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Georgia Radio Hall of Fame: 2010

This guide documents the inductees and award winners of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

Legacy Inductees

Sylvia Clark

Sylvia Clark was born Cairo, GA.  She graduated from Wesleyan College with a major in music.  Her professional life began in Atlanta and a position at WXIA, Channel 11. In the Fall of 1961 she joined WQXI Radio. Kent Burkhart named her Music Director of WQXI, later Programming Assistant at a newly acquired FM now known as "Star 94." In the early 70's, Sylvia became a music consultant in Dallas, then joined Burns Media as Music Director and was one of the architects of "Stereo Rock" syndicated by TM Productions. Clark, thorough Burns Media, programmed the ambient music at each of the Olympic Venues at the 1984 games.  Sylvia semi-retired in the North Georgia.

Ed Dunbar

Ed Dunbar was a lifelong resident of Augusta and the Manager/ Owner of WBBQ Radio Station from 1947 until 1987. Mr. Dunbar received a number of awards including the Presidential Achievement Award from Paine College, the Di Gamma Kappa "Pioneer Georgia Broadcaster" Award. He was a member of the GAB and served on the Mutual Broadcasting System's Advisory Board, the ABC Radio Contemporary Network Advisory Board, and National Association of Broadcasters Medium Market Radio Board. He was the voice of Trinity Hill United Methodist Church's Broadcast ministries and the voice of Michael Guido's * Evangelistic Ministries radio program, "Seed for the Sower."

Donald Jones

Donald Jones attended Princeton Preparatory School and graduated from Princeton University. He served in the Canadian Air Force, and was a captain the U. S. Air. Force. He flew 25 missions and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and five Air Medals. After serving his country, he became an advertising executive for National Radio Sales and in 1949 became commercial manager and vice-president of WSAV in Savannah. In 1956 Jones founded WSGA and it became one of the most successful Savannah “Top 40” stations. WSGA was a consistent ratings winner under Jones’ ownership. In 1971he became part owner of WSGF, a position he held until 1977. Jones was active in Rotary, and Christ Church in Savannah.

Robert McGarity

Bob McGarity was born in Atlanta, attended Boys High, and attended Davidson College. McGarity’s early radio career included stations in Cedartown, Griffin, and Winder. He moved back to Atlanta to work at WBGE and WSB. In 1959, he moved to Lawrenceville to work for WLAW. The station was founded and owned by his father. He sold advertising, and managed the station. When his father died, Bob and his sister became the owners. McGarity was the play by play voice of the Gwinnett Black Nights for nearly 40 years. One of his most memorable accomplishments was composing the lyrics for the Central Gwinnett Fight Song. Bob was active in Lawrenceville Civic Associations throughout his career.

Allen Woodall, Sr.

Allen Woodall, Sr. was born in Columbus and graduated from The University of Georgia. Before radio, he worked in newspaper and publications in Athens, Montgomery, and Columbus. He founded WDAK in 1943 and added stations in Albany, McRae, Waycross and Brunswick. His group, the “Big Johnny Reb” stations, were the starting point and home of many of Georgia’s radio professionals including several Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Inductees. Woodall and five other broadcasters founded the Radio Advertising Bureau and he served as its board chairman.  He is a past president of The Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Woodall was a civic leader in Columbus and an active member of the Kiwanis.

Career Achievement Inductees

Bill Anderson Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and raised near Atlanta. At UGA he worked on local radio stations. In 1957 in Commerce, Georgia, Anderson became the first heard by listeners of WJJC on the first day on air. He moved to Nashville and secured a Decca recording contract with hits like “Po’Folks,” “Mama Sang A Song,” “The Tips Of My Fingers,” “8X10” and the country/pop smash, “Still.” In 2002, BMI named him its first country music songwriting Icon. He's a member of the Country Music, Grand Ole Opry, Georgia Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, South Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, and the Georgia Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame.

Clarke Brown Clarke Brown

Clarke first joined WQXI AM/FM in 1967 as an account executive. He rose to the position of General Sales Manager and was named Assistant Vice-President in 1983. In 1990 Brown returned to WQXI AM/FM as Senior Vice-President and General Manager. In 1991 Brown was appointed president of Jefferson Pilot’s radio division and held those responsibilities concurrent with his Atlanta GM duties. In 1993 a new VP/General Manager of WQXI-AM and Star 94 was named allowing him to devote his energies to Jefferson-Pilot’s stations in Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Miami, and San Diego. In July 2005, after 38 years with Jefferson-Pilot (and its predecessors), Brown retired from his role as radio division president.

