What Jim Woodruff, Jr. and James “Alley Pat” Patrick Have in Common

They received two coveted awards at  the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Induction Awards Ceremony Saturday night in Marietta, Georgia.

James W. Woodruff, Jr.

James W. Woodruff, Jr.

Jim Woodruff, Jr., President and General Manager of WRBL Radio and TV, was my friend and boss for more than 20 years.  He was honored posthumously with the Elmo Ellis Spirit Award.  I worked for Elmo Ellis at WSB Radio for four years.  Both of the men were Georgia broadcasting giants.  I learned a lot from both of  them.

James "Alley Pat" Patrick

James “Alley Pat” Patrick

James “Alley Pat” Patrick received the Georgia Radio  Hall of Fame Founders and Directors Award.  He, at age 94, was there to personally accept the award.  He brought the house down with his outrageously insulting humor.  I could not believe that someone 94 years old could have the energy to be as funny as he was.  As the video about his life told us, he started his radio career in the ’40s on Atlanta’s first black-owned radio station WERD-AM.  He left radio for a while to become Atlanta’s first black bail-bondsman, actively working with civil rights leaders to bail protestors out of jail during civil rights struggles.  A theatrical documenarty film has been made about him. It calls him the “Real Mouth of  the South.”

No doubt that is a take-off on the old WSB “50,000-watt Voice of the  South” slogan.  I have to admit the  first time I announced that station break on the 50,000-watt Voice of the South in 1957 I felt very special, because that station was and is a broadcasting giant.  More so then, I think, than it is now.  I once asked Elmo Ellis about the ratings.  Knowing I was doing the morning news, he said the station had more viewers in the morning than all other Atlanta stations combined.  I don’t think anyone in Atlanta can claim that now.

Dina Woodruff,  Jim Woodruff, III, and Janet Beerman

Dina Woodruff, Jim Woodruff, III, and Janet Beerman

Janet Beerman, Ellis’ daughter, who made the Elmo Ellis Spirit Award presentation, introduced the short video about Jim Woodruff, Jr.’s life.  It was my honor to narrate that video, especially when I saw that the Woodruff family – some 20 of his progeny were there – was pleased that I did it.  The video only ran for two  minutes so a lot had to be left out.  For instance, I wasn’t able to tell that Woodruff was instrumental  in launching the University of Georgia Football Radio Network, with WRBL Radio feeding play-by-ply of Georgia games to stations all over Georgia for a number of years.  Also, I had to leave out that he was instrumental in putting Georgia’s first  commercial FM station , WRBL-FM,  on the air right after World  War II.  At one  time Woodruff was involved administratively in four family owned stations in Georgia, including WATL in Atlanta, and WGPC in Albany. 

What a great night it was, filled with historic images of Georgia’s many radio stations, and with laughs aplenty supplied by  still-living radio personalities.  Thanks so much to Debbie and Jim Woodruff, III, for inviting former WRBL co-workers Don Nahley, Al Fleming, and me to the event.  All of us had a marvelous time.

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3 Responses to “What Jim Woodruff, Jr. and James “Alley Pat” Patrick Have in Common”

  1. debjwoodruff6 Says:

    Thank you, Dick… for being there all those years! Daddy had such high regard and appreciation for your skill, talent, and friendship.
    And I am grateful that this continues into my brother and sisters’ lives & my life as well! It was such a joy to all be together with you & Don and Al on this special GA Radio Hall of Fame awards evening! Thank you, with all of my heart, for your narration of Daddy’s video!
    Fondly, Debbie

  2. Janet Sue Gray Says:

    What a memorable evening it must have been! I know how close you were to Jim for many years. What an honor to be not only invited, but to narrate the video of his life. I’m certain it was enjoyed by all. Was it taped? I’d love to see & hear it.

    Janet Sue

  3. The GRHoF Says:

    A DVD and picture CD of the evening are available. Go to http://www.grhof.com.

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