2019 Legacy Inductees
(in alphabetical order)
When Sean Demery was a college student, his, "just for fun", decision to join the college radio station staff would lead to a highly successful career. His first job was at K104 in Fresno. Success there led Demery to KYNO FM, KTFM in San Antonio and ultimately his first pd job at Salt Lake city's KLRZ COLORS 95. Sean moved to Atlanta in 1989 as music director and afternoon drive host on WAPW Power 99 which ultimately became 99X. Sean musically positioned 99X before leaving in 2000. Demery returned to Atlanta as 99X morning co-host with 2009 Georgia Radio Hall of Fame inductee Leslie Fram in 2006. He left in 2007 for more gigs, more industry awards, and succumbed to a fatal illness in 2018
Bill Duncan was born in Atlanta, attended Gulfcoast and Lyman Ward military academies. He graduated from Grady High School. He started his radio career at WDGL in Douglasville. He also worked at WDMG, WPLO and WFOM. then moved to WDMG. Bill left Atlanta to work at WAPE and Y-10 in Jacksonville, but returned to do air work at WCNN. He was Operations Manager at WMRZ FM in Columbus and then ended his radio career at B985 back in his home town of Atlanta. He was a very talented guitarist and pianist. Bill Duncan was a gentle soul loved by many.
Steve Ferguson was born in West Virginia and attended Piedmont College. His radio career began at WMTZ in Augusta. After five years, he had risen to be program director and morning show host. In 1990, WMTZ changed formats and Steve left the station to work for WTHO in Thompson as program director, a position he held for 29 years. He was also morning man for 18 years. In 2010, Ferguson was named Country Breakout Reporter of the year by Music Row. In February 2019, he was awarded the Randy Jones Award for devotion to his community and career.
Gary Guntor’s professional voice talent career spans over 40 years. He began with his work at WMAZ Radio and Television in Macon, GA in the mid 1960’s. In 1970 he entered into major market radio as a staff announcer at WSB-AM & FM in Atlanta, GA, which continued for 4 years. In 1974 Gary’s professional communications career diverted into the corporate world where he spent 23 years working in media and training while with Georgia Power Company and its parent firm, Southern Company. After transitioning into the corporate world, he joined WSB on a part-time basis from 1982 until 1991.
Burke Johnson was born in Maryland. He graduated from Fairmont Heights High School then served his country in the United States Army. After this stint in the Army, he enrolled at Morris Brown in Atlanta. A chance encounter with WERD's Jack Gibson (a GRHoF 2016 Legacy inductee) led to an internship at the station. His hard work at WERD earned him an on air shift. WAOK owner (and 2008 GRHoF Legacy inductee) Zenas Sears heard him and hired him away at WAOK. Burke became program director, a position he held until the mid 70's. He passed away in 2019.
Bert Parks launched his broadcast career in Atlanta, in 1931. at age 16 He won a singing contest on WGST and later worked there as an announcer and singer. At age 17 he moved to New York and became the youngest-ever staff announcer at CBS radio. Parks was network announcer for many programs and later served as host for two quiz shows on radio. In 1955 he began a 24 year career with the “Miss America Pageant. Parks’ career came full-circle back to radio in 1980 when he appeared as Herb Tarlek, Sr., in an episode of “WKRP In Cincinnati.”
Ben Parsons was born in Columbus. At age seventeen, he left the tenth grade at Jordan High to work at WJHO in Opelika, Alabama. In 1947 he was inducted into the Army, stationed in South Korea with the Signal Corp. Parsons was awarded the Korean Service Medal as well as three bronze medals. While in Korea he was a correspondent for WRBL radio in Columbus. In 1952, when he got out of the Army, he returned to Columbus and WRBL and was program director and an announcer until1971. He also owned a recording studio and produced records and advertising commercials.
Ray Relihan was born in Walpole, NH, and graduated from Stevens High School and Embry-Riddle University. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force as a communications specialist and air traffic controller. After the service, he became chief engineer of WLBB in Cedartown then part owner and chief engineer of WLBB in Carrollton. Relihan moved to LaGrange as Chief Engineer and morning announcer on WTRP. Ray was known affectionately as “The Park Avenue Hillbilly”. He also was chief engineer for LaGrange Cable Television and developed cable systems in Newnan, Thomaston, and Manchester. Ray was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus.
Fred “Doc” Suttles was born in Centerville, Alabama. He began his radio career at WJLD in Birmingham in 1960. In 1965 he moved to Albany to play jazz gospel, jazz, and blues on WJIZ. Doc” also promoted concerts, and eventually became General Manager. In addition to being a radio personality, Suttles did play by play broadcasts of Albany State football and basketball. He was inducted into the Albany State Sports Hall of Fame in 1964 and honored for lifetime achievement by the Albany State during the 2003 Fountain City Classic football game. Guided by Suttles, WJIZ dominated Albany radio ratings.
Mike Ventura was born in Chicago, graduated from Wiley High School and Indiana State university. While in college, he was on the air at WTHI. After college he joined the Marines and served his country during the Vietnam conflict. After the service he returned to radio and worked in various positions at stations in Sioux City, Iowa, Charlotte North Carolina, Tampa, Florida, and WQXI FM in Atlanta. Ventura left radio to create a digital marketing firm. He was also a sailor, a civil war reenactor, and horseman. For several years he was Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter Counselor at Emory University.
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