NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — A Metro councilwoman is proposing to rename the Nashville airport after Oprah Winfrey.
Council member at large Sharon Hurt is pushing the resolution to rename the BNA the "Oprah G. Winfrey Nashville International Airport," FOX 17 News has confirmed.
Oprah went to high school and college in Nashville. It's also where the superstar launched her small-screen career. Hurt says the idea actually came from a constituent, she liked the idea and made the request to the Airport Authority.
Nearly fifty years ago, a teenage Oprah Winfrey came into WVOL Radio to ask for a sponsorship in the March of Dimes Walkathon.
The meeting with now owner John Heidelberg turned into a lifelong career for Winfrey.
Heidelberg says he saw something special that day.
“I was just impressed with her, with her speech, her grammar, her articulation, with how she handled herself, so before she was ready to go I asked her if she had ever thought about getting into radio.”
Winfrey auditioned, got hired, and rose to become an American icon, a broadcaster with unparalleled success, and a trail blazer for women and the African American community.
"She's phenomenal, she gives back, she's a real person, she comes from humble beginnings she makes a dreamer dream that they can do anything they want to,” says Michelle Vaugh, a Nashvillian in support of the change.
But not everyone is on board with the idea, which has garnered a lot of criticism on social media.
People like Jeff Scott commenting: "Hot chicken has done more for Nashville than Oprah."
The airport board has a policy that “buildings, facilities or streets should be named for people who have been deceased at least two years and who have made a substantial personal contribution to the aviation field.”
However, according to documents obtained by FOX 17 News, airport policy states that buildings, facilities or streets should be named for people who have been deceased at least two years and "who have made a substantial personal contribution" to the aviation field.
According to the airport's website, "BNA" stands for stands for Berry Field Nashville. It's named in honor of Colonel Harry S. Berry.
"During World War II, Berry Field became the military base for the 4th Ferrying Command, and the federal government added additional acreage for its military operations. In 1946, after the war ended, the military returned a 1,500-acre airport site to the city," the airport's website says.
It's important to note - Metro council members don't have the power to change the name of BNA.
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