We're the best of friends.
Friends of Georgia Radio (FoGR) is a 501c3 non-profit organization of energetic, passionate radio professionals dedicated to Georgia communities, the radio profession, and each other.
We raise funds for and award yearly scholarships for students at Georgia colleges and universities and provide mentoring for those students from professionals and legends in the radio industry.
We provide ongoing professional development, unique workshops, and in-person events, enhancing the future of traditional radio broadcasting and emerging technologies that serve Georgia listeners and communities.
This group of pros is leading the creation of an organization dedicated to honoring radio's history and promoting the future of audio communications.
We're multi-faceted multimedia specialists. Committed to helping up and coming broadcasting students fund their education, and recognizing those giants upon whose shoulders we stand.
Board of Directors
Richard Warner knew from a young age he wanted to be a broadcaster. He got the chance at the University of Georgia’s WUOG-FM. “It just fit. I loved radio from that first day.” From there he was hired as news director at WRFC, which was then the Bulldog football flagship station.
After college, he anchored news and hosted a talk show on pioneer clear-channel WSB AM, and launched the statewide Georgia Radio News Service network at crosstown WGST Newsradio.
For five years, his twice-daily “Moneyline” commentary was syndicated nationally. In 2016, he was elected to the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.
He also enjoyed a long television career as host of "Georgia's Business" for 30 years on GPB, and commentator and host of "Good Day Atlanta" on FOX5.
As an entrepreneur, he founded one of the first internet marketing firms, What's Up Interactive, in 1990 and today focuses on cybersecurity education for employees with his company, Aware Force.
Shirley Ellis was destined for a career in radio. Born and raised in Detroit only a few blocks from Motown Records’ Hitsville USA, music filled her home growing up.
She started in broadcasting at Macon’s WMAZ TV and the historic WIBB AM, in the city where James Brown, Otis Redding, and Lil Richard got started.
Today, she manages the radio and television stations at Ft. Valley State University and is a well-known member of the Iheart Media family, known on-air in Macon as “Mama Mia.”
If her community needs her, she is there. She’s worked to help fight childhood cancer with the Joshua’s Wish Foundation and to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS with the Middle Georgia Sisterhood organization, and has volunteered with the United Way of Central Georgia’s Read United Campaign.
She has a B.A. in Mass Communications from the University of Detroit and a Masters In Public Administration from Georgia College and State University.
Shirley was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2017, and the National Black Radio Hall of Fame in 2021. She received the prestigious Jefferson Award for community service in 2018 and the President of the United States Volunteer Gold award in 2021.
When she’s not mentoring her students on campus at “Power Jamz 96.9” WFVS, Shirley is usually found doing cardio, weight training, or yoga. She is a mother of 2 and grandmother of five. Her motto: Let the music play and the world will keep dancing!
Eric Seidel thought he would be an orthodontist. But, as fate would have it, he was recruited to do a weekly high school sports show on a local Washington, DC, radio station, WWDC-AM.
He was taken under the wing of a DJ there and inoculated with the radio virus. He went to the celebrated University of Missouri Journalism School planning to graduate and get a job rolling records. After graduating, he was hired to do morning drive on a barely noticed Bethesda, MD, FM station and within two months, fired for playing music the owners did not like.
Then he turned to his J-School training, returning to WWDC as a news writer. While there his news director found him a job in the “minor leagues” to get his on-air news experience. That was at WRAN Radio in Dover, NJ.
That same WWDC news director later hired him back, this time as a reporter and anchor at CBS-Owned WCAU-AM, Philadelphia. He spent three years there before being recruited to be the news director at WGST Radio in Atlanta. During his six-year run at WGST, the station morphed from a full-service music and news AM to an all-news format and his six-person staff ballooned to 35 and included future national news people like Forrest Sawyer and Louise Schiavone, as well as Atlanta radio icons Tom Hughes, Bob Cox, the late Wade Medlock, Richard Warner, and investigative reporter Dale Russell.
After a six-year detour back in the Washington-Baltimore markets, Eric was asked to return to WGST as station manager. During his 10 and a half years in that job, WGST jumped from 920 AM to 640 FM and started simulcasting on 105.7 FM. The station also acquired the radio rights to the Atlanta Braves as their unprecedented 14-year run was just beginning. Seidel hired Sean Hannity out of Huntsville, AL, in 1992 after putting Clark Howard on the air, first as a travel expert and later as the consumer guru, he’s known as today.
Under Eric’s leadership, WGST accumulated many local, state, regional, national, and won international awards for its incomparable news department and overall programming. He was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2016.