Eddie Esserman Eddie Esserman

Eddie Esserman grew up in Rome, Georgia, and got his first radio job at 16 at WLAQ. While attending West Georgia College, he worked at WLBB/WBTR. At Georgia Tech, he worked at WREK and part-time at WKXI FM (now Star 94) in Atlanta. Later, Eddie became a salesman then a local sales manager, and finally General Sales Manager of WKLS. In 1984 he joined WFOX where he was Vice President/General Manager. Shamrock Broadcasting transferred him out of state. He returned to Georgia as owner-operator of WMAZ/WAYS in Macon and WEAS in Savannah. Esserman sold those stations, became a broker, and is co-owner of WRJY and WXMK in Brunswick.

Sam Hale Sam Hale

Sam's first paying gig was WMMT in McMinnville, TN. When WBMC went on the air he was among its original staff. Following military service, he became an anchor for the first scheduled news program on a U. S. Army broadcast TV station. Sam joined WKDA, Nashville, and was hired by the Bartell group to work at their stations in Birmingham, Milwaukee, and New York City. He did mornings in Minneapolis and Chicago then to WQXI, Atlanta in 1962. In 1966 he devoted full-time to his avocation, the stock market. Following a successful career as a Chartered Market Technician, he retired in 2003. Sam is the co-founder/former vice president of The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

Tom Hughes Tom Hughes

After five years at stations in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Tom came to Atlanta in the fall of 1977 to work for Newsradio 92- the first all-news station in Georgia. In early 1978 he moved to "morning host" for the next two decades. Newsradio 92 became 640 WGST in the 1980s. Tom broadcast live from the '88 Democratic Convention in Atlanta, the Braves World Series in Toronto in 1992, London in 1993, and the Olympics in 1996. From August 1997 to March 2000, Hughes was co-host of "Hughes and Holman" on 680 WCNN. In June of 2000, he returned to WGST to host "Atlanta's First News with Tom Hughes" which aired until his retirement in 2006.

J J Jackson J J Jackson

J J Jackson’s first job in radio was WCPA in Clearfield, Pennsylvania in 1971. Then to WRKT in Titusville, Florida, and in 1973 came to Georgia to WRFC in Athens. In 1974 he was hired at 790 WQXI, He left for a couple of years but returned to Georgia in 1986 to work at WFOX. For nearly 15 years, Jackson hosted the “Sunday Gold Countdown” and his “Traveling Rock and Roll Show”. In 2001 he segued to WLCL, KOOL 1057 in Atlanta until the format changed. While at WLCL, J J began producing “The Rock and Roll Food Guy”, which aired on 30 stations. He also hosted “Atlanta Cooks” a food talk show on WGST.

Kirk Mellish Kirk Mellish

Kirk Mellish knew he wanted to be a fireman or a weatherman. Luckily for Atlanta residents, the WSB radio veteran chose to follow the weather. Although broadcasting was not on his mind, he did use a CB radio to broadcast weather reports to truckers. They began to ask him for forecasts so he started studying weather books. After graduating from Valparaiso University with a degree in broadcast meteorology, he joined WSB radio. That was over twenty years ago. Today, listeners tune in each day to find out how Kirk will rate that day's weather on the “Mellish Meter” and he has become famous for severe weather reporting: “When the weather is hellish, depend on Mellish.”

Phil Schaefer Phil Schaefer

As a teen, Phil Schaefer loved sports broadcasts. At Ohio State, he did campus radio play-by-play. In 1963, he applied at WSB and was hired as an assistant P.D. He moved to Sports covering everything from golf to NASCAR, and became Sports Director, host of” Schaefer on Sports” and “WSB Sports Final”. He was the color man for Larry Munson on the UGA Football Network for 16 years, the voice of the Peachbowl, College Football Game of the Week, and the NCAA Basketball Tournament on CBS Radio. Three-time “Georgia Sportscaster of the Year” by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. In 2010, Augusta National recognized him for having covered the "Masters" for 45 consecutive years.

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