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Georgia Radio Hall of Fame: 2019

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

Legacy Inductees

Sean Demery

When Sean Demery was a college student, his decision to join the college radio station staff would lead to a highly successful career. His first job led Demery to San Antonio, Salt Lake City, and Atlanta as music director and afternoon drive host on WAPW Power 99 which ultimately became 99X. Sean left in 2000 but returned as 99X morning co-host in 2006. He died in 2018.

Bill Duncan

Bill Duncan was born in Atlanta. He started his radio career at WDGL in Douglasville. He also worked at WDMG, WPLO, WCNN, and WFOM. Bill left Atlanta to work at WAPE and Y-10 in Jacksonville. He was Operations Manager at WMRZ FM in Columbus and ended his radio career at B985 in Atlanta. Bill Duncan was a gentle soul loved by many.

Steve Ferguson

Steve Ferguson was born in West Virginia and attended Piedmont College. His radio career began at WMTZ in Augusta. After five years, he had risen to be program director and morning show host. In 1990, WMTZ changed formats and Steve left the station to work for WTHO in Thompson as program director, a position he held for 29 years. He was WTHO morning man for 18 years.

Gary Guntor

Gary Guntor began with his work at WMAZ Radio and Television in Macon, GA in the mid-1960s. In 1970 he entered into major market radio as a staff announcer at WSB-AM & FM in Atlanta, GA, which continued for 4 years. In 1974 Gary’s professional communications career diverted into the corporate world where he spent 23 years working in media and training while part-time at WSB.

Burke Johnson

Burke Johnson was born in Maryland. After this stint in the Army, he enrolled at Morris Brown in Atlanta. A chance encounter with WERD's Jack Gibson (a GRHoF Legacy inductee) led to an internship then to an on-air shift. WAOK owner (and 2008 GRHoF Legacy inductee) Zenas Sears hired him at WAOK. Burke became program director. He held that position until the mid-'70s. He passed away in 2019.

Bert Parks

In 1931, Bert Parks began his broadcast career in Atlanta. He won a singing contest on WGST and at age 17, moved to New York and became the youngest-ever staff announcer at CBS radio. Parks went on to host quiz shows on the radio. In 1955 he began a 24-year career with the “Miss America Pageant. Parks’ appeared as Herb Tarlek, Sr., in an episode of “WKRP In Cincinnati.”

Ben Parsons

Ben Parsons was born in Columbus. At seventeen, he began to work in radio. In 1947 he was inducted into the Army, and stationed in South Korea with the Signal Corp. While in Korea he was a correspondent for WRBL radio in Columbus. In 1952, when he got out of the Army, he returned to Columbus and WRBL and was program director and an announcer until 1971.

Ray Relihan

Ray Relihan was born in Walpole, NH. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force and after the service, became chief engineer of WLBB in Cedartown and then part owner. Relihan moved to LaGrange as Chief Engineer and morning announcer on WTRP. Ray was known affectionately as “The Park Avenue Hillbilly.”

Doc Suttles

Fred “Doc” Suttles began his radio career at WJLD in Birmingham in 1960. In 1965 he moved to Albany to play jazz gospel, jazz, and blues on WJIZ. Doc” also promoted concerts, and eventually became General Manager. In addition to being a radio personality, Suttles did play by play broadcasts of Albany State football and basketball. Guided by Suttles, WJIZ dominated Albany radio ratings.

Mike Ventura

Mike Ventura was born in Chicago. After college, he joined the Marines and served his country during the Vietnam conflict. After the service, he worked in various positions at radio stations in Sioux City, Iowa, Charlotte North Carolina, Tampa, Florida, and WQXI FM in Atlanta. Ventura left radio to create a digital marketing firm.

Career Achievement Inductees

Bob Coxe Bob Coxe

Bob Coxe's first radio job was unpaid: rock jock and hockey play by play for my college radio station in the late sixties. After graduation, he taught school for two years, and except for a brief stint as a politician's press secretary, the rest of my professional life was radio. Coxe worked for several stations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island before moving to Atlanta in '78, to host the afternoon news on WGST. Twelve years later he landed at WSB and spent the next 23 years co-anchoring Atlanta's Morning News, a consistent award and ratings winner.

Dwight Donald Dwight Donald

Dwight C. Douglas grew up in Pittsburgh, the birthplace of commercial radio. He worked at WPPJ (Point Park University), WAMO, WDVE, and WKTQ (13Q) as production director, on-air talent, and program director. After Pittsburgh, he put DC101 on the air in Washington. Then, to the great state of Georgia to join Burkhart-Abrams & Associates where he worked for 25 years as president. He was a consultant to 96Rock during all the great years. After leaving Burkhart-Abrams, Douglas became the PD at the Classic Rock station Z93 in Atlanta. Then VP Marketing at RCS Selector in New York.

