On Monday, August 28, 2017 over 450 friends of WUGA joined together at Athens Cotton Press to celebrate the station's 30 years of history to the community. Check back to this space for photos of that event!
Meanwhile, enjoy this "listen back" to WUGA's history!
Just before 6:00 a.m. on the morning of August 28, 1987, WUGA-FM signed on for its first day of broadcasting to Athens and the surrounding area.
To our listeners, WUGA's history begins at that moment, but for the many people who played a part in bringing the radio station to life, the story began much earlier.
As an idea, a hope, and an aspiration, WUGA is as old as The University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education that serves as its home. Construction of the Georgia Center was funded by a grant from the W.K Kellogg Foundation and completed in 1957. The earliest floor plans show a radio station in room 151, which was WUGA’s on-air control room for its first twenty-five years. Plans for a radio station were set aside during the Georgia Center’s early years, as attention was focused on public television station WGTV, which was operated by the Georgia Center from its sign-on in 1960 until 1982. By the early 1980s, public radio had become an important part of the American cultural scene. Established in 1971, National Public Radio (now just NPR) was a presence in most major metropolitan areas and at institutions of learning and research. Its absence at The University of Georgia was becoming increasingly conspicuous and was sometimes cited as an obstacle to faculty recruitment. Under the direction of Edward G. Simpson, Jr., the Georgia Center sought to address the UGA community’s need for a public radio station. A second grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to The University of Georgia in 1984 provided the means toward that end by specifically designating funds for a public radio station. In 1985, the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission (GPTC) created Peach State Public Radio (now GPB Radio), with the mission of bringing public radio to as many Georgians as possible. Later the same year, the Georgia Center formed a committee to study the logistics of putting a radio station on the air. The committee served under the leadership of William H. Hale, Jr., who was then the Georgia Center’s associate director for Communication Services. On September 1, 1986, WUGA became an entity. As a unit within the Production Services Department of the Georgia Center’s Division of Communication Services, WUGA at that point consisted of an office occupied by two people. The process of becoming a radio station would take almost an entire year—361 days, to be exact.
Along with his other duties at the Center, Jim Shehane was the first station manager. As program director, Bill Burpitt was responsible for determining what sort of radio station WUGA would be. I held the title of music director. Phil Allen of the Georgia Center’s engineering department had the task of designing and putting together the station’s facilities. News director Mary Kay Mitchell and producer David Bryant came aboard in January, 1987, and traffic director Abbie Thaxton joined the staff in July. Meanwhile, Dr. Simpson, along with the University’s interim president, Henry King Stanford, and other officials, was involved in negotiations with the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission. The ultimate result was a unique partnership, under which the GPTC holds the station’s license and provides access to most nationally-distributed programs, while UGA operates the station and provides a slate of programs specifically for the local audience, including the University community. During its year of preparation the radio staff was peripatetic, moving through a series of at least three different temporary offices.
We finally moved into our permanent location late in the spring. By this time, it had been decided that the station would be called WUGA. The original license application had requested the call letters WLLL, a reference to the Georgia Center’s longtime slogan of “life-long learning.” Radio staffers were not unhappy to learn that those call letters were already assigned to another station. Just try saying “W-L-L-L” rapidly. The call letters WUGA (which had been in use elsewhere in 1972, when the campus student station signed on) turned out to be available, and proved satisfactory to all. By late July, final preparations were underway. Almost all control room equipment had been installed. Office cubicles had been installed in the room adjacent to the control room. A small but serviceable music library had been assembled. Announcer/operators had been hired and were training. Everything seemed to be on track for our planned sign-on date of August 10, a Monday. Late on the preceding Friday, though, we learned that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would not grant final approval for regular broadcast operation until our transmitting antenna had passed an additional round of tests. Thus began a frustrating span of nearly three weeks, during which WUGA was on the air for one or two hours daily for test purposes. The necessary approval was finally granted, and we moved quickly to begin regular operations on Friday, August 28.