Eric always believed radio is a “team sport” and he frequently expresses his gratitude for being surrounded by a superlative team of talent on and off the air.
Ron Parker: My radio career started out at about age 10, around the time my parents gave me a 12-transistor radio that I would hide under my pillow at night. I heard stations from New York, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and so many other cities. I was fortunate to grow up with 2 of the best TOP 40 radio stations on the East Coast WABC New York and WQXI Atlanta. They played great music and had top personalities to fill the airwaves. This is what I wanted to do!
At age 15 in Atlanta at the FCC office, I took the test and got my 3rd class license. One year later I was working at the former 103.3 WPLO FM Atlanta spinning TOP 40 and album rock tunes developing the love of radio broadcasting. After high school, it was off to The University of Georgia where I majored in broadcast communications, advertising, and speech. While at UGA I worked at Athens Radio Stations WDOL AM & FM (1970-1971) and WRFC /WFOX FM (1971-1973). Plus, with a busy schedule, I became the first Music Director at campus radio station WUOG.
In 1973 I had a big break getting hired at WQXI AM & FM Atlanta gaining on-air experience, doing in-store music research, and street promotions. In 1975 I moved over to Atlanta’s WZGC, Z-93 FM, pulling an air shift and working in promotions before returning to Athens as WJSR- FM’s Program Director and finishing up my degree at UGA.
For over 35 of those 50+ years in radio I have had the fabulous opportunity to work at these major broadcasting companies on the air and as a Program Director for ABC RADIO, CBS RADIO, GANNETT MEDIA, COX RADIO, and CUMULUS RADIO. Some of my favorite stations that I worked at include:
WLCY AM & FM -Tampa Bay
KKBQ AM & FM – Houston
KFRC AM & FM – San Francisco
KLDE – HOUSTON
WCBS FM – NEW YORK
WLS FM – CHICAGO
From 1994 – 2005 I hosted 2 Nationally Syndicated shows “NEW GOLD” and “GOODTIME OLDIES MAGAZINE”.
In 2016 I was inducted into the “Texas Radio Hall of Fame” and into “The Georgia Radio Hall Of Fame” in 2019.
I just started my 14th year working for Sirius XM New York as host on the 60’s and 70’s decades channels. I am also the host of “Georgia Gold Saturday Night” which is a popular oldies show on TGC Radio's (Georgia Club) Internet Streaming platform.
Dale Van Cantfort, PhD, is a second-generation broadcaster. His father, A.R. Van Cantfort, began working in radio in the late 1940’s.
As a child, Dale made numerous “guest” appearances on local radio and TV shows hosted by his father. After graduating with honors from Stetson University, Dale and his wife, Tara, spent 25 years owning and operating small market radio stations in Georgia and South Carolina. They sold their stations in 1998 and Dale spent three years as a guest lecturer at the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communications at UGA.
After earning his PhD, Dale has spent the last 20 years as a professor of Mass Communications at Piedmont University.
Dennis Winslow got his start in radio while attending college and after graduation, was an air personality at stations like BJ-105 in Orlando and WQXI-FM (94Q) in Atlanta. He was also Program Director at stations in some of the toughest and most competitive radio markets in the country, including WFOX-FM (Fox 97) and Z93 Atlanta, WMGF-FM Milwaukee, WMGG-FM Tampa, KLDE-FM Houston, WRMF West Palm Beach, and WOGL-FM Philadelphia, and his experience includes program management for CBS, Cox, Entercom, Chancellor Broadcasting, Bonneville, Infinity, and the Disney family’s Shamrock Broadcasting. Dennis also served as General Manager of WNUY-FM in the Fort Wayne metro.
He has consulted stations all over the country and has also served on advisory boards for the NAB Radio Show, the Midwest Conclave, and the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. Dennis was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2009.
He has a BS in Advertising from The University of Florida and did graduate work in the Communications Department at Florida State University, where he taught undergraduate broadcasting classes as a grad assistant.
Dennis is married, has 3 beautiful “30-something” daughters, and lives in Roswell, Georgia. He and his wife Susan spend summers on Beaver Island, Michigan, where he is helped establish, and continues to advise, Beaver Island’s non-commercial WVBI-FM.
Sanders Hickey never once wondered what his life’s calling would be. It was Radio. Period. He was given his first real opportunity while in high school, in Columbus, at WCGQ-FM. “It was the answer to a prayer, and a dream-come-true.”
