Ray Moore, 90: Former WSB news director, anchor

During his days as a pioneering newsman at two Atlanta television stations, Ray Moore wanted to inform, enlighten and educate.

He knew crime and violence had to be covered, but he believed viewers also wanted to see the good in life, more than the bad.

“I believe the first station to make an extraordinary effort to seek out the good things in its community, that trains its reporters to find those kinds of stories, will reap great rewards in ratings and revenue, not to mention personal satisfaction,” Moore told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1996. “We looked for good news and always found some. It’s out there.”

A North Carolina native, Moore spent 18 years at WSB-TV, five years at WAGA-TV and later returned to WSB in the ‘80s to deliver the news at noon. He retired in 1992, but continued to appear as a special contributor for several years, said his son Russ Moore, of Newnan.

Don McClellan, who worked with Moore at WSB and is now a contributor for Channel 2 Action News, wrote in an email, “Everything about Ray was unusual if not unique,” adding that Moore had “integrity, accuracy, compassion … all rolled into one with a charisma like no other.”

Albert Raymond Moore Jr., known as Ray to all, of Smyrna, died Tuesday from complications of a fall. He was 90.

A memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. on Saturday at Oak Grove United Methodist Church, Decatur. A.S. Turner & Sons is in charge of cremation arrangements.

Moore was a second-generation newsman. His father had an interest in an Ohio newspaper, where a young Moore started as a delivery boy and later became an editor. Before attending Columbia University on the G.I. Bill, Moore served in the Army during World War II, where he also wrote a historical account for the 10th Armored Division, his son said.

After earning a degree in history, Moore found a job as a radio announcer in Tennessee in 1948, before moving to Atlanta in 1951 to work at WSB radio. A year later he moved over to the television station, which was an NBC affiliate at the time, as a news reporter and weatherman.

By 1958, Moore had become both a news director and anchor. During his tenure on the news desk, he teamed up the legendary Hal Suit and the pair became a formidable anchor team that dominated the Georgia airwaves.

Moore’s news instincts could be found in his documentaries and coverage of the civil rights movement. He felt TV cameras needed to capture what was happening in the streets and on college campuses. He covered the integration of the University of Georgia by Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes, and he interviewed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in Atlanta just after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“That interview was used by the network,” Russ Moore said. He added his father’s work at WSB earned him opportunities for advancement, but he turned them down so he could stay in Atlanta with his family.

Before Moore left the station in 1969, he hired a number of journalists who eventually worked their way up the network ladder, particularly one namely Tom Brokaw.

“Ray was the gold standard in the early days of broadcast journalism for reporting the big stories and small, out of the tumultuous days of the civil rights movement and the rise of Atlanta as a world class city,” Brokaw, a special correspondent for NBC News, wrote in an email. “He was a mentor to so many of us and I will always be grateful he took a chance on me when I was just a 25 year old Yankee. Most of all I was grateful for his friendship and strong personal and professional standards.”

When Moore was inducted in the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1995, Brokaw called him “the godfather to a whole generation of young journalists who came to Atlanta.”

In addition to his son, Moore is survived by his second wife, Sara Moore of Smyrna; two additional sons, Steve Moore, of Augusta and Bruce Moore of Memphis, Tenn.; stepchildren, Lee Sears of Raleigh, N.C., and Nat Sears of Alpharetta; sister, Helen Gerig of Fort Myers, Fla.; and 10 grandchildren.