Atlanta, GA – December 22, 2020: The Georgia Association of Broadcasters, which represents the interest of over 500 radio and television stations across the state, is proud to announce the selection of the following broadcasters into our Hall of Fame:
Maria Boynton- Entercom Atlanta
Dr. Maria Boynton is the News & Public Affairs Director for Entercom Media Atlanta. In that role, Maria supervises the news and traffic reporters for V103, WAOK, and 929TheGame. She also oversees all Public Affairs programming for Entercom station Star94.1. Maria is also the Morning News Anchor for V103 and WAOK, and the host of Atlanta Up Close. She joined Entercom, formerly CBS Radio Atlanta, following 20 years of covering presidential campaigns, and the Georgia General Assembly for several years. Her experience has matured in some of the country’s major media and broadcast markets. Maria professionally delivers well-produced broadcasts and utilizes social media by contributing stories and videos of interviews with newsmakers. Her video interview with Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall about the “Decriminalization of Marijuana” was featured on Essence.com. The Nancy Grace program “Crime Stories” on SiriusXM has utilized Maria as a reporter. Boynton also produces, edits, and anchors long-form segments for Public Affairs programming on V103, WAOK, Star 94.1, and 92.9 The Game.
Maria received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia. A Speech and Theater major, Boynton’s talents are displayed in the Netflix documentary “Seeing Allred”, Chad Lawson Cooper’s Justice On Trial: The Movie 2020, the Off Broadway production of Cooper’s Justice On Trial: The Play, and in Stepp Stewart’s production of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize winner “’night, Mother”.
Maria has also received a Doctor (H) of Philosophy and Humane Letters degree from Trinity International University of Ambassadors.
Maria is a frequent MC/Host for charity events including the Lupus Foundation of America-Georgia Chapter, the National Kidney Foundation, and the American Cancer Society.
Boynton began her journalism career in Albany, Georgia as a radio news anchor. She has worked at WOR Radio and WCBS Radio, both in New York City, and at stations in New Jersey, Columbus, Georgia, and Atlanta, Georgia.
Before joining Entercom Radio Atlanta, Maria spent more than a decade at the CNN Radio Network as a Supervising Producer, Coordinating Producer, and news anchor. There, she also wrote and produced long-form programming, and supervised a staff of anchors, reporters, and editors.
Maria has collected some of the biggest honors in her field, including two Peabody Awards and two DuPont Awards for collaborative efforts. She has received various Associated Press Awards in Georgia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. She has received an Atlanta Association of Black Journalists Award, and while at CNN, was nominated for a National Association of Black Journalists’ Award of Excellence, along with Soledad O’Brien, for the CNN Radio version of Black in America.
Maria is recipient of a Resolution by the Georgia House of Representatives for her career and community contributions. She was also honored as an International Trailblazer. She has also been named among Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence by the Atlanta Business League. She is a member of the National Kidney Foundation Advisory Board. Maria recently completed her second term as President of the DeKalb County Alumni Chapter of Albany State University.
Boynton has dedicated her career to community service, advocating for financial assistance for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Maria is the recipient of three Alumnus of the Year awards from the Albany State University National Alumni Association. The organization has also awarded Maria its Community Service Award multiple times. She is a former Executive Board Member (Secretary) of the Albany State University National Alumni Association.
It was at ASU that Maria was inducted into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
She has also received honors from the Consolidated Government of Columbus, Georgia, and the Columbus Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Sanders Hickey- Golden Isles Broadcasting
Sanders Hickey is a forty-six-year broadcast veteran, having owned and/or managed numerous Radio stations in Georgia, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Sanders is a partner in holding companies which own and operate FM and AM Radio stations in Coastal Georgia and Southeast Texas.
His career began in 1974 as an on-air personality in Columbus, Georgia. From there, he was a program director and was on the air in Athens, Atlanta, Macon (GA), as well as Texas and Florida.
In 1982, he successfully applied for an FM Construction Permit to establish a new FM station in Wichita Falls (TX), which he owned and operated until the station sold five years later.
From 1987-1993, Sanders served as Southeastern Regional Vice President of Radio Station Services for The Arbitron (Ratings) Company, where he administered to the sales and marketing of its radio audience ratings products and services to 350+ radio station clients in forty-six Radio markets in the Southeast United States.
From 1993 to 1998, he, was an owner, President and Chief Operating Officer of Southern Broadcasting Companies, Inc., an Athens, Georgia-based holding company, which owned and operated nine radio stations in Georgia and Florida.
For the past twenty years, Sanders remains Operating Partner of Golden Isles Broadcasting, which owns three FM stations in Brunswick/St. Simons Island, Sea Island, GA, as well as HEH Communications, which owns three FM stations in suburban North Houston, Texas.
Sanders is an active participant, lecturer and supporter of the National Radio Talent System’s “GAB Radio Talent Institute,” conducted annually at The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at The University of Georgia, in Athens.
Hickey has served as the Chairman of The Board of Directors of The Georgia Association of Broadcasters (1997-1998) and continues to serve as an active member of that state association’s Board of Directors. He is a 2019 Inductee into The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Additionally, he is a member of The National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau.
He has been an invited guest speaker/lecturer at various Southeastern broadcast organizations, as well as for various broadcast management courses at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as The Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of Georgia.
He and his wife, Karen, are residents of The Georgia Club, in Statham, Georgia, a bedroom community of Athens.
Bill Nigut- Georgia Public Broadcasting
Bill Nigut has been a program host and producer at Georgia Public Broadcasting since November 2013. He is host and executive producer of Political Rewind, a political roundtable show featuring some of Georgia’s best-informed insiders weighing in on the big state and national political stories. Political Rewind airs each Monday – Friday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on GPB Radio.
