Jack Lenz was born in Augusta. His radio career began when a friend, Sammy Barton, invited him to read a part in a radio play on WRDW. That led to Jack being a part of a weekly teen show, “The Colonial Showboat”. It was a one hour musical variety show. Jack didn’t sing or play a musical instrument so he became the emcee. Jack moved, with Sammy and the rest of the cast, over to WGAC. One Saturday, Jack was on the air and a man stuck his head in the door and said: “if you can say proGRAM instead of PROgrum, I have a job for you”. The man was 2007 GRHoF Legacy inductee George Weiss.
Jack became music librarian (unpaid until the station signed on) at George’s new WBBQ. Shortly thereafter, Jack’s father took a job in Savannah; the family moved. WDAR had just lost its morning man and Jack was in the right place at the right time. He was hired on the spot and started the next morning. Jack had never been in a control room (the teens always worked in a studio with a board operator in the next room) and he was panic stricken when he arrived for work the net morning. Fortunately an engineer arrived and trained him on the job.
A year later, Jack’s family moved back to Augusta and he went back to work at WBBQ. A request for a raise set in motion a radio sales career for Lenz. Weiss told him he didn’t have any more money (his salary was $35.00 a week), however, Weiss told him he could sell spots to augment his income. Soon Jack was making more from advertising sales than on air.
Jack wanted to live near the ocean and in 1950, Hugh Tollison was hiring at WGIG in Brunswick. Lenz moved to Brunswick and stayed there until 1951 when he enrolled in college, only return a few years later. He went back to WGIG in 1954 and began a show called “Trader Jack” a swap shop type program.
In 1957, Lenz moved to Savannah to become program director at WSAV and was responsible for hiring Savannah radio legend, Beryl Womack. In 1959, Jack moved to Lyons, to put WBBT on the air and remained there until the station was sold. He returned with his new family to Savannah and took a job with Carter Peterson’s WCCP.
Plough Corporation bought WAGA in Atlanta, changed the call letters to WPLO, and was hiring a new staff. They contacted Jack, whose name they had gotten from a Savannah competitor. Lenz was part of a sales staff of 6 whose job it was to sell against established Top 40 WQXI. A dispute about accounts resulted in Jack leaving WPLO and joining WIIN as an announcer and salesman. Since moving to Atlanta, Jack had set his sights on WSB and finally after many attempts to get a job there he got the call. Starting at WSB on January 2, 1963, Jack rose to become General Sales Manager there, a position he held until 1980.
In 1988, Jack moved “home” to the Golden Isles of Georgia. He died March 30, 2013.
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