WUGA’s first day on the air was similar to the days that followed. It began with Morning Edition, the middle of the day was devoted to our music programs, and the late afternoon brought All Things Considered and our local news magazine. The first day was a Friday, so the night was filled with jazz, while week nights were devoted to classical music. The first day was also typical of many that would follow, in that we had scarcely been on the air twenty minutes when WUGA experienced its first transmitter power outage. Initially, power failures at the transmitter were frequent, but the utility providing service to the transmitter worked diligently to address the problem. Over the next two years, power service to the transmitter became much more reliable. After a little more than a year of operation, WUGA became a separate department within the Division of Communication Services, and Bill Burpitt took on the duties of station manager. He was succeeded in 1989 by Gene Craven, who remained at the helm until April, 1997, when he became manager of a new public radio station in Fort Myers, Florida. When WUGA celebrated its tenth anniversary, Jerry L. Hargis was the acting station manager in addition to his duties as the Georgia Center’s associate director for Communication Services. During his time as station manager, Gene Craven was able to solve one of WUGA’s most persistent problems. Very soon after the station signed on, we realized that our signal was difficult to receive in many parts of Athens, and especially on the UGA campus. There appeared to be no solution, but after a great deal of research, a way was found to double the station’s power and switch to a non-directional antenna. With support from the University and the Athens community, a more powerful WUGA became a reality. However, some listeners in the downtown area still have difficulty receiving our main channel because of topography; these listeners can now tune to our low-power translator at 94.5 FM.
In its first ten years, WUGA had some proud moments, as well as some embarrassing ones. The news department, directed by Mary Kay Mitchell, received national recognition for its local news programs. Beginning on our first day of broadcasting, Centerlines was a daily 15-minute magazine of local news and events. It was replaced in 1992 by The Commons, a daily half-hour program that was twice judged best in the nation by public radio news directors around the country. As for the embarrassing moments, everyone who speaks into a microphone has them. Tapes that roll at the wrong speed, words that become tangled on the tongue, gross mispronunciations of exotic foreign names, or worse yet, pronunciation of an ordinary American English word as though it were foreign. If not quite everyday occurrences, these are still a part of life on the air. They make up a large part of the stories radio people tell, but the most memorable do not translate well to print.
Many talented people have passed through WUGA over the years, and a number of them have gone on to careers in public radio. Mark McCain, one of our original announcers, became a station manager in his home state of Kansas. Angela Elam, who joined us midway through our first year and departed on the station’s fifth anniversary, is now the producer and host of an independent, nationally-syndicated program, “New Letters on the Air”. Several WUGA alumni moved on to Peach State Public Radio headquarters. In its first ten years, WUGA logged more than 85,000 hours on the air. If we learned in that time to better serve the needs of the listening audience in the University community and the Athens area, we may consider ourselves to have been successful.
http://wuga.drupal.publicbroadcasting.net/station-history#stream/0 The above was written on the occasion of WUGA’s tenth anniversary. Looking back from the station’s twenty-fifth anniversary, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the years immediately following that anniversary were a time of decline. Budget cuts brought the daily news magazine to an end and reversed the gradual expansion of staff that had taken place over the first decade. By the station’s fifteenth anniversary in 2002 the full time staff was the same size it had been in the beginning. The lowest point of all came during the state budget crisis of 2004, when the leadership of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education found it impossible to continue to fund the operation of WUGA. At that time, there was a very real possibility that local operation would end and local programs would vanish from WUGA. However, UGA’s office of Public Affairs, directed by Dr. Tom Jackson, stepped in and assumed responsibility for the radio station. In April, it was announced that nearly fifty University employees were to be laid off due to budget cuts. Among them was Davin Welter, WUGA’s station manager since 1999. The rest of the staff was transferred to Public Affairs, and Steve Bell, director of Broadcast, Video and Photography, assumed the role of station manager, in addition to his other duties. WUGA kept its existing office and studio space in the Georgia Center.
The next few years proved to be another high point in the radio station’s history. Although funding continued to be tight and the staff remained small, several new local programs were added to WUGA’s schedule during this time, usually produced by community members who volunteered their talents or received no more than token compensation. Those that are still part of WUGA’s schedule include “Just Folks,” with host Maggie Hunter; “Wordland,” hosted by David Oates; and Telmeko Ransom’s “Handle with Care.” These series joined JoE Silva’s “Just Off the Radar,” which had begun during Davin Welter’s time at the helm, as had two staff-produced series: “Athens News Matters,” then hosted by news director Mary Kay Mitchell; and “It’s Friday!” which I hosted. Incidentally, the oldest locally-produced series currently in WUGA’s schedule are “African Perspectives,” hosted by Dr. Akinloye Ojo, which began late in 1997; “Night Music,” which has also been heard on the rest of the GPB network since its beginning in 1989; and “Afternoon Concert,” which has been part of the schedule since the beginning, although the current title was not adopted until later. During this time, WUGA became increasingly independent from Georgia Public Broadcasting (formerly Georgia Public Television and Peach State Public Radio). GPB went through some difficult years, with frequent turnover of top executive leadership and management of the radio network.
