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OUR VIEW: Sad to see Radio Hall of Fame go

We were saddened to hear Monday that the Georgia Radio Museum will be leaving LaGrange.

After a bit of a rocky start, it felt like the hall of fame had found its footing locally.

It seems like just yesterday that John Long was in our office, providing information about this hall of fame that we knew little about and his hopes of bringing it to Troup County.

When we first met Long, he and his wife had moved the museum from St. Mary’s and were looking for a permanent home. LaGrange, Long’s hometown where he got his start in radio, seemed like the perfect fit, so the couple moved here hoping to find a solution.

The Troup County Archives’ Legacy Museum gave the radio museum a temporary home so that everyone could take a sneak peek at what the museum had to offer.

Eventually, in July 2019, the hall of fame found the museum a home on Lincoln Street. That seemed like a big bright spot, but unfortunately, roughly a year later, the museum has had to permanently close its doors.

It’s hard to say how much COVID-19 played a factor, but it’s hard to imagine the pandemic didn’t impact the museum’s long-term outlook. It’s been closed since March due to the pandemic and didn’t reopen.

Long cited the lack of support from the community, but we think it’s more complicated than that.

You can’t meet Long and not instantly feel the passion he has for radio.

He and Sam Hale started the radio hall of fame in 2007, wanting a way to honor the best of the best from around the state.

And although the hall of fame has hundreds of members, all of the work is completed by volunteers.

And although we don’t know most of those volunteers personally, we think it’s fair to say that Long and his wife were putting a large amount of the work on their own shoulders.

That included keeping the museum operating and putting together the annual Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Awards. 

That’s a tall task for anyone, and it’s clear both the radio hall of fame — which has more of a virtual presence — and the museum itself will need more people with passion for radio to step forward and play a large role.

The museum needs financial backing and a way to market to a general public who loves radio, but may not have the same level of passion that Long and the other members of the hall of fame do. 

Long said the museum will possibly reopen at a new location in the future, but nothing is a done deal yet.

Wherever it re-emerges, we do hope to see the museum reopen soon and keep the history of radio alive.

We hate that it couldn’t be sustained in LaGrange, but perhaps there is a better home elsewhere.