2016 Legacy Inductee
1929 - 2015
Rhett Turnipseed was born in Gainesville on April 6, 1928. He grew up with a love of radio and aviation. His first job as a teenager was putting remote amplifiers and microphones in churches for Sunday morning broadcasts on WGGA. Rhett earned his pilot's license at age 15, and could always be found tinkering around an airport. He studied broadcast journalism at the University of Georgia, earning a master's degree while engaged in local radio broadcasting. His thesis was a history of Georgia radio and television in its first 50 years, a work that earned him the unofficial title of historian of Georgia broadcasting. During the Korean Conflict, he served in the U.S. Army in Korea as a combat correspondent, filing stories from the battlefront for statewide radio stations and newspapers. Rhett joined Voice of America as a producer and editor for various programs emphasizing American science and technology. He described live events worldwide, such as NASA's Mercury through Apollo space flights and President Kennedy's funeral. He was the principal correspondent for the Apollo 11 coverage that earned Voice of America's 1968 Peabody Award. His Apollo moon landing broadcast achieved worldwide English language listeners of some 550 million. In 1973, Rhett became involved in the Energy Research and Development Administration federal initiative to develop solar energy technologies. He retired in 1982, and returned to his native Georgia where for 13 years he was an assistant professor at Brenau University and West Georgia University. He served for two decades as a judge and director of state broadcasting awards by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and was inducted into the Georgia Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2003. He died in 2015.
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