Stability returned to GPB in 2010, with the arrival of new leaders with backgrounds in public broadcasting. At the same time, the broadcasting environment on the UGA campus was changing radically. In 2008, commercial television station WNEG-TV, based in Toccoa, Georgia, was purchased by the University of Georgia Research Foundation, to become a training facility for students at UGA’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Because this purchase turned out to coincide with the most severe economic downturn in decades, it proved impossible to continue to operate WNEG-TV as a commercial station. Dr. Jackson and UGA senior vice president for External Affairs, Tom Landrum, entered into negotiations with the new leadership at GPB and worked out a new arrangement between UGA and GPB. As a result, the University of Georgia again had its own public television station, for the first time in nearly thirty years.Known as WUGA-TV, it was licensed to the University and operated in a partnership with GPB. The radio and television stations were combined in a single operation, although they continued to occupy separate facilities. The TV station was located in the Journalism building, while the radio station is still in the Georgia Center. Jimmy Sanders, formerly the manager of WNEG-TV, was UGA’s director of Radio and Television, serving as the manager of both stations.
WUGA-FM’s program schedule now mirrors the schedule of the rest of the GPB radio network more closely than it had for most of the past decade, while it continues to offer a number of programs, locally-produced and otherwise, that are not heard elsewhere in Georgia. In July 2015, WUGA-TV terminated operations as the University of Georgia sold its license to Marquee Broadcasting of Georgia. The new station, WGTA-TV, has reverted to operation as a commercial facility and was relocated to Toccoa, Georgia. Two members of the current radio staff have been with the radio station through most of its history. Traffic director Abbie Thaxton has held that position since the station signed on. Michael Cardin first came aboard in 1991 and is now Production and Operations Director. The rest of the staff is relatively new to WUGA. By 2011, half of the radio staff were eligible for retirement, and we decided to exercise that option while the reorganization was taking place.
News director Mary Kay Mitchell, chief engineer Sandy Mayfield, and I made our exits, although I continued as a part time employee, hosting the live performance show, “It’s Friday!” It has taken some time to rebuild the staff, but the rebuilding is now complete. Alexia Ridley and Jeff Dantre handle local news reporting duties. Construction of a new on-air control room, next door to the old one has been completed.
A week before WUGA-FM’s twenty-fifth anniversary, program director Ele Ellis arrived to take on her new duties. Ele has now departed WUGA and Chris Shupe now serves as Program Director. When WUGA celebrated its tenth anniversary, I was just then assuming the duties of program director. At the time of the twentieth anniversary in 2007, it was natural for us to look back over the achievements of the past, but it seemed to me that by the time of the next big anniversary, then just five years away, we should be focused on looking ahead to the future. It did not work out exactly as I imagined: it is still too soon to have a comprehensive plan in place for the future of WUGA-FM. But the decision-makers who will shape that future are now in place, and that is an important step in the right direction. I am happy to say that I feel that this radio station, which has played a huge part in my life, is now in good hands. —Robb Holmes, September, 2012
WUGA Staff Through the Years Manager Jim Shehane, 1986-1988 Bill Burpitt, 1988-1989 Gene Craven, 1989-1997 Jerry Hargis (acting), 1997-1999 Davin Welter, 1999-2004 Steve Bell, 2004-2011 Jimmy Sanders, 2011-
News Director Mary Kay Mitchell, 1987-2011 Jeff Dantre, 2011-2014
Program Director Bill Burpitt, 1986-1989 Gene Craven, 1989-1997 Robb Holmes, 1997-2011 Ele Ellis, 2012-2013 Chris Shupe 2014-
Chief Engineer Phil Allen, 1987-1996 Mark Baird (interim), 1996-1997 Sandy Mayfield, 1997-2011 Walt Howard, 2011-2014 Andy Rhiem 2016-
Traffic Director Abbie Thaxton, 1987-2017. Abbie holds the record as the longest serving employee in the history of WUGA FM!
