HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Former record store owner and radio broadcasting pioneer Arnold Hornbuckle died early this morning. He was 84.
A Huntsville native, Hornbuckle founded WAHR-FM radio station in 1959 and his Hornbuckle ‘s Record Shop was a popular place to pick up the latest records for decades. He was inducted into the Alabama Broadcaster’s Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Laughlin Service Funeral Home. The funeral will be Thursday at 2 p.m. at FIrst Baptist Church of Huntsville.
Hornbuckle was born in Huntsville on March, 18, 1927 to Weston Neal and Lillie Mae Hornbuckle. His childhood was spent farming with his father and brothers in the Owens Cross Roads area, where his parents’ families had lived for generations.
Hornbuckle developed an interest in popular music as a teenager that led him to open Hornbuckle’s Record Shop in downtown Huntsville in 1952. The business quickly expanded to include musical instruments and home entertainment electronics.
His record store business expanded over the years to include four stores in Huntsville and stores in Decatur and Gadsden.
Hornbuckle founded WAHR-FM radio station in 1959. The call letters stand for “Arnold Hornbuckle Radio.” It was the first FM station that was not associated with an existing AM radio station. The station was consistently among the highest rated stations in north Alabama for 40 years.
He was the majority shareholder and president of WAHR-FM until it was sold in 1999.
Hornbuckle was active in several civic organizations and served on the boards of the YMCA, Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Madison County, Boys and Girls Club, Huntsville Rehabilitation Foundation, Burritt on the Mountain and the North Alabama Better Business Bureau.
He was a founding member of the Space City Lions Club and a member of First Baptist Church in Huntsville. He became active in the Mended Hearts organization in recent years.
Survivors include two sons, Ronnie Hornbuckle and Guy Hornbuckle, both of Huntsville, and one brother, Austin Hornbuckle of New Hope.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Murlen Hornbuckle.
Updated at 2:40 p.m. with funeral arrangements and to add photos.