a show.Joe Elmore was like a local neighbor giving us tips on our next adventure in Tennessee. We will truly miss that smiling face every Thursday evening .R.I.P. Joe and Prayers for your family

I just found out about Joe’s passing today and am saddened by our loss. Prayers to the family and co-workers at WNPT. He will be missed and not forgotten, RIP friend.🙏🥲

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