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Georgia Radio Hall of Fame: Elmo Ellis Spirit Award

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

About the Award

Elmo Israel Ellis was a respected writer and producer who worked for WSB Radio and WSB Television in Atlanta from the 1940s to the 1980s. The honorees were Georgia radio professionals who demonstrated unique leadership. The recipients of this award were selected by the board of directors and the Ellis family. It was not awarded every year.

Award Recipients

Aubrey Morris 2008

As a teen Aubrey Morris was the Roswell correspondent for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He graduated from The University of Georgia with a degree in journalism then went to work for The Atlanta Journal and spent 13 years there as a police reporter. In 1957, WSB program director Elmo Ellis wanted to add a news department to the station. He called the paper and the city editor gave Aubrey a great reference, but added: “he has a terrible nasal voice”. And thus was born, Atlanta’s first radio newsman; his voice became, according to Ellis, “the best known voice in Georgia broadcasting.” Aubrey was news and editorial director at WSB radio for more than 30 years. He retired in 1987.

J. B. Fuqua 2009

J. B. Fuqua was a self-made businessman starting with a handmade ham radio and building an empire that included radio and television stations. Born in 1918 in Virginia, Fuqua’s life changed when he heard a WRVA engineer teaching a course in Morse code and offering a course book twenty-five cents. Fuqua said it was the best investment of his life. He obtained his commercial operators licenses and after a tour with the merchant marine, Fuqua became temporary engineer at WIS in Columbia, South Carolina, and eventually was promoted to chief engineer at the company's Charleston station. In 1940, he drove to Augusta and persuaded three businessmen to lend him $10,000 to build a radio station. He launched WGAC.

Dr. Worth McDougald 2010
Worth McDougald, born in Statesboro, Georgia, and learned to hunt and peck on a tiny 1930’s portable typewriter in his father’s country store. Editor of his high school newspaper, he worked for newspapers in Statesboro and Decatur, attended Emory University, entered the Navy V-12 program in WWII as an officer.  He returned to the Navy during the Viet Nam war then retired as a Lieutenant Commander.  McDougald worked for (and later was an owner) of WWNS in Statesboro. He was hired as a professor at the University of Georgia’s school of journalism. During his nearly 40 years, McDougald helped develop the School of Mass Communications and the development of the Peabody Awards, the most prestigious media awards in America.

James W. Woodruff Jr. 2013

James W. Woodruff, Jr. was born in Columbus, Georgia and made his home there, the city he loved. He attended the University of Georgia studying journalism. Jim enlisted in the U. S. Army during WWII and was stationed in Karachi, India where he was program director for The Armed Forces Radio. In his twenties, he had supervising interests in radio stations in Columbus, Atlanta, Bainbridge, and Albany. Jim was devoted to civic and U.S. military organizations. He served as president of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and founded the radio network for University of Georgia football. Woodruff was President, Manager and CEO of WRBL AM/FM Radio and TV at the time of his death.

Peter Maer 2015

Peter Maer, a native of Granite City, Illinois, counts his experiences at WSB Radio as the formative phase of his career. It included nearly 40 years on the White House beat. Maer says WSB legends Elmo Ellis and Aubrey Morris were instrumental mentors. Maer anchored newscasts and covered the Atlanta city and Georgia state governments for Radio 750 in the early 1970s. He also served as news director of WGST Radio. Maer was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award. He received an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater, Southern Illinois University.

John Jacobs 2017

Born in Gainesville, Jacobs served in the U.S. Army during World War II, surviving the Battle of the Bulge and receiving the Silver Star. After the war, he earned his journalism degree at the University of Missouri. Returning home, he began his radio career in 1949 when he founded radio station WDUN-AM and began operating the second FM station in Georgia. He eventually acquired WGGA, the city's oldest radio station, and served as chairman in the family-run business, Jacobs Media.

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