Sabrina Gibbons-Cupit Sabrina Gibbons-Cupit

Sabrina was just 15 years old when she started her career in radio. Not old enough to drive to her first job, her mother would drop her off and pick her up at Q-105 in Athens. She only worked there 2 or 3 weeks when the new program director discovered her age. Gibbons-Cupit landed a job at WIMO in Winder and the rest as they say is history. She is WSB's midday news anchor, Health Reporter and is the CDC correspondent for WSB and CBS Network. Sabrina also was an anchor for CNN Headline News and CNN Airport News.

Mary Therese Grabowski Griffin Mary Therese Grabowski Griffin

Mary Therese started her radio career at WAYS-FM in Macon while at Wesleyan College. Coming from a military family, she successfully combined her passion for the armed forces with her work in radio. Shortly after the war in the Persian Gulf began, she created "Operation Pen Pal,” a radio promotion resulting in more than 10,000 signatures from listeners sent to deployed troops. She went on to work in television and then, in 2016 returned to radio at the Macon's Fox Classic Hits Network as news director/morning local news anchor. Mary Therese is a shining example of a radio professional who exemplifies community service.

Sanders Hickey Sanders Hickey

Born in Columbus, Sanders Hickey was on-air in Columbus, Athens, Atlanta, and Macon, before transitioning into sales management in Columbus and Birmingham. After building and operating an FM in Texas, Sanders returned to Atlanta as Regional VP for Arbitron, servicing 4 6 Southeastern markets. Later, he was President of Southern Broadcasting, with stations in Georgia and Florida. For eighteen years, Sanders has been an Operating Partner of Golden Isles Broadcasting, with stations in Brunswick/St. Simons Island. Sanders is a lecturer at the "GAB Radio Talent Institute," on The Board of Directors of the GAB, and lives with his wife Karen in Athens.

Tim Johnson Tim Johnson

Five sold-out Ultimate Oldies stadium concerts, breaking the Beatles' fastest sellout record. Attracting a quarter-million listeners to a parking lot in July for music & fireworks. Restoring The Fox Theater through a classic summer film series. The Fox Box Regatta, Louie Louie Marching Band, outrageous April Fools stunts, hundreds of festivals, broadcasts, and events. Breakthrough interactive billboards, custom TV campaigns, and direct marketing efforts driving new ratings records and client results. Yes, “Spiff Happens” and “We Found Dale O’Brien”. From concept to flawless execution, please consider Tim Johnson, Marketing & Promotions Director for WFOX & WPCH, Atlanta.

Bear O'Brian Bear O'Brian

Bear O’Brian was born Wade Collier on May 18, 1960 in Manchester Georgia. 18 years later, was hired for his first radio gig at WFDR-AM in his hometown. After growing up listening to Columbus Georgia radio, he finally landed a job at Columbus giant “WCGQ” in 1982 as a copywriter/part-time air talent. Three weeks later, long-time morning Man, Val McGinness, put in his six-hour notice and Bear headed straight downstairs to GM Joe McClure‘s office to ask for the morning gig until they could hire someone else. 41 years later, he's still there.

Ron Parker Ron Parker

Ron Parker is in his 6th decade of radio starting in Georgia in 1968 working on-air at WPLO-FM Atlanta. He attended the University of Georgia and graduated with a journalism/advertising degree.  He worked at WDOL, WRFC, WFOX, and WUOG Athens. Ron was at WQXI from 1972 to 1975 and in 1976 at Z93. His career moves include WLCY Tampa, KKBQ Houston, Program Director ABC Radio Networks, KFRC San Francisco, Program Director KLDE Houston, and WCBS New York.  He is currently working at WLS FM Chicago and for 12 years has been with SiriusXM. Parker was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2016.

Ken Stanford Ken Stanford

Ken Stanford was born in Moultrie and he spent a fifty-five-year career in Georgia. In high school he worked at WMTM in Moultrie. While attending radio broadcasting school in Atlanta he worked at WAKE and WBIE in Marietta, He was at WDUN in Gainesville. After spending the majority of his radio career as News Director at WDUN, he retired 2011. Stanford is a Winner of the prestigious Georgia AP Broadcasters President's Award for Excellence in Journalism as well as other AP news awards. Ken is a former judge of the Georgia and national Associated Press Broadcasters national contests.

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