By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – For nearly four decades, Kay Bain has been a constant and reliable fixture on television and countless charitable organizations and events across Northeast Mississippi.
She and late husband, Buddy, hosted the “Mornin’ Show” on WTVA starting in 1978, and Kay’s been on the air ever since.
At the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau, an exhibit highlights the couple’s extensive career, which took them to the Grand Ole Opry several times, as well as an appearance on “Hee Haw.”
“Kay and Buddy were pioneers in the music industry,” said CVB Executive Director Neal McCoy. “We’ve been blessed to have them in North Mississippi. … she has an extensive collection and we wanted to highlight and reflect on their career.”
A humble Kay Bain said she was honored by the move.
“I love everybody,” she said to an adoring audience, who sang and clapped along when she later sang Buddy’s iconic “Everybody’s Welcome in Tupelo.”
A Corinth native, Kay began singing when she was 4 and was invited to sing on Buddy Bain’s “Farm and Home Hour” on WCMB in Corinth when she was 13. Buddy Bain began his radio career in 1943.
After graduating from high school, Kay joined Buddy Bain and the Buddies, opening for musicians like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and others.
“The Buddy Bain Show” debuted on WTVA in 1957, and Buddy and Kay were married that same year.
They were invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in 1971, the first of several visits.
In October 1978, the “Mornin’ Show” launched, and the Bains were invited to “Hee Haw” in 1994.
The Mississippi Legislature declared Nov. 3, 1996 as “Buddy and Kay Day,” and Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton said Monday that he would make a proclamation at tonight’s City Council meeting to declare a “Buddy and Kay Day” in Tupelo as well.
Buddy Bain died in 1997, but Kay works daily at her office at WTVA, preparing for her weekly “Kay Bain’s Saturday Mornin’ Show” and to continue her outreach in the community.
“I’m 76 and still have two jobs,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. … it’s wonderful to get involved in the community I love and want to be a part of.”
Jane Spain, the owner of WTVA, couldn’t help but sing Bain’s praises.
“She motivates everybody with her energy and her joy, and her desire to go and touch people’s lives,” she said. “We can go down the hall and see her and we know a better day is coming.”
The exhibit will be in the Tupelo CVB lobby through Sept. 15. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.