He began working as a producer of a nightly news talk show in 1971. Over the course of the next twelve years he went on to become a public relations manager for Chicago’s NBC affiliate WMAQ, an investigative producer, daily news coverage manager, and an on-air reporter for ABC affiliate WLS-TV.
In the fall of 1983 Bill made his way to Georgia. By 1985 he was named a full-time state and national political reporter. In his twenty years of working with WSB-TV, Bill covered five presidential campaigns, following candidates from Iowa to New Hampshire and to primary states across the country.
Bill traveled to Washington DC to cover the White House and Capitol Hill whenever major national news stories broke, reported on every Presidential nominating convention from 1984 to 2000, and covered 19 sessions of the Georgia General Assembly.
Throughout his career as a political reporter, Bill has aimed to be fair minded and straight forward. From covering 19 sessions of the Georgia Assembly, reporting on presidential campaigns, to producing and hosting Political Rewind, Bill’s drive for journalistic integrity, and his willingness to embrace new points of view is clear. His dedication and passion for reporting has established him as one of the region’s most respected journalists.
Estelle Parsley- WRDW
Estelle Parsley never expected to be in Augusta for 32 years. Then again, she never expected to be a news director, either.
In 1986, she was a business major at Fayetteville Community College suffocated by the weight of an impending career she had no desire to enter. She needed a breath of fresh air, and found it at WKFT. The small station in the Fayetteville-Raleigh-Durham market agreed to let her “hang out.” They called it an internship, but Estelle was not getting college credit for any of her time there. The newsroom became her classroom, and a journalist was born. She spent more hours at the station than just about every paid employee, and quickly made herself an invaluable member of the team. She became so valuable, the news director convinced her to work for him. He told her to forget about college, so she did. She was more than happy to kick business to the curb so she could begin her career in “the business.”
After working as a reporter for two years at WKFT, Estelle was ready for a new challenge. She found that challenge at WRDW in Augusta. In February of 1988, she was offered a job at News 12 that included anchoring and producing the weekend newscasts and reporting three days a week. She was thrilled to be able to try on so many hats because at that point, she had no idea which one would fit her best. After a couple of years, she discovered she was most comfortable in a producer role, but the station thought otherwise. Management believed her strength was on the anchor desk, so her news director kept promoting her. First, it was the newly added 5 p.m. newscast. She was excited to launch a new Monday through Friday newscast, especially because she would also be the one producing it. However, then she started anchoring the 6 and 11 p.m. too, all while working part-time reporting the news for WKXC, Kicks 99 FM. By this time, her many hats were starting to give her a headache. It was time for a change.
Estelle was beginning to feel chained to the anchor desk…much like she was chained to the burden of the business degree she’s still glad she cut free. It was time she used the experience of all her experience and throw it into management.
Even though Estelle never returned to college, she has returned to the classroom many times to continue her education. Estelle was awarded a fellowship by the Carol Kneeland Project for Responsible Journalism in its 2003 News Director program. A year later she was asked to serve on its national Board of Directors, a role she continues today. She also received one of just three nationwide Broadcast News Management Fellowships from the McCormick Foundation in 2009. Of the three selected, Estelle was the only one chosen who was not working at the network level. Estelle, however, hasn’t just been a student. In 2004, she became a facilitator for the Radio and Television News Director’s National News Leadership Program. She is a past president (1999-2000) of the Georgia Associated Press. In her career at News 12, she’s also been a teacher. She has trained hundreds of journalists now working in markets all over the country. She’s a former Broadcaster-in-Residence at the College of Journalism at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, giving students the opportunity to learn directly from an experienced news director. Estelle also co-founded the videography program at Augusta Technical College and through the Asian American Journalists Association, has provided mentoring to aspiring young journalists. Estelle has served on the Television & Cinema Advisory Board at Georgia Regents University-Augusta, formerly known as Augusta State University. Estelle is a frequent guest speaker in a number of classrooms at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and has developed an internship program at News 12 that has helped countless students learn even more of what she so enthusiastically teaches. Estelle is also an active member of the community she calls home. For years, she has worked with the Children’s Miracle Network to help raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. The Central Savannah River Council of Girl Scouts named her a “Woman of Excellence” for leadership and having “the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in presenting the news.” Estelle has also served on the Augusta Mayor’s Task Force on Drug & Alcohol Abuse and was named “Advocate of the Year” by the Augusta Office of Adult Literacy. Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis even proclaimed her 30th Anniversary at WRDW as “Estelle Parsley Day” in Augusta.
Tommy Palmer (In Memoriam)- Georgia High School Scoreboard Radio Show
“Once again we had a record number of submissions this year with voting being closer than ever,” said GAB President, Bob Houghton, “I want to thank our committee for their diligence in selecting yet another outstanding class of broadcasters and everyone who took the time to submit nominations. We are hopeful that we will be able to host an in-person event to properly honor each of these inductees later on in the year.”
Due to the pandemic, the GAB has not yet set a time and date for the annual Hall of Fame Luncheon. Please continue to check this page as well as the GAB newsletter and social media outlets for updates on this event.
The Georgia Association of Broadcasters (GAB) is the trade association that represents the interests of Georgia’s over-the-air radio and television licensees who reach more than 95% of Georgia’s population every week. Our membership is comprised of more than 250 radio and television broadcasters. GAB provides technical, regulatory, and advocacy support to our members as well as offering continuing professional enrichment opportunities designed to keep Georgia broadcasters at the forefront of the industry.
Media Contact: McKenzie Lewis
Director of Digital Media and Communications