John Ed Willoughby

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John Ed Willoughby (born February 3, 1935 in Birmingham; died March 25, 2015) was a radio host, known for his 22-year on-air partnership with Tommy Charles on the popular T. C. & John Ed morning show, and for his later partnership with Doug Layton.

Willoughby graduated from West End High School where he was quarterback for the West End Lions football team and captain of the basketball and baseball teams. He went on to attend the University of Alabama, where he pledged the Delta Chi fraternity and befriended Richard Shelby. Afterward he went to work in his family's Willoughby Furniture Company in Fairfield.

Willoughby got his start as a caller, posing as a foreign correspondent hiding out in Birmingham, on Charles' show at WSGN in 1975. He was quickly hired as a co-host, starting on April 15 of that year. The program moved briefly to WVOK-AM and WQUS-FM, and to WERC-AM in 1985. After Charles' death in 1996, Willoughby partnered with Doug Layton. That program ended in April of 1998. In June of that year, John Ed joined his son, J. Willoughby, and Scott Michaels, on "The Breakfast Club" on WAPI-AM. Willoughby retired after exactly thirty years on the air, on April 15, 2005.

Willoughby came out of retirement to rejoin Layton for a Saturday morning "Layton & Willoughby" program on WJOX-AM, which moved it to WYDE-FM in 2011.

He hosted a live music program at the Morris House on Morris Avenue in the 1970s and later became owner of Rossi's Italian restaurant in Mountain Brook. He sold the business in 1997, but repurchased a share soon afterwards and helped convert it into a steakhouse.

He also coached the Cahaba Heights Black Knights youth football team for many years.

Willoughby was inducted into the Birmingham Radio Collectors' Music Hall of Fame in 2006.


  • Shelby, Richard C. (April 21, 2005) "Tribute to John Ed Willoughby", read before the United States Senate. Printed in the Congressional Record, Vol. 151, No. 6
  • "BRC Hall Of Fame Bio: John Ed Willoughby (n.d.)
  • Carlton, Bob (March 25, 2015) "Birmingham radio icon John Ed Willoughby has died." The Birmingham News