Business Manager Cathy Bradberry, 2017-
Production Director John Wilson, 1988-1998 Matthew White, 1999-2004 Michael Cardin, 2004-
Operations Director Robb Holmes, 1987-1997 John Wilson, 1997-1998 Matthew White, 1999-2004 Michael Cardin, 2004-
Music Director Robb Holmes, 1986-2011 Ele Ellis, 2012-2013 Martin Matheny 2015-
Voices and Personalities A few of the many heard during WUGA’s first 25 years The first announcers: Curt McKinney was one of WUGA’s original announcers, a journalism student in 1987. He was the first local host of All Things Considered; for a few weeks, he was also the local host of Morning Edition. In that capacity, he was running the board when WUGA first signed on. He is now in business in the Atlanta area. Sheila McClure was the air name of a music student who was one of WUGA’s original announcers. She was the first host of “Centerlines” and “Night Music”. Sarah Hussey was a music student and one of WUGA’s original announcers. Mark McCain was a graduate student in music and one of WUGA’s original announcers. He hosted “20th Century Unlimited.” He served unofficially as assistant music director. After leaving WUGA he continued in public radio in his home state of Kansas, eventually becoming a station manager. Sam McPhaul was a business student and one of WUGA’s original announcers who also served unoffically as assistant music director. After graduating, he went into international banking. Robert Galloway was a journalism student and one of WUGA’s original announcers. He was the local host of Morning Edition, arriving about two weeks after WUGA signed on. He later was a host of “Night Music”. After graduating, he went into television production. Producers and reporters: David Bryant was part of WUGA’s original staff. He contributed reports to “Centerlines” and later to “The Commons” and usually directed “The Commons”. He and Angela Elam produced and directed the first editions of the live variety show, “Once In A Blue Moon”. After Angela’s departure in 1992, he produced and directed later editions of Blue Moon, as well as another variety series, “Hungry Ear Live” as well as numerous specials and documentaries. In 1998 he moved across the street to Georgia Sea Grant, where he is now Assistant Director. Angela Elam came to WUGA as an announcer early in 1998 but soon became a producer. She contributed reports to “Centerlines.” Besides working with David Bryant on the first editions of Blue Moon, she produced a number of programs focused on drama and literature.
After leaving WUGA in 1992, she went on to become host and producer of “New Letters on the Air,” a nationally-distributed public radio show. Melinda Weir joined the staff of WUGA as a reporter in 1992. She contributed reports to “The Commons.” She left the station in 1996 and later worked as a producer at National Public Radio. Robin Hilton was a reporter on “The Commons” from 1993 to 1996 He is now producer and co-host of the NPR online music program All Songs Considered. Steve Lickteig was a reporter on “The Commons” and contributed stories to NPR news programs while at WUGA. After leaving WUGA, he became a producer for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.” He left NPR to produce “The Bob Edwards Show” on Sirius XM Satellite Radio and returned to NPR as executive producer of “Weekend All Things Considered” in 2011. John Lorinc came to WUGA-FM in September 2011. The Pittsburgh native worked at CNNRadio from 2000 through 2010 as an anchor/editor and the producer of a weekly music feature called “Measure to Measure.” John now works for WABE in Atlanta. Independent producers: Roger Dancz was Director of Bands (and later Jazz Studies) at the University of Georgia from 1955 until his retirement in 1991. His “Invitation to Jazz” series was first heard during WUGA’s first weekend on the air. He continued to produce weekly shows until his death in 1998. The series continued in repeats for several years, and some new episodes were hosted by Steve Dancz, who had succeeded his father as Director of Jazz Studies at UGA. Luther G. Williams was a New Orleans native and stride pianist who hosted “100% Jazz” during part of WUGA’s first year. J. J. Reneaux was a highly-regarded storyteller, author and musician, who brought her talents to WUGA for a series entitled “The Hungry Ear,” which led to several live variety shows under the title “Hungry Ear Live.” She died in 2010.
