2009 Legacy Imductee

H. Randolph Holder, Sr.

Howard Randolph Holder, Sr., was born on November 14, 1916 in Moline, Illinois. After attending public school he graduated with an AB degree from Augustana College in 1939 with majors in psychology and Spanish and went to work for WHBF in Rock Island. In 1941 he married Clementi Lacey Baker and entered the Army. On February 19, 1942 Holder was captured by the Germans in Algeria and was a POW for two years. He tried to escape three times. He succeeded on the fourth attempt and walked from the Polish Corridor to Russia. From there he hitchhiked on wagons, trains, and trucks to Naples, Italy. Holder wrote about his experiences in his book, “Escape from Russia” and was awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery and enterprise. Holder served in the Army Reserve for 23 years. Upon coming home, he returned to radio eventually moving to Athens in 1948 to become news director and part owner of WRFC in Athens, where he and Clementi raised three daughters and a son. In 1956, he became president of Clarke Broadcasting and then CEO licensee of WGAU in Athens, WLAQ in Rome, and WGRI in Griffin. Holder was a consummate newsman, working on the front lines, gathering, writing, and delivering local news, the foundation of  WGAU’s programming. He was a champion of civic causes, giving much of his time to community organizations and serving on the boards of countless foundations and committees. Holder was also very active in national and local radio associations, and political action committees. His awards and recognition fill pages. Listeners remember Mr. Holder’s familiar words: “It’s a lovely day to be in Athens. Keep smiling until 10 o’clock, and the rest of the day will take care of itself”.

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Photos courtesy of the Holder family.

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