Telegraph sports columnist colleague and friend Bill Shanks just recently celebrated his 10th anniversary as host of “The Bill Shanks Show.”
During the past decade, he has worked in the Macon radio market, starting at Cumulus-owned 105.5 FM, where he spent his first two years. Then he moved over to Clear Channel’s WPLA AM for the next seven years, and for the past 10 months he has been found simulcasting at 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 in Warner Robins, which looks like a permanent home since he is part owner of the two stations.
If you listen to the Shanks show, you know that he is passionate about his alma mater, Georgia (most notably the Bulldogs football team), and Atlanta’s three professional sports franchises: the Falcons, Hawks and especially the Braves.
I find it interesting that Shanks’ favorite organization among that group is the Braves, more so than Georgia, which ranks second for him. I can think of no one who knows more about Atlanta’s NL team, from the minors to the majors, than Shanks. He has been a Braves fan since 1978 when at the age of 8, cable TV in the form of the SuperStation moved into his hometown of Waycross and brought with it the Atlanta Braves.
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Those were the days of broadcasters Ernie Johnson, Skip Caray and the professor, Pete Van Wieren, and Shanks was hooked. He began his broadcast career at WACL in Waycross at age 12 when he delivered the sports report for the station. He did high school basketball at age 13, high school football at age 15 and got his first talk show, a weekly, at age 16 for WWUF-FM. He was able to work his radio gig around a decorated high school baseball career at Southwood Academy, where he was a four-time all region and one time all-state performer as a pitcher/third baseman.
Shanks did his first two years of college at Waycross College before heading to Georgia, where he would graduate with a communications degree. He got his first “full time” paying position at WBSG, Channel 21 in Brunswick and stayed three years in the coastal Georgia city with that station. The 47-year-old Shanks has called Macon home since Jan. 1, 1996, when he left Brunswick to take over as the sports director at WGXA-TV, where he was seen daily for two years.
Since leaving the Macon Fox affiliate and starting his radio show, Shanks has also been closely aligned with the Braves and had several working relationships with them. From 2001-03, he hosted “The Braves Show” — a weekly minor league syndicated television program that focused on player development and aired throughout the Southeast. He worked for a year on the team’s postgame TV Show as well as another year on the pregame show and was part of a Braves internet program.
He also has written for numerous publications and also produced and hosted television programs about other sports, including the Falcons, Georgia, Georgia Tech and the Hawks. Shanks is an accomplished writer, and in addition to the two weekly columns he does for The Telegraph, he authored his first book in 2004, “Scout’s Honor: The Bravest way to building a winning team.”
He also keeps his hand in the Macon television market, hosting a Friday night high school football program in the fall for WMGT-TV. In addition, he provides sports reports twice weekly for that station.
As you can see Shanks stays busy and is in a league of his own. Wonder if he ever had time to visit Miller’s Cave in Waycross?
Contact Bobby Pope at firstname.lastname@example.org