Radio briefs: ex-Lite host Gene Gates has died; Cumulus’ Sean Shannon departs



Gene Gates, part of a longtime husband-and-wife morning show duo Gene & Julie that was once heard in Atlanta, has died. He was 63.

His wife, Julie Gates, posted the sad news on the public Gene & Julie Facebook page.

“It is with profound sadness I share that Gene took his life on June 15, 2023,” Julie wrote. “This has been a heartbreaking loss. The place he felt most alive was behind the microphone. As a radio broadcaster, Gene loved starting everyone’s day with a laugh.”

Julie added: “While he accomplished many great things, he was also very human. Gene’s death is a reminder that anyone can be struggling. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help ( You are loved, and you are not alone.”

The show aired on Atlanta soft rock station Lite 94.9 between 2003 and 2005. The couple won two Achievement in Radio awards in late 2003, just six months after launching in Atlanta as best morning show and best new talent.

“I’m shocked,” Gene Gates told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time. “We thought we had zero chance.”

In 2005, when they landed a job in Dallas, Gates told the AJC he felt restrained by the fact that Lite forced them to end their show at 8:20 a.m. when most morning shows aired until at least 9:45 a.m. “We’ve done as much as we could given the format and restrictions,” he said at the time.

Gates last served in radio as program director and morning host of Mix 101.5 in Raleigh, North Carolina from 2014 to 2016. Since then he owned a podcasting and marketing strategy business.

He and Julie Gates have also worked at stations in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Los Angeles and San Francisco.




Atlanta-based Cumulus Media has let go Sean Shannon after he spent eight years as the Atlanta-based market manager.

He was overseeing top 40 station Q99.7, alternative rock station 99X and New Country 101.5.

Shannon didn’t return a request for comment and Cumulus chief content officer Brian Phillips declined to comment. (Shannon’s LinkedIn page reflects his departure earlier this month.)

The radio veteran helped keep Q99.7 a top performer for Cumulus Atlanta in recent years while turning what had been Rock 100.5 back to classic alternative station 99X late last year. He also transitioned what had been country station Kicks 101.5 to a rebranded New Country 101.5 in 2019 and paired newcomer JJ Kincaid with long-time Kicks host Dallas McCade into a successful morning show.

About the Author

Editors' Picks