Following World War II, Hugh Edward Holder became a staff announcer at CBS in New York for such radio shows as Lowell Thomas’ news broadcasts and early TV shows that featured Mike Wallace, Douglas Edwards, Mel Torme, and Perry Como. His commanding voice was also heard on CBS Television’s Playhouse 90 and Edward R. Murrow’s legendary See It Now broadcasts.
In 1958 Holder bought WNAO in Raleigh, N.C., and redubbed it WKIX, The Giant of the South, a 10,000 watt operation that became the state’s first Top 40 station. Under his guidance he owned and managed the station until it was sold to Southern Broadcasting in the late 1960’s. He also co-owned WYMB in Myrtle Beach, sometimes referred to as the birthplace of beach music, and WPDQ (with Henderson Belk) in Jacksonville, FL.
Holder acquired Lakeland’s WLAK in 1971 and changed it to Top 40 WQPD. He made Lakeland his home until 1979 when he sold the station to a group of local business people headed by his sales manager, Bob Kelly. In the 80’s he owned an FM in Lake City (FL) which, oddly enough, also carried the WQPD call letters.
But it was clear WKIX was the shining star in Holder’s radio career. Some big radio names worked there during its Top 40 glory years – including Rick Dees (of “Disco Duck” fame), musician and TV host John Tesh, Charlie Brown, Jack Kane, Bob Jones, Russ Spooner, and Gary Edens.
Those who worked for him called him the “silver-haired fox with a voice like God.” – among other things. Hugh Holder passed away in 1997 at the age of 77 in Greensboro, N.C.
1971 - 1979 WQPD-AM 1430 - Lakeland (Management)