Robert W. Rounsaville
Robert Wesley Rounsaville owned a
ballroom dance studio in his hometown of Rome, GA and in 1941, at the age of 25,
became co-owner of WGAA in Cedartown, GA. He built his first solely owned
station in Cleveland, TN. WBAC went on the air there on June 18, 1945 in a
special dedication program from the mezzanine floor of the Cherokee Hotel.
He continued to focus on small cities that had no local radio station and put WBEJ in Elizabethon, TN on the air in 1946. Bill Lowery, 2007 inductee into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, was given an active role in the early development of that station and polishing his own performing talents. When WBEJ was operating to his satisfaction, he began to scout for another small city that was without a local radio station. In August 1946 he selected Pulaski, TN as a town for which to apply to the FCC for a construction permit. It was approved and WKSR signed on the air May 6, 1947. The selected call letters were in tribute to his (then) wife, Katherine, and daughter, Susan Rounsaville.
With a building momentum, his sights
were set on a major market and his engineering consultant found an available
frequency of 790 in Atlanta. Mr. Sam Wade, Secretary-Treasurer of Rounsaville
Radio, Inc. for 45-years, recalls the staff’s building WQXI themselves without
the aid of a major contractor.
The original studios were at the transmitter/tower location which was subject to flooding. The studios/offices were soon moved to an old stone house in Buckhead. WQXI radio remained in the old house until after Mr. Rounsaville had sold the station to Esquire, Inc.
Mr. Rounsaville saw his enterprise grow from his first solely owned station to a major chain as he built/bought, grew and sold multiple stations, finally reaching his goal of ownership of the maximum number of major market stations permitted by the FCC. During his long and successful career he owned a total of 26 stations in eight states. Throughout his career, the headquarters for Rounsaville Radio, Inc. remained in Atlanta.
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