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Georgia Radio Hall of Fame: 2018

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

Legacy Inductees

Donna Brake

Donna Brake, born in Nashville, was Valedictorian of her high school class and earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Middle Tennessee State University. After college, she began her radio career on-air at WSM FM. Brake ultimately became the station’s first female Music Director, then Program Director. She moved to WSB FM in Atlanta as a personality and its first female Program Director.

Sarah Smith Cason

Sarah was born in Grover, North Carolina, and moved to Atlanta in 1953. She began and ended her radio career with WQXI (later known as Start 94). Cason was a controller supervising receivables, payables, and payroll. She was a member of North Metro Baptist and a member of the Red Hat Society.

Russell Fredrich

Russell Fredrich was born and raised in New York City. After graduating from high school, he joined the Marines and served in Korea. He received an honorable discharge and settled in Savannah becoming a salesman at WTOC Radio. On February 4, 1969, Fredrich put Savannah’s first FM station, WXLM, on the air. In 1977, he sold the station (now WAEV FM).

Cecil and Ethel Woodall Grider

California-born, Cecil Howard Grider, was an Army Captain stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, when he met Columbus native, Ethel Clyde Woodall. They married in 1943 and when Cecil resigned from his Army career they entered the radio business with Ethel’s brother, William C. “Billy” Woodall, and opened WIMO in Winder. A string of stations followed this partnership in years to come.

Otis Head

Otis Head was born north of Varnell, Georgia. He learned to play the harmonica by listening to mountain and country music. During World War II he worked in Detroit. In 1959, he began hosting live shows on WBLJ, WRCD, and WTTI in Dalton. The Otis Head Show was on the air for more than 50 years. His last show was in March of 2014.  He is an inductee into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame.

Frank Dean Martin, III

Frank Dean Martin, III was born in Thomasville and attended city schools, as well as Fort Valley State University. He began his radio career at Macon’s WIBB. In 1980, he became manager of WPGA FM. Frank moved to Piedmont Communications in 1989 and remained with the company through two ownership changes. In 2005, he was named “Most Knowledgeable Radio Account Manager” by the Central Georgia Advertising Federation.

Rudy "The Deuce" Rutherford

Rudy “The Deuce” Rutherford was born in Richland Georgia. He began his broadcast career in 1955 at WNJR in Newark, New Jersey. In 1958, he returned to his Georgia roots at Columbus’ WCLS Radio but soon took his talents to WOKS.  Rutherford was the first Black man in the Deep South to host a non-gospel television program: “Rocking with The Deuce,” on WTVM-TV. Rudy later served as program director for WFDR-Radio in Manchester, Georgia. He was inducted into the Black Radio Hall of Fame.

Dallas Tarkenton

Dallas Tarkenton was born in Elizabeth City, NC, and was a resident of Athens, Georgia for 63 years. He graduated from The University of Georgia. Tarkenton owned and operated eleven radio stations in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Joe "Vincent" Trankina

Joe Trankina was born in Chicago. After graduating from high school, he attended and graduated from, Beck School for Radio in Minneapolis. His first radio job was in Decatur, Alabama. When listeners couldn’t understand his name, he began calling himself Joe Vincent. In 1958, Joe helped build and operate WSIZ in Ocilla and WAOK in Douglas and managed a station in Alabama. In 1968, he joined the Radio Advertising Bureau as Southeastern Regional Manager based in Atlanta.

Hugh Wilson

Hugh Wilson was born in Miami and graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. He became a copywriter for Burton-Campbell Advertising in Atlanta and became friends with several people at WQXI. Later he joined the writing staff at Mary Tyler Moore Productions (MTM) in Los Angeles. He pitched a story idea based on a radio station to MTM and it became WKRP in Cincinnati. Some of its characters were based on his friends from WQXI.

Career Achievement Inductees

Silas Alexander, III Silas "SiMan Baby" Alexander, III

Silas “SiMan Baby” Alexander, III was born in Eatonton, GA, and began his radio career there as a board op while in high school. After attending UGA he became a personality at WIGO. Silas then spent time on television before joining V-103 in Atlanta. He transitioned to KISS 104.1 in Atlanta then to Magic 107.5/9.5 where he is now co-host of "The Ride" on weekday afternoons. Alexander has worked with many charitable organizations in Atlanta.

Vernon Arnold Vernon Arnold

Vernon Arnold was born in Tennessee and attended Mid-South Electronics Radio School in Nashville. His first job in radio was in Statesboro at WWNS then, he went to WAYX in Waycross. Arnold then moved to WPGA in Perry and eventually went to WJEM in Valdosta. He stayed there long enough to become its owner and eventually sold WJEM and retired to his present home in Thomasville.

Edgar Buchanan Edgar "Champagne" Buchanan

Edgar "Champagne" Buchanan was born into a military family in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. After high school, he served in the Army in the Vietnam era. In 1976, he was stationed in Columbus and began his radio career at WOKS. He then moved to WCGQ FM and continued his market journey at WEIZ FM and WDAK AM. After a few years out of the market, he returned to Columbus, eventually landing at R&B 92.1.

