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On radio's birth in the Boro
McDougald brothers speak at Historical Society's annual meeting
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    Former Statesboro residents Mike and Don McDougald entertained a crowd Monday at the 37th Annual Bulloch County Historical Society meeting, held at Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church. The brothers regaled members with tales of chasing news and providing music and information to citizens through the city’s very first radio station, WWNS.
    Joe McGlamery, vice president of the society, introduced the men as “two bangs for the buck” since they each took a turn speaking about the early radio programs.
    Mike McDougald talked about being born in Statesboro’s historical Norris Hotel. “The building is still here, and I am still here, and we’re both showing our age,” he joked,
    He spoke about change “everywhere you look,” including the radio business.
    He recalled using a battery-powered radio as a child and picking up stations all over the south, and recalled WWNS being herd in Birmingham, Alabama at night, when AM  amplitude modulation) stations could range further. Then, when he became a high school student, he began working at the station, cleaning and doing odd jobs, hoping one day to be on the air.
    “There was a degree of casualness about that radio station,” he said.
    Former municipal judge J. Lane Johnston has a musical program aired on occasion, and Dr, Jack Averitt gathered a group to perform live on air as well, “It was culture in Statesboro at its finest,” Mike McDougald  said, recalling how the performers would dress elegantly and people would peer into the windows to watch.
    He also told how call letters really don’t mean anything, but many stations create slogans that fit the call letters. So, WWNS became “Welcome, Where Nature Smiles.”
    His father won a contest with that suggestion he said.
     Mike’s brother Don spoke next, telling how he a d his family came to own the radio station that was such a huge art of their childhood, as well as part of the memories many Statesboro citizens share today.
    “We came to reach Statesboro listeners with the most important things that were,” he said, describing music people enjoyed and programs that brought them news of interest. One program was a five-minute weather report sponsored by J. T. Creasy’s Well Drilling. Then there was “Swap, Buy and Sell,” the original version of today’s “Swap, Buy or Sell” on the Statesboro Herald website at noon each weekday.
    Don McDougald told humorous stories about callers to the show, including one woman who bypassed rules and advertised her real estate in a sneaky way by first listing a car for sale that was “right beside an apartment I have for rent.”
    Another story was about a woman who called in to say “Tell John Henry to bring us some wood out to Sugar Hill. We’re freezing!” And then there was the time the radio station had a contest where participants would guess what time a huge block of ice would melt enough that someone could remove a hundred dollar bill from the center.
    McDougald said he and other radio station employees had to use fans and finally a hatchet to end the contest.
    He also talked about the excitement of chasing news – following law enforcement or fire trucks to the scene of a crime or fire and describing the activity to listeners.
    Mike McDougald left Statesboro eventually and continued a career in radio, establishing a station in canton, then later in Alabama and Rome, Ga. Don McDougald operated WWNS for years, then developed FM (frequency modulation) station WMCD, as well as Statesboro CATV cable station. HE sold the stations in 1975 and retired.
    The two had a third brother, Worth McDougald, who was also involved in the radio world. All three were inducted into the Georgia Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

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