Originally posted Wednesday, November 27, 2019 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
The syndicated Bert Show’s 11th Big Thank You campaign to get letters to every U.S. military person overseas during Thanksgiving fell short of its goal for the first time.
Nonetheless, 130,000 letters were still sent out earlier this month out of a goal of 170,000.
“We’re a little deflated,” said Bert Weiss, who runs the syndicated Bert Show based out of Atlanta. “We’re in more cities than we’ve ever been in. Maybe we’ve done it so often, we have to re-engage the listeners some way next year.”
At its peak, when there were more troops deployed, the morning show sent out 600,000 letters.
Davi Crimmins, part of the Bert Show, was out with the flu. And digital media and communications director Cassie Young just had a baby. But the rest of the team including Blake Eason, Moe Mitchell and Kristin Klingshirn were there.
Tommy Owen, the Bert Show producer, oversees the campaign every year and says it’s now a well-oiled machine. He has dozens of volunteers read and sort all the letters.
John Long, who started the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame 12 years ago with former WQXI colleague Sam Hale, has decided to retire.
Long, who did it all as a volunteer, said he felt the people who made radio tick in Georgia the past century deserved to be honored.
“I knew the very first year what our efforts meant to others when Skinny Bobby Harper’s daughter made heart-warming acceptance remarks for his Legacy induction,” Long said. “No amount of money equals the satisfaction of knowing that our organization is recognizing someone’s life partner, mother, father, brother or sister for their contributions to their community and Georgia radio.”
Some of his favorite acceptance speeches over the years came from the likes of Ludlow Porch, Pete Van Wieren and Ernie Johnson, Don Sutton, and Alley Pat.
He felt it was time to pass the torch to a new generation and he will instead focus on his Georgia Radio Museum in LaGrange and his more than 300 antique radios.
Long said he needs someone to replace him and refresh the annual ceremony. “We have over 800 members,” he said. “Hopefully, some of them will come forward.”
Lois Reitzes joined 90.1/WABE-FM in 1979 and has remained on the air ever since. She is celebrating her 40th anniversary at the station this month.
Reitzes, 66, now hosts the daily arts radio show “City Lights.” She possesses one of the city’s most distinctive voices and a deep well of classical music knowledge. She is also the longest-running Atlanta host in town, a true Grand Dame of Georgia radio.
“I feel profoundly grateful for all of the opportunities WABE has provided me,” she emailed me Wednesday. “It’s amazing that at age 66, I find working here more enlivening than ever!”
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