Top 5 Macon Media Personalities of the Past - RADIO

We asked you to vote on who you thought was the most memorable Macon Media Personalities of the Past and the response was huge!  The survey results are in and we are pleased to release your picks for the Top 5 Media Personalities of Macon's Past.

1.  bill elder

Bill Elder was born in Wantagh New York, but raised in Macon.  When his father brought home a radio transmitter, Bill built his own studio in his basement and “played” disc jockey. His sophomore year in high school, he got his first real radio job on weekends at WMAZ.  That led to an offer to join Macon Top 40 station WNEX. In 1972, Elder headed south to Valdosta State and WVLD. He returned to Macon and WNEX for a brief stay in 1974. In 1975 he went to WBML to do afternoons, and then returned to WNEX a third time and stayed until 1982 doing mornings until 1982. WAYS FM’s new General Manager Fred Newton hired Bill as morning man. That began a eighteen year love affair between Macon listeners and the wacky wake up morning show Elder delivered. The station changed its name to 99 WAYS AND achieved phenomenal ratings and revenue success. Elder retired in 2000 and now does voiceovers from his home studio in Macon

2.  rick knight

From 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Rick Knight was a mainstay for 15 years on WDEN-FM radio, where he didn’t mind talking about his three divorces and was often known for taking breaks from the scheduled music lineup to give updates on NASCAR races, mud-bogging races and to talk about his cherished Alabama Crimson Tide.  Knight introduced Middle Georgia to Travis Tritt before Tritt became a country star.  His offbeat personality made him a local celebrity in Macon. 

3.  hamp Swain

Born in Macon, Hamp "King Bee" Swain was Middle Georgia’s first African-American DJ at WIBB in Macon, Georgia. Swain, who hosted the shows “Ebony Bandstand” and “The Night Rider,” was a musician himself (a saxophonist), which offered a natural connection with those in the business, who seemed to recognize and appreciate his musical intuition.  Swain hosted live programs, dances for teenagers and gigs, some of which were sponsored by his employer Atlanta Life. He was regarded as an inspiration for James Brown, as he played his songs on the popular radio WIBB, such as "Please, Please, Please". He also hosted the "Teenage Party", an event that was won by soul singer Otis Redding fifteen times in a row. Swain was the first who discovered Redding's talent.

4.  arron bowers

Once referred as The Night Creature, Aaron Bowers was WDEN’s chain smoking, sunrise jock who once claimed to be a newly converted country music fan, was just a musician at heart.  Bowers started out as the Program Director for WDEN-FM (1975-1983).  Bowers was well known for “striking the right balance between entertaining an audience - and informing them of the companies message at the same time.”

5.  kenny burgamy

Kenny Burgamy was Macon’s morning news, interview, and commentary voice on Newstalk 940 WMAC.  Later paired up with Jami Gaudet the Telegraph’s Charles Richardson, early on his voice was solo during the morning show.  A shining moment during his radio career was during Macon’s flood of 1994, when he was on the air for some very long hours, keeping Macon and Middle Georgia informed of road, facility, and company closings, as well as relief efforts.  Mr Burgamy now co-anchors the Georgia Farm Monitor.

Sometimes, you barely need to scratch the surface to unearth some of Macon's hidden history.  Here are our Top 5 Hidden Spots from all over this city that you can walk right past without noticing...

Top 5 Hidden in Plain Sight - Part 2