Jamie Dupree Jamie Dupree

Jamie Dupree is a native of Washington, DC, and attended college at the University of Florida. His parents were staffers for members of Congress. Jamie was a page and intern in the House of Representatives. He has covered 11 national political conventions, with his first being the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta. His reports are heard on Cox Radio stations around the country including WSB-AM/WSBB - FM Atlanta. In 2016, Dupree was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition that robbed him of the ability to speak, let alone be on the radio. While doctors at Emory University and other major health research universities are trying to solve his voice troubles, Jamie is now back on the radio, thanks to a high-tech solution developed by a company in Scotland. It uses his old audio archives to allow Jamie to type his stories, and then generates the radio reports in his own voice, what is known as Jamie Dupree 2.0.

Mitch Faulkner Mitch Faulkner

Mitch Faulkner was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky and his radio career began at WHOP AM. He has worked in markets across the US, but Atlanta is home now. Mitch was on air at WIGO AM from 1980 to 1984 then moved to V-103 where he was Atlanta's first #1 rated African American air personality. In 1987 he began doing voice work and eventually founded his own company, On Mic Productions. He also hosts a weekend program on KISS 104.1.

Steve Mitchell Steve Mitchell

Steve Mitchell hails from Greensboro, N.C., and got his start in radio doing sign-on at WPET. From there he went to WCOG. After graduating he did nights at WISE in Asheville, NC. After stops in Raleigh, St. Louis, Miami, LA, and San Francisco he became PD at WKLS in Atlanta in 1974. After The Wake-Up Crew, the Mark & Steve show went to KSHE St. Louis for the mornings. Steve returned to Atlanta and worked at 94Q/Star 94 before becoming Production Director and Rhubarb Jones Show producer at WYAY and morning show producer for Moby, then program director and afternoon personality. In 2006, Mitchell opened INGO Studios producing everything from commercials to documentaries. He hosts "Thunder Road", a nationally syndicated country radio NASCAR-themed program.

Bob Neil Bob Neil

Bob Neil held various programming and programming management positions with NewCity Broadcasting Company in addition to WSYRAM and WYYY-FM (Syracuse, NY) and WFLA-AM/FM (Tampa, Fla.). He joined Cox in 1986 as station manager of Atlanta’s WSB-AM/FM, and in 1988 was named vice president and general manager of Tampa’s WWRM-FM. From 1989 to 1992 he was vice president and general manager of WSB-AM/FM, then served as executive vice president-radio of Cox Broadcasting. He was named president and chief executive officer of Cox Radio, Inc. in 1996. From 2009 until 2011 he served as Cox Media Group (CMG) Executive Vice President.

David Nolan David Nolin

David Nolin is from Eufaula, Alabama, and began his radio career there at WULA/WKQK. After becoming its program director and doing a short stint in Montgomery radio, he moved to WFSY in Panama City, then to WGSY in Columbus, GA. In 1996, he moved to Macon to program the Cumulus stations. In 2009, David returned to Panama City as operations manager of WBPC FM.

Denis O'Hayer Denis O'Hayer

Denis O'Hayer graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont. His radio career began at WGCH in Greenwich, CT, followed by WELI in New Haven. In 1978, he came to Atlanta's WGST, and for the next 19 years, he worked in a variety of roles, including Sixty at Six, a daily hour-long news and interview program. In 2009, he joined WABE FM to host "All things Considered”. O'Hayer retired in 2018.

Eric Seidel Eric Seidel

Eric Seidel is from Washington, DC and graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and worked in several markets including New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. He came to Atlanta to be the news director at WGST and eventually became station manager. Under Eric's leadership, WGST enjoyed tremendous success spawning the careers of well-known names like Sean Hannity, Neil Boortz, and Clark Howard. After WGST, Seidel founded The Media Trainers.

Rob Stadler Rob Stadler

Rob Stadler earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Muskingum University in 1982.  His radio career began in Ohio while attending college. After stops in Columbus, OH, and Miami, FL, Stadler came to Atlanta in 2015 to be the news director at WSTR - FM. In 2017, he transitioned to WYAY-FM in Atlanta as a morning host. In 2018, he left WYAY to become a Media, PR & Communications Consultant.

Laura Starling Laura Starling

Laura Starling was born in Athens. While attending UGA she got a part-time job at WRFD. She came to Macon to attend Wesleyan and was hired to do evenings at WDEN. With a degree in English, Laura considered teaching as a career, however, WDEN moved her to a mid-day shift and she's been there for over 30 years. Laura was named Best Radio Personality by the Macon Telegraph and a frequent emcee for charity events including ones for the Alzheimer’s Association and The Children’s Hospital.

Jeff Winter Jeff Winter

Jeff Winter was born in Brooklyn, New York, and took an early interest in radio. At 17 he began working at WHLI. He volunteered at Hofstra University's WVHC and did a weekend program on WFYI. Jeff was drafted in 1966, and assigned to the Third Army Soldier Shows based in Atlanta. In 1967, he began doing afternoons at WKXI FM and became its operations manager when it changed to WQXI FM. In 1974, he was hired as the morning jock at the new 96 Rock. Jeff voiced a network TV commercial for Fresca launching a career as a renowned voice actor.

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