Pearlee Toliver, so-called “Jewel of the Dial,” whose Sunday morning national radio gospel show were peppered with homespun advertising, died Sept. 9 of a heart attack in Monroe, La. Her age wasn’t reported.
For nearly 30 years, people across northeastern Louisiana listened to her Sunday mornings more for her homestyle ads than for the music she played. In 2000, the New York Times profiled her and later that year named her to its annual list of most memorable personalities. For about $15 a spot, she would take clients’ sales fliers and slogans and turn them into short commercials, reading ad copy she had written herself. Among Toliver’s fans were country singer Andy Griggs, blues musician Marcia Ball and Billy Gibbons of the rock group ZZ Top.
She recorded her last show just a few days before her heart attack.