George Weiss

b:1929 -d:1997

While stationed in Italy during World War II, Sgt. George G. Weiss of the U.S. Army dreamed of starting a radio station in his home town.  Upon separation from the service, Weiss made his dream come true.  He formed Savannah Valley Broadcasting with several prominent Augusta citizens.  Weiss chose the call letters WBBQ by combining the call letters of Chicago stations WBBM and WMAQ where he had lived during much of his youth.  He made formal application to the Federal Communications Commission and was granted a license to build and operate a station at 1340 Kilocycles on the AM dial.  WBBQ AM signed on in 1946. Weiss eventually bought out all of the other partners in Savannah Valley Broadcasting to become sole owner of the station. WBBQ-FM, 103.9 Megacycles, 30,000 watts, was added in 1956, and later increased power to 100,000 watts operating at 104.3 where it still can be found today.  Even after he acquired full ownership of the station, Mr. Weiss was content to let his managers run the day-to-day business while he supervised the “mobile news department” (started in 1954) and covered breaking news and events from the city’s most famous news vehicle, “WBBQ Car One”, a job he continued to perform until his death. Weiss realized the future of radio was in contemporary popular music after observing the success of WABC in New York and he ordered the station to adopt a “Top 40” format in late 1960.  WBBQ went on to become the dominate radio station in Augusta and one of the highest rated (share of audience) stations in America.