WABE will lose one of its most prominent voices, Denis O’Hayer, this summer, the radio station announced.
According to WABE, O’Hayer, the host of the station’s flagship program, “Morning Edition,” will retire on June 29, after a 42-year, award-winning career in broadcasting. His last day on air will be Friday, June 22.
While he will be leaving his full-time position, O’Hayer will remain affiliated with WABE as an occasional political contributor.
Throughout his career in television and radio in Atlanta, O’Hayer has built a strong and loyal following as a reporter, interviewer and host taking on and making sense of the most important news stories of the day.
One of Atlanta’s most listened-to radio programs, “Morning Edition” has seen its ratings soar under O’Hayer’s stewardship, recently earning a spot as the number-two Atlanta morning drive radio show, according to WABE. The average weekly audience more than doubled over the past two years and increased 92 percent between Nov. 2015 and Feb. 2018, with O’Hayer as host.
O’Hayer was named to the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame in 2015. The Georgia Association of Broadcasters selected him as its Broadcaster of the Year in 2014.
“Denis O’Hayer is a consummate journalist who takes working hard and being prepared to a level that we all strive to match,” Wonya Lucas, CEO of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, said. “His dedication to the audience and to the story and his depth of experience show in every broadcast.”
According to WABE, O’Hayer began his carrer in radio in Connecticut in 1976, but came to Public Broadcasting Atlanta in 1978, where he served in a variety of roles and hosted multiple news specials, winning many awards along the way. He joined WABE in 2009.
“This is a decision months – even years – in the making,” O’Hayer said. “I love what I do, and the place where I’m doing it. It is simply a time in life to focus on other things that are also very important to me.”