Two men whose voices once captivated the airwaves of Central Georgia at WMAZ radio were inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Saturday evening in Marietta.
To say Bobby Pope and Ben Sandifer are dedicated to radio would be an understatement -- the two have almost a century of combined experience.
Sandifer first found himself in a radio station as a Cub Scout and that experience introduced him to a world of possibility over the air.
He got his first job in 1971 in Thomasville, which he says laid the foundation for the rest of his career.
“I had a chance to work in a small town with some very good people who were quite influential. We had a guy there named Ron O’Quinn. He had been on one of the pirate radio stations over in England and knew all of the Beatles personally and been in some big markets, but just didn’t want to raise his children in the big city so he came home to the Thomasville area,” said Sandifer. “I learned a lot from him, he was just a tremendous mentor and still has remained a good friend over the years.”
Sandifer eventually worked his way up to WMAZ Radio, at a time when TV and radio operated in the same building.
“I worked in Macon for several years before going to WMAZ Radio and it was the top station, the biggest company. At that time, radio TV and radio were in the same building, and I even did sports on TV during the weekends,” said Sandifer.
When asked about his best memory at WMAZ, he says it was hard to pick just one.
“FM radio was becoming big and we went from being an automated FM station to being a major player in the market,” said Sandifer. “Working with people like Bill Powell, the program director and morning show host…there were a lot of good memories there.”
It was all the years of work that led to his induction into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame – an honor that was unexpected.
“The voting is done by the membership made up of people from all over the state. You’re selected by your peers, and that’s special when your peers think you’re worthy of that,” said Sandifer. “A lot of the inductees are from the Atlanta market because it’s the biggest city. Sometimes it’s hard for people outside of that to get enough of the vote to be inducted.”
Sandifer is a six-time GABBY winner from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and is the owner of GMS Productions
Bobby Pope joined WMAZ Radio and worked in the Macon area for 50 years – starting in 1964 and signing off in 2014.
He lasting involvement at the station was hosting Saturday Football Scoreboard, doing the daily sports shows, and doing play-by-plays of local sports teams.
We could not reach Pope for comment.