Skip to main content

Special Collections and Archives: WSB Radio History: 1960s

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

Events 1960-1969

1960's WSB wins the Outstanding News Operation of The Year, The Alfred P. Sloan Radio Award, The Edison Foundation National Mass Media Award, and many others.

1960's WSB begins giving awards to listeners; The Worth Safety Boosters, Outstanding Young Americans, WSBeavers, Great Georgians, Great Americans, The 750 Award, and The Sports Scroll.

May 1960 WSB adds a helicopter to its news fleet allowing the news department to be where news was being made.  

1962 WSB celebrates its 40th birthday. Jerry Vandeventer produced a nostalgic review of the station's first forty years.

1962 WSB FM begins began broadcasting in stereo multiplex and originating its own programming.

April 3, 1962 WSB became the first station in the South to broadcast editorials.

October, 1962 WSB was one of six radio stations asked by the government to carry Voice of America programs in Spanish for eleven hours a night during the Cuban missile crisis.

February 25, 1963 James M. Cox received a congratulatory telegram from President Kennedy on the occasion of WSB receiving the Broadcast Pioneers Golden Mike Award.

June 1963 WSB's Aubrey Morris traveled to Paris with Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen and phones reports back on the jet crash which killed 122 Georgians.

1965 WSB's Elmo Ellis composes, and WSB Women's Director Sherrie Johnson records, "Won't You Come Home Vince Dooley" when the UGA coach was being courted by another university. Dooley stayed put.

1966 WSB receives a Peabody Award.

1967 WSB's Aubrey Morris interviews Robert F. Kennedy.

1967 WSB gives Billy Graham the "Great American Award."

1969 WSB's Elmo Ellis received a personal commendation from President Nixon for a campaign to raise money to provide school lunches for needy children. 

Personnel 1960-1969

  Ernie Adams
In 1935, a young technician named Ernie Adams helped get James M. Cox's first radio station, WHIO in Dayton Ohio on the air. In 1967, Ernie Adams joined Cox Broadcasting Corporation at its Atlanta headquarters as chief engineer of Cox's nationwide broadcasting properties, including WSB Radio.  "He was a pioneer in broadcasting, and a key player in the growth of Cox Broadcasting," said Elmo Ellis, former GM of WSB Radio.  "He didn't just see that programming got on the air but designed equipment and studios, all the technical responsibilities that an ordinary person didn't think about." Adams retired in 1976.

 

 

W. Guy Arledge
Operations Manager of WSB FM in the 60's.

 

Don Baird Don Baird
Don worked three years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution before moving to WSB Radio IN 1962. He is best remembered for his coverage of Lester Maddox. Don himself recalls some highlights: “Taping a sprinting Lester Maddox as he chased black people from his restaurant, describing a mob scene as whites beat blacks at a "patriotic rally" at Lakewood Park, holding MLK's peace prize during an interview, and covering his funeral for the NBC Radio Network".
Bruce Bartley Bruce Bartley
Bruce moved to WSB in 1965 from WDUN in Gainesville and was best known for anchoring the 6PM evening news. Howard Gunter remembers one of many stories about Bartley: During the 1966 Atlanta firemen's strike, the firemen's union had reached an angry impasse with the city. "Bruce succeeded in getting the firemen to agree to a conference with Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. That meeting brought about the end of the strike. Someone asked why the firefighters went along with Bruce's suggestion, and their response: 'we trust him' ".
  Pat Anderson Branning
Pat joined WSB in 1967 and was a staff announcer, doing interviews, news, commercial recording and writing. Pat is best remembered as the primary reporter selected to provide coverage of Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church.  Pat says "I was the only white woman there in a crowd of male reporters. Those were pioneer days for women in news. There were a lot of barriers to break back then and WSB gave me the opportunity to do that."

 

Collie Burnett Collie Burnett
Collie joined WSB in the fall of 1969 as an FM silent jock under Guy Arledge and Bob Van Camp. He graduated from Morehouse in 1972 and moved into the news department where he worked until 1974.
 