Akinloye Ojo was a graduate student when he began “African Perspectives” in 1997. Fifteen years later, he continues to host weekly shows while serving as associate professor of Comparative Literature and director of the African Studies Institute at UGA. JoE Silva was a freelance music journalist who came to WUGA in the Spring of 2003 with an idea for a weekly modern pop broadcast. That program became known as Just Off The Radar, which can now be heard across the state of Georgia via the GPB network. Maggie Hunter became interested in folk music while a student at UGA, eventually hosting a folk music show on student station WUOG. An active member of the area folk music community, she has been a member of The Warblers and is now a member of The Solstice Sisters. Now on the faculty of Athens Montessori School, she returned to radio in 2005 with “Just Folks,” which has been part of WUGA’s schedule ever since. David Oates, a teacher and writer, came to WUGA in 2001 with “Great Apes” comedy show, which he hosted and produced for seven years. More recently, he’s presented “Wordland,” poetry, fiction, drama and occasional humor. Andrew Reissiger was first heard on WUGA as a member of the acoustic duo (later quartet), Dromedary. From 2005 until 2008, he was the host and producer of “World Tour,” a blend of music from many cultures. Now based in California, he continues to be active in music, audio and film production, and graphic design. Federico Feldstein was a producer at CNN when he came to WUGA with a proposal for a Spanish language public affairs program. He was the host of “Agenda Hispana,” which was broadcast on WUGA and eventually on the rest of the GPB network from 2004 through 2008. He is now in public relations at the CDC. Valieria Himmel was a producer with “Agenda Hispana.” She conducted interviews, served as substitute host, and supervised editing of the show. She is now working with a law firm in her native Chile. Telmeko Ransom first came to WUGA when Mary Kay Mitchell interviewed her about her children’s book, Through Pumpkin’s Eyes. Soon afterward, she proposed a series addressing issued experienced by people with illness, impairments and disabilities. She has been the host and producer of “Handle with Care” since 2010. John Wilson was WUGA’s Production Manager from 1988 to 1998. Most of his work was behind the scenes, working with Roger Dancz, for instance, to produce “Invitation to Jazz.” He was often heard as the voice of underwriter announcements and emergency tests, and occasionally as an on-air host and announcer. Deepa Kilambi, a graduate student from India, came to WUGA as the local host of Morning Edition and later moved to All Things Considered. Winston King was a UGA student and artist when he began as an announcer at WUGA. He was later a host of “Night Music.” After graduation, he went to Peach State Public Radio (now GPB Radio), where he was Music Director. Now a teacher in Decatur. Bud Rick came to WUGA in 1989, after retiring from Sears. He had previously worked in radio in the 1950s. For most of the next twenty years, he was the local host of Morning Edition, the voice Athenians woke up to. A jazz drummer in his youth, he also hosted “Jazz Contrasts” on WUGA. He died in 2011. Kevin McKinney was a doctoral student in music (composition) when he joined WUGA as an announcer. Later a host of “Night Music,” he is now a freelance writer and church music director in Atlanta. June Sparks helped to define how WUGA was heard and perceived, although her voice may never have been heard on the air. Formerly assistant Program Director of television station WGTV, she handled publicity and promotions for WUGA, including editing the program guide. She died in 1999.
Michael Cardin first came to WUGA in 1991 as an announcer. He later worked for a time at GPB in Atlanta, then returned to WUGA. He hosted “Night Music” (a role he has reprised in recent months) and has been Production and Operations Director since 2004. He produced and hosted “University Concerts” and “A Classic Performance.” Elizabeth Curtis was a popular classical music host during much of the 1990s, much admired for her voice and delivery. St. John Flynn started as an announcer at WUGA while he was a graduate student. He hosted “Night Music” before being hired by Georgia Public Broadcasting, where he eventually became Radio Manager. He is now Program Director of KUHA, Classical 91.7 FM in Houston. John Gaither began working as an announcer in 1994 and is the longest-serving of WUGA’s current announcers. He has been the local host of “Morning Edition” and is currently heard at mid-day. John Hawkins was best known as an artist when he came to work at WUGA. Most of his work was behind the scenes, recording, editing, and otherwise assisting with production. He sometimes directed “The Commons.” He was occasionally heard as a reporter or substitute announcer. Now a yoga instructor in Washington state. Pat Flanagan was a radio veteran when she came to WUGA, handling a number of assignments during two stints here in the 1990s and early 2000s. Among other duties, she was a host of “Night Music.” Carl Tietze was a student when he was hired as an announcer in the early 1990s. While at WUGA, he created a popular Saturday afternoon show, “Curtain Up.” During the final episode of “Curtain Up” he was visited in the studio by then-Athens-Clarke County Mayor Gwen O’Looney, and presented with a certificate of appreciation, while on the air. Armando Bellmas, an announcer during the 1990s, went on to WNCW in Spindale, NC, where he was Music Director. One of his duties at WNCW was training rookie announcers, one of whom was Ele Ellis, now WUGA’s Program Director. He is now an artist, photographer and community activist in Charlotte. Melissa Gray was a graduate student in art when she began working at WUGA as an announcer. She later hosted a jazz show and “Night Music.” She now works at NPR as a producer on “All Things Considered.” John Tougas came to WUGA as a student intern and was hired to continue as an announcer. He also assisted with maintenance of the music library. He now works in Information Technology at UGA. Matthew White was a working musician when he joined WUGA as an announcer in 1996. He hosted “Night Music” before becoming Production and Operations Director. He also hosted jazz shows. Now a photographer based in New Orleans, he continues to play jazz and teaches at the college level. Jerry L. Hargis served as WUGA’s acting Station Manager from 1997 to 1999. He was also the voice of Jeremiah, host of “Campfire Time.” Paul Trudeau was also a musician before, during and after his time as a WUGA announcer. He is now the Program Director of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, based at UGA. Patrick Davis was a working musician during his time at WUGA. Through most of the first decade of the 21st century, he was on the air during mid-day and sometimes hosted “Afternoon Concert.” He also assisted with operations and music library maintenance.
