Cartersville radio stations clean up at GABBY Awards
by Jason Lowrey
Jun 14, 2014 | 1056 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Together AM 1270 WYXC and WBHF AM 1450 took home eight Georgia Association of Broadcaster awards, also known as the GABBY Awards.

WYXC won three awards in the mid-market category: best short form feature for “Movie Music + Barry + WYXC,” best live talk show merit award for “BK on the Radio with Richard Hatch” and best radio personality for Barry King.

WBHF won five awards in the mid-market category: best long form feature program for “Adairsville Storm Coverage 2013,” best sports play-by-play broadcast for “Voice of The Hurricanes,” best live talk show for “A&M in the AM — Live Talk with Alan Sanders,” community service award for “Adairsville Tornado Victim Fundraiser” and radio station of the year for small market.

John Underwood, a co-owner of WYXC, said the three awards for his station are the first he has won since he and his wife, Brandi, began working there more than a year ago.

“For me and my wife and for the time that we’ve been here at WYXC, this was our first award, period. That’s why it was such a big deal for us. ... The 21st of this month me and her will have owned the station for a year and a half, and this past year has been really rough and these awards have just kind of validated everything that we’ve been doing — everything that we’ve been trying to do. We were just beside ourselves excited,” he said.

With King contributing to each of WYXC’s wins, Underwood said he was a cherished part of the station.

“So he tries to go here and go there and promote his show, promote the radio station. He’s been through a lot with us here at the station in the past year and a half,” Underwood said. “He’s just been great. He helps us out with everything that we need. He comes up late in the afternoon, late in the evening, to help voice commercials and promos and different things like that. He helps me write them. He’s just been all around a very big asset for us and he’s become a very good, close personal friend of mine and Brandi’s too.”

Looking ahead, Underwood said he would like to see WYXC win best station of the year and for sports coverage. Even without the awards, though, he said working radio in Bartow County was a labor of love.

“We love doing this. We have a big passion for it. Just even getting recognized was just a big deal. If we had only went home with the merit award we would have been just giddy beside ourselves. But for us to win a merit award and two GABBYs on top of that, it was more than we ever imagined getting our first year entering,” he said.

For WBHF, the wins in both the community service award and radio station of the year were back to back.

“Well, it’s a great thrill for us. This is the third time,” Program Director Lee Burger said of the station of the year award. “I think we won it in ’78 and then we won it again in 2013 and 2014, so it’s been back-to-back wins for us.”

Citing Alan Sanders’ win in the talk show category, Burger said it was a case of a local approach paying off.

“Alan does a great job for us in the mornings. He’s entertaining, knowledgeable and there’s no doubt he keeps his thumb on what’s happening locally,” Burger said.

Burger credited WBHF’s strong local focus for its success at the GABBY Awards. Since the station is restricted in its signal strength, it guarantees local news, he added.

“Well, to us everything is local, local, local. We try to have local guests. We are heavy into local news and local weather. We’re just local, local, local,” he said. “... We also have won the community service award two years in a row and that certainly helps you with the radio station of the year. It shows everybody in broadcasting who is judging you that you are really tied into the local community.”

To see the complete list of GABBY winners, visit www.gab.org.