For generations, listeners knew him as Cuzzin' Al on both WGBA and WDAK. Cuz' read "Snuffy Smith" out of the morning paper, guzzled Nehi orange drinks, and made listeners hungry talking about cackle berries and fish-head biscuits. He joked about his fictional wife, Anna Belle and their host of "crumb snatchers." He spoke the language of his listeners, the mill and shift workers in Columbus. Off the air, Brown guarded his anonymity, separating his country fried alter ego from the man who owned the Background Music Company and installed Muzak in local businesses.
Buddy Carr (John Odom) was born in Keysville, Georgia in 1946. After school someone suggested radio. His first job was with WJAT Swainsboro. Upon seeing an ad for an opening at WBBQ Augusta, Buddy decided to apply. PD Harley Drew called back to invite him for an interview and Buddy was offered the job. Buddy’s quick wit, dry sense of humor, made him a huge favorite. When an opening developed on the morning show Buddy was given the opportunity. Buddy went on to become the highest rated personality in Augusta and likely the highest rated in Georgia with number one shares in Arbitron.
|Jim Davenport III
Jim was born in Americus and was hired by his father at WTJH in College Park to run the "Georgia Jubilee." He then went to work for Jim Wilder at WBIE in Marietta. In 1961, Al Jones, owner of WFOM, hired Jim away to manage the station. When Mr. Jones died, Davenport bought WFOM. In 1979, Jim , "The Ole' Bear" retired from radio and formed Wingfoot Promotions, a company which acted as promotional liaison for many record labels.
Douglas Edwards came to WSB from WAGF Dothan Alabama. In his early days, he honed his craft at WSB Radio. He worked both as a member of the radio news staff and assistant news editor on the Atlanta Journal. He left in 1938 to work at WXYZ in Detroit, but returned to WSB in 1940 as assistant news director. In 1942 he went to New York where he became an icon of broadcasting on CBS radio and television as an anchor for the CBS Evening News.
He began his career as director of P.R. for WSB Radio in 1940. During World War II Ellis joined the Air Force as a producer for programs airing on major networks. He returned to network radio in New York following the war. Later he moved from radio to TV in 1948 as production manager for WSB TV. In 1952 he was called on to revive WSB Radio. He was the PD for WSB Radio from 1952 until 1964. In 1964, Mr. Ellis was promoted to GM of WSB-AM and WSB-FM, also VP of Cox Broadcasting. He retired in 1982. Ellis was inducted into the GA Music Hall of Fame in 1995.
"Skinny" Bobby Harper first came to WPLO in Atlanta in 1965. When the station changed to country he was fired. In 1967 he left WKNR in Detroit to return to Atlanta and WQXI where he was a little too controversial and was fired. Bobby loved Atlanta, and returned again in 1970 to work at WIIN until 1973. After a two-year absence he came back in 1975 to work at WGST, WKLS, WLTA, WCNN and WSB. He later joined the corporate communications office of Delta Air Lines and then worked for MARTA and Underground Atlanta before retiring.
Pat, as well as many other WQXI staff members (Kent Burkhart, Red Jones, Rod Roddy and Ken Dowe) during the station's prime rating years, came from Texas. Patrick "Aloysius" Hughes moved to Atlanta from KBOX - Dallas in 1961. He gained, and maintained, high audience ratings on the afternoon drive shift. Pat was very energetic and involved in several outside activities, such as weekend "hops" at Misty Waters and early promotion of Ronnie Milsap, who later became a country music legend. He was instrumental in obtaining a Scepter recording contract for Ronnie in 1965. At the time of his untimely death, Pat was a booth announcer at WAGA-TV.
Bill Lowery began his career in Atlanta as a disc jockey and broadcaster for Georgia Tech football games at radio station WGST in 1948. His weekly programs at the station included Musical Tune and Uncle Ebenezer Brown. Bill also worked at WQXI and is credited with coining the phrase "Quixie In Dixie." In 1958, Lowery formed National Recording Corporation in Atlanta and initially recorded at WGST Radio studios. Bill eventually formed Lowery Music. He helped to establish the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and was one of the first two inductees.
Zilla Mays was first heard on WAOK as the 'Mystery Lady' in 1954. In 1955 she revealed her identity and began hosting the 'Dream Girl Show,' which aired on the station every night between ten and eleven. She also made frequent guest appearances on Piano Red’s WAOK show. She was signed to RCA Victor's Groove label which released several records. She was instrumental in organizing the "road shows" sponsored by WAOK, which presented live R&B and gospel music. She released singles as "Zilla Mays with Her Boyfriends." In the early '60s she released an album on Bill Lowery's NRC label, The Men I Love and the Songs They Sang.
