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Georgia Radio Hall of Famer Laura Starling celebrates 40 years on the air

This year, she celebrates 40 years with the country radio station WDEN

MACON, Ga. — A woman with a slot in the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame celebrates 40 years on the air this month at WDEN.

Every weekday morning, you will find Laura Starling behind the microphone for WDEN.

This year, she celebrates 40 years with the country radio station.

"Especially in radio, to work at one station for 40 years is incredible because the radio industry has changed a lot because fewer and fewer work in it," said Bobby Reed.

Bobby Reed, who is also a DJ, is Laura's boss and dear friend.

He says some of her success is because she's got a heart as big as a John Deere tractor.

"If somebody's sick, I can tell and she'll pray about it. She's that kind of person -- she's got a big heart," Reed said.

Starling started out in 1982, and back then, the computers she uses to do her job today didn't exist.

"We were playing records," Starling said.

Laura is a hometown girl who grew up in Jones County, went to Wesleyan College, and her mom even gets to listen to the show.

"My mom is always proud," said Laura.

Mom gets excited when Laura gets to meet a "who's who" of country stars including Kenny Chesney, The Judds, and Dolly Parton, but her favorite is Dwight Yoakam.

He ranks up there, but not as far up the dial as her listeners.

"I'll have folks come out to a live broadcast that I've been seeing 30 or 35 years. You get to be friends with people in the community, you get to be friends with people you meet -- I've got a lot of phone numbers in my phone," Starling said.

Many ask when she's going to retire, and she says, "Not anytime soon."

In many ways, it's like a country song with a happy ending: a woman who's doing something she loves and bringing joy to everyone that hears her voice.

Laura started on overnights back in the 1980s. She originally thought she'd become a newspaper writer.

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