 

Harry Chapman Harry Chapman
Harry joined WSB in the fall of 1967 after graduating from the University of Georgia.  He worked the “Clockwatcher” shift after John Doolittle, the WSB Metro and the early afternoon shift as well as time at WSB FM until 1971.
  Craig Crisman
Craig did the 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts for several years in the mid-1960s.

 

  Al Dale
Al worked at WSB from 1963 until 1964. 

 

John Doolittle
John was the host of “Clockwatcher" on WSB from 1966 to 1970.
  John Doyle
John joined WSB in 1964 after graduating from UNC. He did the afternoon Metro Show until 1966.

 

King Elliot King Elliot
King came to WSB in 1961 as an announcer-newsman working a variety of shifts. In 1963 he was promoted to News Director, a position he held until 1966.
  Wayne Ennis
Wayne worked at WSB from 1968 until 1969

 

George Fischer George Fischer
George was program director of WSB from1969 until 1981. He was the last program director when the format was variety.
Jane Bracewell Greneker
Jane Bracewell Greneker
Jane went to work at WSB in continuity in June of 1963, the week after she graduated from UGA. "My duties at WSB Radio included writing copy, presiding over recording sessions, and other things. Jimmy Bridges and Jack Lenz made the job fun. I filed the cartridges in the control room and discarded those that were out of date.  It seems I was always in the hallways delivering things for. I remember Tommy Thompson running down the steps to our offices shouting ‘The President has been shot!’ He was known for his quirky humor and we all said ‘that’s not funny, Tommy.’ However, we could tell by his ashen look that this was no joke. We all gathered in the news department stunned waiting for each new piece of information about President Kennedy to arrive from the News Services”. Jane left WSB in 1968.
  Christy Haynes
Christy went to work in continuity at WSB straight out of college in 1966. “I directed commercial recording sessions, researched music for commercials, typed up events, and other tasks. My best memories are of those recording sessions and the outstanding voice talent”. 

 

Howard Gunter Howard Gunter
Gunter hosted the "Clockwatcher Show" on WSB from 1965 until 1968, returned in 1982 and stayed until 1986. He and Christy (above) met while both were working at the station. 
Milo Hamilton Milo Hamilton
Milo had been play by play man for the Chicago White Sox and joined WSB in 1966 as play by play announcer for the Braves. On April 8, 1974 WSB listeners heard his historic description of Hank Aaron’s record breaking home run. He remained in the Braves broadcast booth until 1985.
J. Phil Harrison J. Phil Harrison
Mr. Harrison served as WSB Radio's public relations and promotions director from 1962 to 1968.
  Jim Horne
Jim worked at WSB Radio from1962 until 1964.

 

 

Lynne Hoffman Lynne Hoffman
Lynne worked in the programming department at WSB from 1965 until 1970.
  Eric Johnson
Mr. Johnson was in sales at WSB from 1965 until 1990.

 