Bob McKee was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was a Air Corps tail gunner in World War II before getting into radio. He worked at stations in Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Tennessee before joining WQXI AM in 1951. He joined WAKE in Atlanta in 1956 and remained there until 1961 when he moved over to WAOK where he stayed for 17 years. In the late 50's McKee operated a teen club on Ivey Street called "McKee's Beat." When he left WAOK, he co-produced "Great Moments In Rock," a syndicated radio show. He was a Little League coach for 25 years.
Edwin A. Mendel, “Dr Jive," was the first R&B DJ in Columbus. In 1941, Ed shipped off for WWII service with the Army. After service Ed began his broadcast career at WDAK-AM, but soon moved to WAGA-AM in Atlanta. In 1946, Ed moved back to Columbus. He quickly made a name for himself at WGBA-AM and came to be known as "Dr. Jive," playing jazz and rhythm and blues. Following his stint at WGBA-AM, Mendel moved back to WDAK-AM where he continued the Dr. Jive show, playing R&B. He eventually moved over to WOKS-AM which was owned by Johnny O'Shields and featured programming catering to Columbus's black community.
Hank Morgan was born in Atlanta, but grew up in Florida. He was in the Navy and used to crack up the airmen around NAS Pensacola with his off-the-cuff disc jockeying. After a brief stop at a radio station in North Carolina, Hank "The Prank" came to Atlanta to work at WQXI and WATL. He was best known as the radio voice of the Atlanta Crackers baseball team from 1954 through 1964. He then joined WSB Television with Mel Allen and Ernie Johnson as the radio and television broadcast team for the Braves in 1965. After a brief retirement in Florida, he returned to Atlanta in 1985 and worked at WCNN radio.
In the fifties, William Perryman, a pianist from Hampton, Georgia struck up a lifelong friendship with white DJ Zenas Sears at WGST. Sears later took over the ownership of WATL, and changed the call-letters to WAOK. He then hired Perryman to host a radio show called "The Dr. Feelgood Show," which would air until 1967. A few years later in 1969 Perryman stopped touring and began a regular engagement in "Underground Atlanta" until 1979. During the course of the '70s and early '80s he recorded and released several albums and toured Europe. Perryman was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1983. The following year Perryman died at the age of 74.
|Helen Farmer Popejoy
Ms. Popejoy was born in Macon and graduated from Wesleyan College in 1944 with an A.B. Degree in Speech and from Wesleyan Conservatory in 1945 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. She joined WMAZ radio and was the first female newscaster in Macon. Later she went on to work at WBML in Macon and WRBL radio in Columbus before returning to Macon in 1953 as part of the team that put WMAZ television on the air, hosting "The Hospitality Hour." In the 60's and 70's she hosted "The Helen Popejoy Show on Macon's Channel 41. Ms. Popejoy was active in church, non-profit, and community activities all of her life.
Stan Richards (John Walsh) was born in Augusta. Jack attended public schools in Griffin. After graduation, Jack attended North GA College and then joined the Air Force pilot program. While training he became interested in radio through his roommate, George Carlin. He then began pursuing radio, first at KRMD Shreveport, then returning to Atlanta at WAKE as ‘Stan Richards.’ When Bill Drake went to California, he wanted Jack to go with him, but Jack chose to stay in Atlanta. He later left radio in 1966 to pursue a Television career with WXIA. Jack left WXIA to return to military full-time and flew RF4's for the Alabama National Guard. Jack retired from the Military in 1983.
A native Texan, Rod joined WQXI, Atlanta in the 12:00-3:00 time period in the early sixties. In addition to his on-air responsibilities, he recorded innumerable commercials. After further stints at WKBW, Buffalo, KQV, Pittsburgh and KLIF, Dallas, he became a network TV announcer in Los Angeles. Rod's most successful professional accomplishment was as the announcer for "The Price Is Right" on CBS-TV from 1986 until the time of his death in 2003.
|Dr. Don Rose
Donald Rose (Enberg) came to WQXI, Atlanta from WEBC in Duluth, Minnesota in February 1966. Following a successful two-year period at WQXI, he took his morning show to WFIL, Philadelphia and, in 1973, on to KFRC, San Francisco for an outstanding run of 13 years. At KFRC he became one of the nation's highest rated and most highly compensated on-air personalities, in spite of chronic medical problems.
