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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Inductees of the 2010 Georgia Radio Hall of Fame include J.J. Jackson, Kirk Mellish, Tom Hughes

Former WGST-AM morning man Pat Hughes was a career achievement award winner.

Former WGST-AM morning man Tom Hughes was a career achievement award winner.

The fourth annual 2010 Georgia Radio Hall of Fame dinner over the weekend featured a Fox 97 reunion and induction of several radio names from the past. Among the winners: former WGST morning man Tom Hughes, former WQXI-AM/Fox 97 jock J.J. Jackson and Kirk Mellish, the weather guy for AM 750 and now 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB.

“With my skill set, I don’t know what I would have done without radio,” said Hughes, who was last on the radio in late 2006. “Now I have found out: I would have done nothing!”

The witty Hughes also noted that WGST’s newsroom, once 35 employees, is now down to four. “Or as Clear Channel calls it,” he cracked, “the homestretch.”:

More seriously, he noted, “before syndication and before voicetracking and corporatization, we made some good, important radio. It’s an honor to be here.”

Kirk Mellish

Kirk Mellish

Mellish, referencing the line, “When the weather is hellish, tune into Mellish,” joked that he’s glad his last name wasn’t Smitty. And he noted with bemusement that TV stations have copied the idea, which wasn’t his concept. “The Wizometer? [WXIA-TV's recent innovation] It sounds like a urine test! Tomorrow’s forecast and find out if you’re pregnant!”

The other recipients included Bill Anderson, a country singer and songwriter best known for his song “Still” who started his career in radio in Athens and Commerce at WJJC-AM. “Radio has always been very special to me,” he said, noting that as a child, he would pretend to be on the radio using a chicken drumstick or a hairbrush.

Clarke Brown worked for 38 years at Jefferson Pilot and its predecessors, including WQXI-AM/FM and Star 94 until 2005.

Eddie Esserman was general manager of Fox 97 in its heyday and has owned different Georgia radio stations. He is also a radio broker. Sam Hale worked for a few years at WQXI-AM in the 1960s and is a co-founder of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

Phil Schaefer joined WSB-AM in 1963 and eventually became a sports reporter. He was also color man for Larry Munson on the UGA Football Network for 16 years.

Tom Hughes (center) poses with B98.5's Kelly McCoy and "Voice of the Hawks" Steve Holman

Tom Hughes (center) poses with B98.5's Kelly McCoy and "Voice of the Hawks" Steve Holman

J.J. Jackson, who recently left radio, with his wife Patty

J.J. Jackson, who recently left radio, with his wife Patty

There was also a Fox 97 reunion, which included not only winners Jackson and Esserman but Spiff Carner and Randy Cook, now at 106.7/True Oldies.


The dinner also included a frightening moment. The Hall of Fame had belatedly found the son of 2007 Legacy recipient Pat Hughes (no relation to Tom), who died in 1968. The son was on the dais discussion his dad when he had a seizure and fell to the floor with a thump. Fortunately, he recovered consciousness and EMTs arrived within a few minutes to treat him.

Anybody can join become a lifetime member of the Hall of Fame for a $25 fee. It’s been around since 2007. The voting  is done by members so although this is supposed to be a statewide operation, people with Atlanta ties tend to predominate. The diversity of the classes has also been limited as organizers have struggled to get African Americans actively involved in the group.

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20 comments Add your comment

Wild Bill Kelso

October 25th, 2010
8:52 am

Atlanta morning radio has not been the same since Tom Hughes, The KING, left the airwaves. Hey WSB – put The KING on in the mornings instead of that host whose specialty is curing insomnia.

Earl Witten (Edina, Minnesota)

October 25th, 2010
9:08 am

Tom Hughes is the Atlanta I remember and will always cherish.

Rick Burns

October 25th, 2010
9:53 am

When I think of Tom on the radio, the line from the James Bond song comes to mind, “Nobody does it better.”

Colonel Klink

October 25th, 2010
10:30 am

WSB needs to end that snooze fest in the morning and return Tom Hughes to the Atlanta airwaves.

We want THE KING!


October 25th, 2010
11:20 am

Bring back the King, Bring Back Kimmer, Clear channel is a complete joke!!


October 25th, 2010
11:30 am

Congrats to Phil Schaefer – a really good guy. One of the most versatile voices in sports radio, he’s covered UGA football, the Masters and NCAA basketball just to name a few.


October 25th, 2010
11:34 am

Leave WSB – AM 750 and now 95.5 FM to those of us who want real news in the morning. All you Clear Channel refugees can try and return GST to it’s glory days.

Bo Buck

October 25th, 2010
11:50 am

I too miss Tom Hughes. He was the best interviewer and a funny guy. But I also miss Melhuish. But I don’t miss radio. I am online all day and filter my news that way – without ads or stories about house fires and crap about the Kardashians.


October 25th, 2010
12:27 pm

Yeah! J.J. Jackson-one of my all time favorite dj’s. Such a class act, he is truly missed in Atlanta. Best wishes to all the hall of famers!

Juggs & Buns Magazine

October 25th, 2010
12:41 pm

There’s n actual radio hall of fame? Really?

OK…I get it….It rhymes with lame.


October 25th, 2010
12:57 pm

Tom Hughes is the best morning person / radio person ever. Funny, inelligent, great questions. I have traveled the country and no one is better. He needs a place in Atlanta radio.


October 25th, 2010
1:47 pm

Does anyone else remember when Star 94 was WQXI and Gary McKee and Willis Cigar had an awesome morning radio show?! They were so cool, they even took donoughts to places of business every Friday. The Friday I heard they would be @ Georgia State University my mom worked there and got their autographs for me. I still have them. They were one of the first radio programs in the metro area to slowly but surely introduce country music crossing over. They would play Eddie Rabbit, Crystal Gayle, and Everly Brothers, Willie Nelson just to name a few! Miss em’

Rancid Meat

October 25th, 2010
1:55 pm

I think it was Willis the Guard. Wonderful indeed!

Kim "The Kimmer" Peterson

October 25th, 2010
5:08 pm

Tom Hughes is The King!

Evander "Ho Chasin'" Holyfield

October 25th, 2010
7:06 pm

To jeffv:
Bring back the Rimmer? Really?…really?…really? Mr “Give War A Chance”? He was a drunk who beat his wife…let’s leave him to ride his Harley off into the sunset


October 25th, 2010
8:00 pm

My favorite Tom Hughes line, from 1988 when he was joking with Steve Holman about the Braves, who were terrible then, competing with the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in baseball:

Holman: Don’t forget the Seattle Mariners. They’re not out of this.
Hughes: Oh, they don’t have the pitching.

Peachtree Pete

October 26th, 2010
12:21 pm

Kirk Mellish, my hero. He’s been around since the Brian Wilson days. Remember him??


October 26th, 2010
12:43 pm

Kirk, SCANA was the cheapest and best with customer service last three years. Now Gas south is cheapist with great customer service. what happened.


October 26th, 2010
7:57 pm

If you bring these guys back there will be no room for my show.

Hank Schoeler

October 29th, 2010
3:15 pm

Tom Hughes was and is still the best. Current talk personalities would be well served to learn from Tom, that it is more interesting to hear the guest’s response, than the host talking over their reply. His wit was just the icing on the cake. Please find a way to get him back on the air.