Michael McDougald Headshot
Michael McDougald was a Grady College Fellow and a leader in the Georgia broadcast industry. He is pictured here at Grady's Centennial Celebration in 2015. (Photos: Sarah E. Freeman)

Remembering Michael H. McDougald

It is with sadness that we announce the death of Michael Hall McDougald: broadcaster, Grady Fellow and friend of the College. McDougald died Dec. 17, 2021, in Rome, Georgia.

Michael McDougald at WSB in 1948.
Michael McDougald got his start in radio while he was a radio and television student at Emory University. He is pictured here in 1948 working at WSB radio. (Photo: Grady College archives)

“Mike was everything a good broadcaster should be,” said Bob Houghton, part-time instructor at Grady College and president of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. “He left the communities he worked in better than they were before he arrived. He didn’t just join organizations to be a member; he joined to serve and lead them.”

Houghton’s remarks were made in a recent GAB newsletter, an organization that McDougald served as a former president and member of its Hall of Fame.

McDougald led a long career in broadcasting serving in employment positions at WWNS/WMCD, Statesboro, Georgia; WRFC, Athens, Georgia; WGBA, Columbus, Georgia; and WSB, Atlanta, Georgia. He was involved in ownership of WCHK, Canton, Georgia; WAAX/WQEN, Gadsden, Alabama; WRGA/WQTU, Rome, Georgia; and WVOV, Danville, Virginia.

Following his 1952 graduation from Emory University where he majored in radio and television and worked at WSB, McDougald entered the Army, serving in the Korean War, and later in military service in Germany during the Cold War. He was a graduate of the Counter-Intelligence Corps School in Baltimore, Maryland, and was a CIC Special Agent with top secret clearance. He was also an instrument-rated licensed pilot.

McDougald started graduate studies at Grady College in the 1950s, but was lured to back to his pre-war job at WSB in Atlanta, leaving his degree incomplete.

McDougald was inducted into the inaugural class of Grady Fellows in 2008, a group recognized for accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve and making a positive impact on Grady College.

He was the recipient of two Marconi Awards and one Crystal award from the National Association of Broadcasters, three Abe Lincoln awards, and seven GAB Station of the Year awards. He served two terms on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters, and as chairman of America’s Small Market Committee.  He is a past president of the GAB and past board member of both the Georgia and Alabama Broadcasters Associations. He was named Broadcast-Citizen of the Year in Georgia and Broadcaster of the Year in Alabama and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of both GAB and ABA.

Michael McDougald and Parker Middleton
Michael McDougald was very involved with the Georgia Association of Broadcasters, serving as its board president, on its Board of Directors and in it Hall of Fame. He is pictured here at a GAB dinner with former Grady development director Parker Middleton, in 2015.

During later years, McDougald was vice chairman of the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission which operates Georgia Public Broadcasting, and was chairman of the Foundation for Public Broadcasting of Georgia, Inc.

He was involved with and led many civic organizations including hospital boards, Rotary Clubs and Red Cross organizations. After 18 years service, he was a Board of Director Emeritus of SunTrust Bank of Northwest Georgia.

McDougald came from a family who served the broadcast industry. One of his brothers, Donald McDougald, owned and operated radio stations in Georgia and Virginia, and another brother, Worth, was on the faculty of Grady College, serving as director of the Peabody Awards for nearly 30 years until his retirement in 1991. Michael, Donald and Worth were all inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, proudly housed on the second floor of Grady College.

McDougald’s obituary can be viewed here.

For additional features about McDougald’s legacy, please see the following:

Date: January 4, 2022
Author:  Sarah E. Freeman,  freemans@uga.edu