Through his college years, it was to Q-105/Athens, and then onto Atlanta at both “Z-93” and WQXI/Atlanta, as an air personality. He briefly returned to his hometown of Columbus as program director of Top-40, WDAK, before entering sales and sales management. “My dream was always to own stations, and the opportunity to apply to the FCC for one of the few, last-remaining FM frequencies in the country presented itself, and we were fortunate enough to prevail, and launched K-Lite 106.3 FM in Wichita Falls, TX.”
Eventually, Hickey sold the Texas Radio station and ultimately moved back to Georgia, where he joined The Arbitron Company, and become Southeastern Manager for the Radio ratings company.
After five years, he joined Southern Broadcasting Companies, an Athens-based holding company, which owned and operated Radio stations in Georgia and Florida, as its president and COO. Upon the sale of the company, Hickey CO-founded Golden Isles Broadcasting and Texas-based, HEH Communications, where he remains their operating partner. In 2019, he was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame and was a 2020 inductee into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
“Being involved in the establishment of the new ‘Friends of Georgia Radio’ organization is one of the most exciting and rewarding endeavors that I could have ever imagined, said Hickey. “It represents the opportunity to propel the future of Georgia Radio and media well into the next generation.”
Alyssa Young grew up north of Atlanta in the southern part of Hall County, but well within the range of some legendary 100k watt Atlanta radio stations. It was there that a passion for broadcasting was born. Her first radio gig was a summer internship at WDUN in Gainesville.
Upon relocating to Athens as a student at The University of Georgia, she found work at the Southern Broadcasting group (WNGC, WPUP, WGMG, WRFC) learning programming, marketing, and on-air skills.
After graduating from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at UGA, Alyssa took a job with Clear Channel in Atlanta and has been with the company known as iHeart Media ever since.
Since joining the company, Alyssa has been involved in the development of many big Georgia radio brands including WKLS. She is now a part of iHeart’s National Programming Group and can be heard on many stations across the US.
Benji Kurtz started his 30+ year career in radio at the age of 13 in his hometown of Athens, reading news and writing and reading a daily editorial on WBKZ-AM. As fun as "The Kurtz Korner" was, he moved on to other Athens stations, and has subsequently worked in Ft. Walton Beach/Destin, FL; Jackson, MS, and Atlanta in every job title except sales (and has even been known to moonlight as a screaming Top 40 jock as 'Jammin Jay Walker' and 'Skip E. Dependable'). Since 2005, Kurtz has been a proud member of the Oconee Radio Group, which owns or operates several stations across the state.
A native of Atlanta, Kari Love began her career at WYAY- & WYAI-FM as Promotions/Public Relations Director and later moved to WFOX-FM as Promotions and Marketing Director. She then joined the Make-A-Wish® Foundation where she became Vice President of Corporate Development & Special Events and served on the management team for 10 years. Kari continued her career in nonprofit management as the Vice President of Development and Communications with The Atlanta Women’s Foundation. She was promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer in June of 2017.
Kari is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a major in Communications and a minor in French. She is an alumna of Kappa Alpha Theta and a member of the Junior League of Atlanta Community Advisory Board. Kari was named one of the top 50 Non-Profit Leaders for 2017 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and was recently recognized as one of Atlanta’s Inspiring Women by the Atlanta Dream. And, Kari was just nominated to become a member of the prestigious Leadership Atlanta class of 2023.
Bob Raleigh knew his destination would be in radio when, at 11 years of age while living in Germany, his father took him to the Armed Forces Network (AFN) studios in Kaiserslautern. There Bob wandered into the main control room and immediately fell in love with the studio.
After returning to the States, he attended high school in Augusta Georgia, and began hanging out at WBBQ after class. During his senior year, Bob landed a part-time job at WFNL/Augusta as a weekend talent. When he went off to college in Americus, he held down mornings at WDEC using the air name Jay Clark.
After college, Bob held down various on-air positions in Florida and Georgia, including a brief return to WFNL and WNEX/Macon where he reverted to using the name Bob Raleigh. Other stops included WAUG-FM/Augusta and WZNY/Augusta. He landed is first job as Program Director at WVLD/Valdosta. Later, he became Program Director at WDAK and WCGQ-FM both in Columbus before moving on to other programming and management positions in the Carolinas. Bob returned to Augusta to become Program Director/Operations Manager for WKXC-FM and WSLT-FM.
In 1998, Bob was recruited into the then startup company Cumulus Media as Corporate Programmer for the company chain of Country stations, overseeing over 75 stations nationwide. He also served as Programmer for the nationally syndicated “Lia Show” for Jones Radio Network and Corporate Programmer for Westwood One Radio Network.
Bob is now retired and living in LaGrange with Judy, his wife of 47 years. They have a beautiful daughter and two wonderful grandchildren.