Steve Bell was WUGA’s Station Manager from 2004 to 2011. He was also the host of “Pops Concert,” heard on Friday afternoons. David Ferguson was a veteran of Athens bands, including the Go Figures, when he joined WUGA as an announcer in 2003. He was the host of “Night Music” from 2004 to 2012, longer than anyone else, and served as Public Service Director. He is now an editor at the online news site, The Raw Story. Robin Edwards has been an announcer at WUGA since 2005. She is usually heard on weekends. Chris Shupe came to WUGA as an announcer in 2010 and is now Program Director, host of “Morning Edition”, Monday-Friday 8-9am and the producer-host of The Guest List. When not working at the radio station, he can sometimes be seen performing as “The Athens King,” thank you very much. Jessica McClellan was first heard on WUGA as a member of a band appearing on “It’s Friday!” She has worked here as an announcer since 2010. She is now host of Morning Edition, Monday-Friday from 5:30-8:00am as well as hosting on the weekends. Martin Matheny started out as a part-time announcer is now Assistant Operations-Production Manager and the host of Night Music.
Abbie Thaxton’s voice has been heard on WUGA only a handful of times over the past 25 years, but she is very much a part of WUGA’s sound. Hers is the first voice heard by telephone callers. As WUGA’s Traffic Director since the station signed on, she creates the daily logs that determine what will be broadcast and when. Abbie retired from WUGA in November 2017, as the longest-serving staff member in the history of WUGA. Lois Player’s voice has never been heard on WUGA, but she has been a crucial part of the radio station’s success. She began as WUGA’s Underwriting Representative shortly after the station first signed on. She is our lifeline to the business community. Mary Kay Mitchell was WUGA’s News Director from 1987 until her retirement in 2011. She was the producer of “Centerlines” and the producer/host of “The Commons” and “Athens News Matters.” After 1997, she was usually a one-person news department, with occasional assistance from student interns. She did local newscasts, author interviews, and special reports, and contributed to “Morning Edition” and other national programs. Her work has garnered well over 100 awards and she is a recipient of the key to Athens-Clarke County. Robb Holmes was WUGA’s Music Director from 1986 until retiring in 2011 and is the author of this history (with help from many others). I was also Operations Manager from 1987 to 1997 and Program Director from 1997 to 2011. I was one of the hosts of “Afternoon Concert” during most of my time at WUGA. I also hosted several other shows, the longest-running of which were “Expressway,” “SonicSet,” and “It’s Friday!” “It’s Friday” had its last broadcast in the summer of 2015. Jeff Dantre was News Director for WUGA Radio from 2011 till July 2014.. He continues to report local news in morning programming. Previously, Jeff was a news reporter/anchor for WSB Radio in Atlanta and was a producer for CNN. Jeff has won numerous journalistic awards over his career including a Peabody Award in 1991 and an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2007. Ele Ellis came to WUGA in August, 2012, as Program Director. She had previously served in the same capacity at Boise State Radio in Idaho and at WNCW in North Carolina.
Chris Shupe was promoted to Program Director on Ele’s departure. Community volunteers have always been a part of WUGA’s sound, even though we have never been as systematic or successful in utilizing this resource as many public radio stations. During the first five years, volunteers read most of the children’s stories presented on “Pajama Time.” More recently, the musicians appearing on “It’s Friday!” and the authors, event organizers and others who are interviewed during the final half hour of “Afternoon Concert” are volunteers, and most of them are part of our community. Apologies to the many other voices who have not been listed here. If there were only time, space and memory enough to name them all!