Station owner H. Randolph Holder (r)
Courtesy Chris Jones
WGAU History-(Edited from Wikipedia)
WGAU began broadcasting on May 1, 1938. It was purchased in 1956 by Clarke Broadcasting Company, owned by H. Randolph Holder and Tom Lloyd, two broadcasters who also owned WLAQ in Rome, Georgia, and WGRI in Griffin, Georgia. Holder was a popular Athens newsman whose morning and midday news commentaries had a wide following.
The station has played many different musical formats before switching to the current format of news and talk in the early 1990s. Over the years, it served as a launching pad for a number of successful broadcasters who worked at WGAU during their student days at the Henry Grady College of Journalism at the nearby University of Georgia: Harry Chapman, later with WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee, and Bruce Bartley, the lead newscaster of Atlanta's WSB Radio. Former WGAU news director John Holliman went on to be a news reporter for CNN. He rose to prominence as one of CNN's "Boys of Baghdad" during the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 and was one of only three journalists reporting from Baghdad when allied bombing of the city began. He was later known for his coverage of science, technology, and space exploration. In May 1999, NASA dedicated the Launch Complex 39 Press Site auditorium at the Kennedy Space Center in Holliman's name.
Country legend Bill Anderson was a DJ on WGAU in the 1950s when he was 19, and was fired for playing country music. In an interview with Tim Bryant, Bill said H. Randolph Holder, owner of WGAU, offered him a job under the condition he would not play country music. One evening, Bill was running an Atlanta Crackers baseball game which became rained out. Instructions in the studio said if the game gets rained out, to switch to the CBS Radio Network. When Bill switched to the network, The "Louisiana Hay Ride" was on, and Johnny Horton's "Honky Tonk Man" was playing. Before the song was finished, Holder had called Bill to get the program off the air. Holder fired Bill that following Monday, but got him a job at a new radio station in Commerce.
WGAU, along with sister WNGC, was sold to Southern Broadcasting in 1999. In January 2008, it was announced that WGAU and WNGC were sold (along with sister stations WGMG, WPUP, WRFC) to Cox Radio in Atlanta. WGAU was the home to many University of Georgia sports, which later aired on sister "Sports Radio 960 WRFC".