The famous weatherman of Atlanta, Guy began his career at WSFT in Thomaston, GA. before moving to WSB in the 50's He did not stay in radio long, moving on to TV as a weatherman. Guy went on to Channel 5 and later WXIA Channel 11 where he spent the bulk of his career. After he left WXIA, Sharpe returned to his roots, spending four hours a day on the radio. His time was split between a morning talk show and an evening Oldies show at WGFS-AM (1430) in Covington.
|Bob Van Camp
Bob Van Camp came to WSB through his association with Elmo Ellis. They served in the Army Air Force together. He worked at WSB radio from July 14, 1947, until his retirement Feb. 1, 1974. He had served as chief announcer, music director and host of the "Morning Merry-Go-Round" show. Bob also played the giant Moller theater organ at the Fox from 1963 until 1987. After retiring from WSB, he was an office manager and salesman at Allen Organ Studios.
Jerry was a graduate of Chamblee High School, served in the U. S. Navy during WWII and attended Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. His career in radio spanned more than four decades including employment at WSB, the Protestant Radio and Television Center, and work as a freelance producer specializing in radio commercials. 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 holds the dubious distinction of hosting WSB's final broadcast from the top of the Biltmore Hotel on December 28, 1955.
While stationed in Italy during World War II, Army Sgt. George G. Weiss dreamed of starting a radio station back home. After leaving service, Weiss formed Savannah Valley Broadcasting and chose the call letters WBBQ. He was granted a license to build and operate a station at 1340 KC. WBBQ AM signed on in 1946. WBBQ-FM was added in 1956. Mr. Weiss was content to let his managers run the day-to-day business while he supervised WBBQ “mobile news" from the city’s most famous news vehicle, “WBBQ Car One." In 1960 WBBQ changed to a “Top 40” format and went on to become a dominate station and one of the highest rated in America.
Born in 1895 in Lumpkin County, Hoyt Wimpy was already an experienced automobile mechanic by the time he served in World War I. Hoyt Wimpy was an avid aviator between World Wars I and II and during World War II he was appointed by Governor Arnall as commander of the Georgia State Guard where he developed a great interest in radio which he would later pursue. Mr. Wimpy relocated to Thomasville after the war and in December, 1922 and put WPAX, the third radio station in Georgia, on the air with ten watts. He also constructed and sold receivers. He retained ownership of WPAX until the early 1960's.
|Gerald S. (Jerry) Blum
Gerald S. (Jerry) Blum’s first radio job was at WIL Radio in St. Louis. From there KBOX Radio in Dallas was next. While at KBOX, his sales and management reputation grew and he was hired as General Sales Manager of WLEE in Richmond, Virginia in 1960. Two years later Esquire Magazine, owners of WQXI AM/FM Radio in Atlanta, offered him the position of General Sales Manager. He joined QUXIE and 94-Q Radio on February 1, 1962. In 1968, he was promoted to General Manager and served in that capacity until he retired in 1989. According to the creator of the hit television show "WKRP", the character of Art Carlson was modeled after Blum.
|Neal A. Boortz, Jr.
Neal A Boortz, Jr. (born April 6, 1945) is an American author, attorney, and radio host. His nationally syndicated talk show from WSB, The Neal Boortz Show ended in 2013. Boortz's first involvement with radio was in the 1960s, while he was a student at Texas A&M University, working as a local on-air personality at WTAW-AM. After moving to Georgia, he became an avid listener of Atlanta’s first talk radio station. Boortz became a regular caller to the morning talk show. When the show's host died, it created a job opening, which Boortz actively pursued at WRNG. He was initially hired on a two-week "trial run,” and later offered the permanent position.
Kent Burkhart’s radio career covers station ownership, group management, as a satellite and network pioneer, and international radio advisor and consultant. Radio Ink magazine named him as one of “100 PIONEERS” and one of the “75 who made a difference… in the first 75 years… of the industries' evolution.” In 2002 he was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. Other awards include the Fifth Estate Award from Broadcasting Magazine and the Gavin radio Executive of the Year award. He has held ownership positions at radio stations in Austin, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Columbia, and Greenville. He was an afternoon air personality at KOWH/Omaha, program director of WQAM/Miami, and also worked in New Orleans and Houston.
