Longtime Grand Ole Opry announcer Hal Durham has died at age 77. The McMinnville, Tenn. native was with the legendary country music program for 32 years, beginning his stint as the voice of the Opry in 1964. He also served as general manager from 1978 - 1993 and as program director of the Opry's radio home, WSM.

While overseeing operations at the Grand Ole Opry, Durham was credited with giving it a modernized facelift. He allowed full drum sets on the Opry stage for the first time and lessened the attendance requirements of its members, allowing artists with packed tour dates to become members without having to perform on the Opry several times per month. That opened the doors for Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Reba McEntire and Ricky Skaggs to all become Opry members during Durham's time in office.

Durham died at his home in Florida over the weekend. The cause of death has not yet been announced.

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