Radio Broadcasting

Radio broadcasting began in Georgia on March 15, 1922, when WSB went on the air for the first time. WSB was owned and operated by the Atlanta Journal newspaper, but many of the other early stations were started by colleges and universities for the benefit of their students, or by local Junior Chambers of Commerce as a place to advertise a town’s businesses and involve the local youth in broadcasting.  

Despite national network affiliations, radio broadcasting in the state of Georgia has always been locally-focused, not just locally-broadcast. The primary purpose of the stations were to serve the needs of their communities – this ranged from local news, agricultural market reports, and rural housekeeping tips to barn dances for entertainment, Sunday worship services from local churches, and educational programing such as School of the Air.  As an example, issues of the WSB-Hive newsletter in 1937 cover activities such as the station’s public service program by the Georgia Association of Workers for the Blind, fund raising efforts for the needy by “The Unorganized Cheerful Givers” during the holidays, and even coverage of a state-wide marbles tournament.  Additionally, during World War II, stations were called upon to aid in the war effort by broadcasting emergency instructions, leading war bond drives, and producing programming such as WSB’s “Atlanta Army Reports” and “The War Mailbag” that addressed various facets of life during wartime. 

In 1984, Georgia State University’s Special Collections acquired the records of WSB Radio that document the organization’s development and activities since its inception. The broadcasting collection has grown over the years to include the records of individual radio broadcasters, as well as the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame which represents broadcasters and stations throughout the state.