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WSB collection, 1935-1986

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/vpcf5

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: WSB (Radio station: Atlanta, Ga.)
Title: WSB collection, 1935-1986
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 663
Extent: 260.25 linear feet (262 boxes and 6 LP boxes)
Abstract:Collection of WSB radio station (Atlanta, Georgia), including recordings of a variety of programs, such as debates, campaign speeches, interviews, and news stories; show notes; correspondence; and photographs.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Related Materials in Other Repositories

WSB-TV and WSB records, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia

WSB Radio records and WSB Radio program and date logbooks, Georgia State University

Related Materials in This Repository

Elmo Ellis papers

Ernest Rogers papers


Gift of Aubrey Morris, 1983

Gift of Michael J. Faherty, 1986

Gift of Aubrey Morris, 1989

Custodial History

Aubrey Morris was the Public Affairs and Promotions Director of WSB Radio at the time of initial acquisition in 1983. Michael J. Faherty was the General Manager of WSB Radio at the time of acquisition of additions in 1986. Aubrey Morris was the Editorial Director of WSB Radio at the time of acquisition of additions in 1989.


[after identification of item(s)], WSB collection, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

University Archivist, Ginger Cain, acquired the collection as part of the Rose Library's holdings in Atlanta, Georgia, history. All material received with the collection has been retained.


Arranged and described at the series level by staff in 2001. Meaghan O'Riordan edited the legacy description and completed additional description, 2020-2021. To facilitate access, O'Riordan created series for individual programs with a significant number of recordings then organized the remaining audio recordings into six subject-based categories: politics, news, music, sports, religion, and a catch-all category titled "Investigative series, award entries, special programs, and other shows." However, many tapes could potentially fit into one or more of the categories, so there may be overlap across the topical series, as well as with the series for the programs. For example, many of the politicians featured in the politics series (series 8) were also interviewed on the Merry Go Round morning show (series 1).

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at rose.library@emory.edu.

Collection Description

Historical Note

WSB was the first radio station in the South. The station made its first broadcast on March 15, 1922, two years after the first radio station in the country, KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received its call letters. Atlanta, Georgia's, afternoon newspaper, The Atlanta Journal, owned WSB, and the station initially broadcast from a room in the newspaper's building on Forsyth Street. Three years later, WSB moved into the penthouse of the recently completed Biltmore Hotel on West Peachtree Street. In 1955 WSB relocated to "White Columns," the new home of WSB Radio and TV.

Known as "The Voice of the South," WSB became an affiliate of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in 1927. In 1938 NBC split its Red (entertainment) and Blue (cultural) networks into two separate offerings, allowing radio stations to only carry one network. WSB decided to carry the NBC Red network programming while The Atlanta Journal bought the license of another station, WAGA (now known as WPLO) to carry the Blue network.

In 1933 the station increased its transmitter to 50,000 watts. After the boost in power, WSB was humorously known as "the Blowtorch of the South" because it was heard not only throughout the South and the rest of the country but also as far away as South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

In 1939 former Ohio governor, James M. Cox, bought The Atlanta Journal and WSB. After Cox bought the radio station, it became a strong voice for the Democratic Party both locally and nationally. In 1964, Cox Broadcasting Company (CBC) was created. The CBC included a total of five VHF (very high frequency) television stations, five AM radio stations, and four FM radio stations scattered in cities like Atlanta (Georgia), Dayton (Ohio), Charlotte (North Carolina), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Miami (Florida), San Francisco (California), and Los Angeles (California). WSB-AM and FM, as well as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, remain part of Cox Media Group.

Scope and Content Note

The WSB collection consists of audio recordings of a variety of programs broadcast on WSB AM and FM channels from 1935-1986. Also included is a small amount of paper material, including photographs, show notes, printed material, correspondence, and speeches.

The audio recordings include significant runs of WSB shows Merry Go Round, Sound Off, The World Today, Sounds of Atlanta, Minority Perspective, and Women's World. Also included are recordings of what WSB called "Special Days" programming, which they did to celebrate a holiday - often invented by them - each day.

Merry Go Round was a morning show that featured interviews with notable people and included politicians, actors, musicians, authors, journalists, and comedians. Sound Off, The World Today, Sounds of Atlanta, Minority Perspective, and Women's World all appear to be shows focused on discussions of current affairs and hot button issues, and each show provides a different perspective on those issues and events.

There are a significant number of recordings on the broad themes of politics, news, music, sports, and religion. Politics segments feature recorded debates, campaign speeches, and interviews from the municipal level to the federal level and include prominent Georgia politicians. News stories reflect local crime and weather, plane crashes and hijackings, fires, and traffic. Music recordings include both recordings of songs and music related programs. Sports stories are primarily comprised of stories about the Atlanta Braves (Georgia) and Henry "Hank" Aaron. Recordings relating to religion include church services, as well as such programs as L'chaim to Life, Midnight Minister, Suffer the Little Children, and This Is My Religion.

WSB records include photographs and show notes. Photographs are primarily of radio transmitters from 1941-1948. Show notes often list topics and interview subjects and may be able to be matched to tapes using dates of the tape numbers.

Arrangement Note

The collection is divided into fourteen series: (1) Merry Go Round audio recordings, (2) Sound Off audio recordings, (3) The World Today audio recordings, (4) Sounds of Atlanta audio recordings, (5) Minority Perspective audio recordings, (6) "Special Days" audio recordings, (7) Women's World audio recordings, (8) Politics audio recordings, (9) News audio recordings, (10) Music audio recordings, (11) Sports audio recordings, (12) Religion audio recordings, (13) Investigative series, award entries, special programs, and other shows audio recordings, and (14) WSB records.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Form/Genre Terms

Description of Series