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McDougald brothers highlight Historical Societys annual gathering
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    Two Bulloch County natives will highlight the 37th annual meeting of the Bulloch County Historical Society Monday in the Fellowship Hall of Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church.
    A buffet dinner will be served promptly at 6:30 p.m. and a limited number of tickets are available at the door for $12.
    Long-time broadcasters and brothers Donald and Michael McDougald were born in Statesboro, grew up in Clito in northern Bulloch, and although traveling different paths, both made their life journey in radio. Their comments Monday will include memories of growing up in Bulloch County as well as their radio days.
    Younger brother Mike McDougald left Statesboro in 1948 to attend Emory University in Atlanta. Older brother Don left earlier for Clemson College, and then went on to the Pacific for World War II, before returning to finish his degree at Emory’s Business School. A third brother, Dr. Worth McDougald, who passed away in 2007 also shared a journalism career, having attended Emory, Notre Dame, Harvard and Ohio State – plus taking time out for military duty in World War II and later retiring as a Lt. Commander in the Navy. Mike missed World War II but served in Germany as a Counter Intelligence Special Agent in the CIC during the Korean War.
    Their paternal grandfather was mayor of Statesboro, while their maternal great grandfather was a member of the town council. Their aunt Sarah Hall was the first woman ever to serve on a jury in Bulloch County, and their cousins – Isabel and Elizabeth Sorrier – were two of the best known librarians in the Southeast. Another cousin, Sally Quinn – married to Ben Bradley – has appeared on national television frequently to help unravel the Washington scene. Another cousin, Rebecca Franklin, wrote extensively for the Atlanta papers, then moved to New York and married noted theatre critic, Ward Morehouse.
    Each of the three McDougald boys were products of Statesboro High School and especially were class pets of Mrs. Lillie Deal, the noted red-headed firebrand journalism teacher who saw to it that each of the three served as editor of the SHS Hi-Owl newspaper. Upon graduation, she told them to go out and enter the field of journalism; they all did and it turned out to be a wise choice for all three.
    When Worth returned to Statesboro after the big war, he worked at the new radio station as program director until he got a call to come to Athens and became a professor at the University of Georgia. Meantime, Don put his business degree to use, becoming comptroller of Georgia Teachers College. Mike got his feet wet in radio, gaining two years experience at WWNS during his junior and senior years at Statesboro High School. He was able to help pay for his four years at Emory with a job at WSB in Atlanta.
    In 1957, after Mike became involved in the ownership of a new radio station in Canton, Ga., just north of Atlanta, his entire family came to visit. His mother, older brother Horace and brothers Worth and Don liked what they saw in Mike’s new station. On the way home, the family formulated a plan to come back to Statesboro and share an investment in local radio station WWNS, owned at the time by Bob Thompson.
    Thompson sold to the McDougalds, before moving to Tybee where he became mayor. Worth and Don shortly bought out their mother and Horace and became partners.
    Since Don was in Statesboro doing most of the work, and Worth was in Athens busy being a professor, Don figured he should just buy the whole station, which he did. For more than 17 years Don ran WWNS, developed the FM station WMCD, and established with several partners, Statesboro CATV, Inc. – the local cable franchise. In 1975 he sold the company and indicated he was retired. In 1994, Don and his wife Betty built a home in Montreat, North Carolina, just down the street from Billy Graham’s home – but still kept close ties with Statesboro. Much of the beams and lumber used to build their new home came from Bulloch County. Betty died in 2008 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
    Meanwhile, Mike sold his Canton station and established an AM/FM station operation in Gadsden, Ala., in partnership with Charles Smithgall, a noted Georgia media pioneer. Mike then purchased an AM/FM radio station in Rome where his wife Leeta also established an advertising agency. During this time, he founded the first cellular digital telephone system in Northwest Georgia, which 10 years later he sold to Nextel. He has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Broadcasters for two terms, and currently is in his eighth year on the board of directors Georgia Public Broadcasting where he is chairman.
    The brothers have always been committed to public service and each compiled an enviable record of serving their communities. All three brothers – while traveling totally different roads, and for totally different reasons – are inductees into the Georgia Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

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