Bill Drake, born Philip Yarbrough, grew up in Donalsonville, Georgia, and began his radio career at WMGR in Bainbridge. He worked at WWNS and moved to Atlanta and worked at WAKE. His name was changed to Drake because the station wanted a name that rhymed with the call letters. In 1962 he teamed with Gene Chenault and by the late ’60s, Drake-Chenault had become a massive organization offering Sales, Programming Consulting Services, jingles, and totally automated packages in six different formats, with over 350 full time radio stations. They won numerous awards and produced the widely acclaimed 52-hour radio special “The History of Rock and Roll.” Bill Drake passed away on November 29, 2008.
Paul Drew, originally from Detroit, attended Wayne State University and he worked at the college station. In 1957 he went to Atlanta and the day he arrived was hired as an announcer at WGST. Drew moved to WAKE in 1961 where he cultivated a large teen audience. In 1963, Paul moved to WQXI. As host of the 7P-12M shift, he introduced Atlanta to and later toured with the Beatles. He eventually became the program director of WQXI. Drew went on to program CKLW - Detroit, KFRC - San Francisco, and KHJ - Los Angeles. Paul then became Vice President of Programming for RKO Radio. Paul Drew died on May 16. 2013.
|Hugh "Baby" Jarrett
Hugh “Baby” Jarrett started his association with the music industry in the early 1950s in a quartet known as The Jordanaires, the backup group for Elvis Presley. Hugh later hosted his own, national radio program in Nashville at WLAC. His Georgiastations included Atlanta's WPLO, WFOM in Marietta, and WSB in Atlanta. Hugh's voice was used by major television networks, and for years was the voice of Goldkist. Hugh was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 26, 2004 and hosted a Sunday morning gospel program on WWEV in Cumming until his death on May 31, 2008.
Rhubarb Jones was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Tallapoosa, Georgia. While attending West Georgia College in Carrollton, he began his radio career at WWCC in Bremen. He worked at WCLS in Columbus, Ga., WSKY in Asheville, and WLWI in Montgomery before starting his 22-year morning show at 106.7 in Atlanta. Rhubarb's charity projects included fundraisers for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and for the Georgia Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He is an inductee into the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame. Rhubarb hosted the Georgia Music Awards from 1993 until 2005 and in October of 2007 was appointed to the board of directors of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.
Don Kennedy began his radio career in 1943 with a half-watt homemade radio station in the basement of his parent’s home in Pennsylvania. After military service as a radio studio manager in a psychological warfare unit during the Korean War, he anchored the news at WSB-TV in Atlanta, eventually being assigned as a children’s show host (Officer Don and The Popeye Club). In 1960 he established WKLS-FM in Atlanta, serving as President and GM. He was also President of Georgia Network and Florida Network, two of the pioneer state news networks in the nation. He was the host of the Big Band Jump show that airs on stations nationwide and did a morning show at WQXI.
Gary Lee McKee, an Oklahoma native, discovered radio at the age of 16. The owner/manager of the station was a family friend. After his term of duty in the Army, including a tour in Vietnam, he landed at WKRC radio in Cincinnati, Ohio. He moved to Atlanta in 1971. In 1974, WQXI General Manager, Jerry Blum decided to improve on the limited signal coverage of WQXI AM and simulcast the Gary McKee Morning Show on both the AM and FM. WQXI’s morning ratings exploded to number one and remained at the top for eighteen years. Gary went on to work at WSB AM and FM as well as WZGC before retiring in 1999.
Larry Munson was best known for handling radio play-by-play of University of Georgia Bulldogs football games on WSB and The Georgia Network from 1966 to 2008. He also announced UGA basketball and Atlanta Falcons radio broadcasts and hosted talk shows. Munson served as a United States Army medic during World War II. Upon leaving the military, he spent all $200 of his mustering-out pay to enroll in broadcasting school. In 2003, he received the Chris Schenkel Award from the National Football Foundation and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Munson was inducted into the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Ludlow Porch moved to Atlanta and obtained a law degree from John Marshall Law School after serving in the Marines. He ran an independent insurance company with offices in Atlanta, Macon, and Athens until he “fell into radio” sometime around 1972 at WRNG in Atlanta. He closed the Macon office and sold the Athens office. Radio was the Porch future. Using WSB as his base he operated “Funseekers,” a growing network of stations heard across the Southeast in eight states daily. Porch called his listeners “wackos.” Regular guests included Sheriff Milton Crabapple, Choo-Choo, Crazy Mike, Tennessee Ted, and Ron DeVous, just to name a few. Ludlow passed away on February 11, 2011
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