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Special Collections and Archives: WSB Radio History: 1950s

This guide chronicles the history of Atlanta's first radio station.

Events 1950-1959

1950’s WSB Barn Dance went off the air.

1950’s  The Kitchen Klub was one of the most popular shows on WSB. Panelist, including George Crumbley, Bett Johnson, and Lee Morris, rated records, drank coffee, and chatted with guests. 

1950’s Another popular program which paid listeners to identify tunes was “It Pays To Listen”. Bob Van Camp played the tunes on the organ.

1951 Elmo Ellis becomes program director and revitalizes the station.  He pronounced WSB America’s Radio Active Station, and penned a list of 100 pointers for radio managers across the country. The list was published by BMI and Ellis began to gain notoriety for his innovative ideas. 

1951 WSB wins a Peabody for The Pastor’s Study.

1953 WSB wins a Peabody for the Broadcasting Magazine article by Elmo Ellis, “Removing The Rust From Radio”.

1955 Nightbeat, an interview program began. The host was Jerry Vandeventer. Reporters on the show included Jim Wesley and Charlie Welsh. The program attracted celebrities and a national audience.

December 28, 1955 Jerry Vandeventer does the final broadcast from the studios in the Biltmore Hotel.

December 29, 1955 WSB signed on from its new studios at White Columns on Peachtree. The first broadcast was done by Mike McDougald.

April 8, 1956 White Columns on Peachtree is officially dedicated.

1959 WSB establishes the first news broadcasting conference.  High school students and their teachers were invited to White Columns to see firsthand the day to day operation of a radio station. WSB gave awards to students who wrote the most impressive account of their visit. Some, interested in radio careers, received scholarships to the University of Georgia.

Personnel 1950-1959

Jim Axel Jim Axel
Jim began at WSB in November of 1959 as a street reporter. Within two weeks, he was offered the position of night news editor and announcer. He remained in the position until April of 1962.
Carolyn Clark Carolyn Clark
Carolyn Clark began at WSB in 1959 as a copywriter and then moved on to an on air personality while continuing to write copy. She remained in the position until May 1961.
Jimmy Dunaway Jimmy Dunaway
While anchoring local news and doing field reports on WSB, Jimmy was also a regular on NBC's Monitor and other network programs as well as field reports on major stories for the network's hourly newscasts.  He was at WSB from 1955 until 1967.
Judy Gaulden Judy Gaulden
Judy began at WSB in 1959 and was executive assistant to Elmo Ellis and to GM's that followed him until 1996.
Bill Gribben
Bill joined WSB as an announcer in 1952.
Ted Hightower
In the summer of 1959, Ted was a WSB Radiocar reporter. He got a tip on a fire which turned out to be at his own house!

 

Ernie Hynds Ernie Hynds
Ernie was sports director for WSB Radio from 1954 to 1955.
Don Kennedy Don Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy was an announcer at WSB in 1955 before leaving to work for NBC. He returned to WSB in 1983 as part time talk show host. Don is a 2007 Career Achievement Inductee into The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.
Paul McClay Paul McClay
Paul was sports director and an announcer from 1956 until 1960.
Dick McMichael Dick McMichael
He worked as summer relief announcer in 1957 and then became a morning newsman. He left WSB in 1961.
Ray Moore Ray Moore
Ray began his career as an announcer at WSB Radio in 1951. He moved over to television in 1952.
Aubrey Morris Aubrey Morris
In 1957, WSB program director Elmo Ellis wanted to add a news department to the station. He hired Aubrey away from the Atlanta Journal, and thus was born, Atlanta’s first radio newsman. Morris retired in 1987 and is known as the man who brought newspaper to radio in Atlanta. Aubrey was the first recipient of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame's Elmo Ellis Spirit Award in 2008 and is an 2008 inductee into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.  
Lee Morris Lee Morris
Lee rose from announcer to assistant general manager of WSB Radio.
Bob Noble Bob Noble
Bob was a news reporter for "Nightbeat" in the 50’s.

 

Bob Petersen
Bob came to WSB in 1955 and returned in the 80's as a news anchor and business reporter.

 

Guy Sharpe Guy Sharpe
Guy worked at WSB in the 50's before moving into television. He is a 2007 Legacy inductee into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.
Frank Stiteler
Frank joined WSB in 1956 doing news, sports and music shows through 1967.  In 1959 he was named Sports Director, a job he held until 1967 when he became Senior Account Executive in the Sales Department. He left WSB in 1981. 

 

Jerry 

Vandeventer Jerry Vandeventer
Jerry hosted the "Nightbeat" program in the 50's attracting national attention as the signal boomed over most of the country in the evening hours. He was the last person to broadcast from the studios atop the Biltmore Hotel. Vandeventer is a 2007 Legacy inductee into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.
Jim Wesley Jim Wesley
Mr. Wesley came to WSB in 1955 as an announcer and was a reporter for "Nightbeat". Wesley was transferred to the Cox radio station in Miami 1965 and returned in 1981 to be executive vice president of WSB radio.

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives
Popular Music and Culture Collection

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E-Mail: archives@gsu.edu

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