Sherrie Johnson Sherrie Johnson
Sherrie joined White Columns in 1963 after graduating from UGA and being recommended to Elmo Ellis by Worth McDougald. She was Women’s Director and is best remembered for singing a song written by Ellis at a time when Vince Dooley was being offered jobs by other colleges. “Won’t You Stay Here Vince Dooley” is credited with helping convince Dooley to turn down the offers and remain at the University of Georgia.
Jay Kent Jay Kent
In the 60’s, Jay was WSB farm director and host of the Dixie Farm and Home Hour from 5AM to 6AM.  The show was billed as "Early riser music plus full coverage of farm and rural news."
Bob Ketchersid Bob Ketchersid
Bob began his career at WSB in January of 1966 after graduating from Ohio State. He was hired as a reporter then promoted to assistant news director, and finally became news director in 1973, a position he held until 1980.
Dave Kirschner Dave Kirschner
Dave began working at WSB in November, 1963.  He handled various duties during the 7 years he worked for WSB, including host of "The WSBeaverPatrol" from 3-6pm, anchor of the 11pm news, "Five Star Final", and host of "Nightbeat".  He also hosted WSB's earliest audience call in show, "Sound Off" with Sherrie Johnson and later with Pat Anderson. Dave left WSB in 1970.
Dick Mendenhall Dick Mendenhall
Dick was the editorial director of WSB Radio and TV from 1962-1963, researching, writing and delivering more than 120 broadcast editorials on issues ranging from race relations, government and politics, economics, crime, education and health care.  In 1962 Dick won the National Headliners Club Award and the Georgia Associated Press Broadcasters Award for his editorials.  In 1963, he founded and served as the first chair of the National Broadcast Editorial Conference (NBEC) at the University of Georgia in Athens.  Dick's WSB editorial scripts and papers from the first NBEC in 1963 and subsequent editorial conferences in other cities today reside in the University of Georgia's Hargrett Rare Books and Documents Library.
 
John Moore John Moore
John joined WSB in 1964 and worked his way from a part timer on WSB-FM to become the morning voice of Atlanta radio in the decade of the 1970’s after taking over from the popular Bob Van Camp. Moore teamed with Jim Howell in 1977 for some of the liveliest morning shows ever to air on WSB for several years. In 1980 when Howell left, John was paired with Garry Kinsey until 1982.
Larry Munson Larry Munson
Larry came to Atlanta and WSB in 1966 as play by play announcer for the Atlanta Braves and the Georgia Bulldogs. Munson was so popular the most of the Bulldog Nation would turn down the sound on their televisions and listen to Munson, instead. His play by play broadcasts are the stuff of legend. He retired in 2008 and passed away on November 20, 2011.
Jerry Psenka Jerry Psenka
Jerry began hosting the WSB's all-night "Clockwatcher" Show in 1962 and moved quickly to the early morning news, which included reporting on traffic both from WSB’s radio cars and the 750 Skycopter.  Psenka was the WSB newscaster who delivered the news that President Kennedy had been assassinated. Jerry left WSB in 1964.
Phil Schaefer Phil Schaefer
Phil joined WSB in 1963 as Assistant Program Director and Sports Director.  In his 17 years at WSB, Phil would not only win a piece of the prestigious Peabody award, but would win four Sigma Delta Chi Awards and 35 AP and UPI awards.  He did play by play for the Atlanta Hawks for five years, play by play of the Metro Atlanta High School football game of the week for 13 years, and was voice of the Peach Bowl for ten years.  He was named Georgia Sportscaster of the year in 1976, 1977 and 1979.  Schaefer left WSB in 1980.
Rich Shaw Rich Shaw
Rick started out in 1965 as a part time FM logger while he was still a student a Southern Polytechnic State University.  After a couple of years in the Navy, he returned to WSB in 1969 as an engineer. In 1979 WSB asked Rick to move over into programming as Assistant PD.  He moved up the ladder to become Operations Manager in 1985 before leaving WSB in 1991.
Andy Still Andy Still
Andy was a reporter at WSB for in 1966. He covered a civil disturbance, just south of the old Atlanta Stadium. He jumped out of his radio car just before it was overturned and ran into the empty church in search of a phone to get a report on the air.
Leslie Watson Leslie Watson
Leslie was a legend in the business and human resources offices of WSB Radio from 1964 until 2004.  In what can only be called an incredible career, Leslie’s farewell brought out the Chairman and CEO of Cox Enterprises Jim Kennedy who said, “Leslie hasn’t changed since the first day I saw her. I can’t believe she is old enough to retire. Can somebody check her records?” 

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives
Popular Music and Culture Collection

Phone: (404) 413-2880
Fax: (404) 413-2881
E-Mail: archives@gsu.edu

Mailing Address:
Special Collections & Archives
Georgia State University Library
100 Decatur Street, SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3202

In Person:
Library South, 8th floor

Employee Directory