2019 Career Achievement Candidates
(in alphabetical order- most of the bios were written by the candidates)
Born in Atlanta, Jamal Ahmad started radio in 1994 as a Morehouse student intern and has built a rich legacy of serving the community through music and arts. He is a two time winner of Best Radio DJ in Creative Loafing and winner of Best Afternoon Drive Time DJ for the AJC. He currently hosts the drive time shows in Atlanta on Jazz 91.9 WCLK and KPVU 91.3 in Houston. His show, The S.O.U.L Of Jazz is currently syndicated in 20 markets across America and he has international radio credits at Jazz FM in London.
My first day in radio (my first scoop as a reporter) was the hiring of a head football coach at Bainbridge High School. Sonny Smart’s son has risen to some prominence in the coaching field. After Bainbridge came stops in Augusta and Tallahassee, work at WSB, WGST, and GNN in Atlanta, as well as reporting and commentary for ABC, CBS, AP, the BBC, and Radio New Zealand. February marked the start of my 22nd year on-air in Athens, where I now do a four-hour morning show on WGAU AM and FM.
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 C Douglas grew up in Pittsburgh, the birthplace of commercial radio. He worked at WPPJ (Point Park University), WAMO, WDVE, 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 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.
Dr. William "Bill" Gay
Dr Gay has over 40 years’ experience in FCC rules and regulations for Radio Television Broadcast technologies related to analysis and interpretation of engineering. He gained Arbitron, research, experienced in his as the Jazz Program Director and Music Director at WXAP 860 AM radio in Atlanta. He was an instructor at the Elkins Institute School of Broadcasting, an engineer with the Georgia Department of Education. Gay hosted the Heart and Soul Oldies Show as “Bill Gay the Love Doctor” at Clark Atlanta University radio. He has taught listening seminars, as well as coaching professionals in public speaking.
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 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 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.
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 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 wife Karen in Athens.
Bob Houghton is a retired Captain of the United States Naval Reserve. His military career spanned 27 years. He has nearly 40 years of broadcast management experience spread across five major U.S. markets, including New York- CBS Radio, Chicago-WBBM Radio, Dallas- KRLD Radio, Minneapolis- WCCO and Atlanta where Bob was General Manager of WGST and The Georgia News Network. He served as a consultant and investor for 790 The Zone-WQXI AM before being named General Manager of Georgia Public Broadcasting. Currently, Bob serves as a UGA sports reporting instructor and is President of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters (GAB).
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.
Joyce Littel has been on the air in Atlanta for over three decades, much of it on V-103. She is best known for “ Quiet Storm” show as well as her long standing “Love and Relationships” program. She served as co-host of nationally syndicated shows like “Passion and Poetry”, “Poetic Moments Live”, “Got the Word”, and “Youth Poetry Slam”. These and other shows provided a platform for Atlanta's bustling creative communities. On the heels of celebrating her 35th year in radio, Joyce became program director of News Talk 1380 WAOK. She is one of the most legendary voices in Atlanta.
Rene' Miller began her broadcast career in Clarksville, TN while attending Austin Peay State University. She relocated to Atlanta in 1989. Rene's On-Air personality made her a listener favorite at Gospel 1380 WAOK, Urban AC LOVE 104.7 & MAJIC 1075/975. Her voice has been preeminent at four Smooth Jazz outlets, Jazz Flavors 104.1 WJZF, Jazz 91.9 WCLK, Smooth Jazz 107.5 WJZZ and currently she is PD and afternoon host on Smooth Jazz 101.1/100.1 WJZA. For 25 years, Rene' has hosted the Georgia Lottery Mid-Day Drawing. Rene is a two time Phoenix award recipient and a Georgia Honorary State Senator.
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 is in his 6th decade of radio starting in Georgia in 1968 working on air at WPLO-FM Atlanta. He attended University of Georgia and graduated with a journalism/advertising degree. He worked WDOL, WRFC, WFOX, and WUOG Athens. Ron was at WQXI 1972-1975 and 1976 at Z93. His career moves include WLCY Tampa, KKBQ Houston, Program Director ABC Radio Networks, KFRC San Francisco, Program Director KLDE Houston, 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.
Loran Smith is from Wrightsville, Ga., He graduated from UGA where he was captain of the 1960 Bulldog track team and MVP his senior year. He has worked as Assistant Sports Information Director, Business Manager of Athletics and executive director of the Georgia Bulldogs Clubs. Smith originated the first live coaches locker room show in the SEC in 1974. He became Georgia’s first sideline announcer and originated the popular Tailgate Show in 1984. Loran's weekly radio show, “Sports Conversations,” runs on over 45 stations in Georgia and his daily radio show, “Two Minute Drill,” runs on over 30 stations.
Ken Stanford was born Moultrie and his spent 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.
A Demorest, GA native, Joel Williams’ first radio job was at WIAF, Clarkesville in 1977. After high school, he worked at WLBA and WIDE 107 in Gainesville before traveling to WANS-FM in Greenville, SC and EZ-104 in Richmond, VA. He moved to Atlanta in 1984 with Y06.7. Joel became a programmer in 1986 at WDUN, Gainesville. He served as manager of South 106.1, which merged with WNGC in Athens and was producer for 10 seasons of the Georgia Football broadcasts. In 2000 Joel returned to WDUN as station manager/morning show co-host. In 2019 Williams joined WCON in Cornelia.
Brian Wilson’s broadcasting experience spans more than 50 years, as outlined in his latest book, 50 Stories: 50 Years in Radio. Atlanta played a major role in his career. Remember Ross & Wilson in the late 70s on Z-93? Those wild (untrue) rumors swirling around “Another One Bites the Dust”? Wilson was one of the first feature contributors at CNN with “Music Notes.” After a career move to WABC/New York, several years later Brian returned to Atlanta, hosting afternoon drive on WGST. Wilson also became the first live talk-TV host on WTLK with his program, “Talk at Nite.”
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