Meet the Staff
Daniel moved to Lavonia from Knoxville, Tennessee in 2006 to accept the position of VP/General Manager of 92.1 WLHR “Lake Hartwell Radio.” A 1998 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Daniel majored in broadcasting with a double minor in history and political science.
Daniel has had a passion for radio practically since birth, and he has never wavered in his determination to learn every aspect of the business so he can one day achieve his dream of owning one or more of his own stations. He officially began his career in radio December 20, 1994 as a deejay working at the University of Tennesse campus radio station, WUTK-FM. As Daniel says, “It was simple. All of the regular student jocks went home for Christmas break. The program director needed somebody to fill in, and I was just about the only person willing to do it. The rest is history.”
Daniel went on to work for a series of stations including WUTK-AM, WIVK-AM/FM, WKVL-AM/FM, WGAP-AM, WLOD-AM, WKTS-FM, WKZX-FM & WLIL-AM, WRMX-FM & WTXM-FM, WJXB-FM, and WSNW-AM.
Daniel’s educational and professional background in radio makes him the perfect choice for the job. Since going on the air in 2008, Daniel remains committed to making WLHR-FM a station Franklin and Hart County citizens are proud to call their own.
His dedication shows: Daniel won the 2008 Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting “Radiocaster of the Year” Award for excellence in station format and delivery. Daniel lead the station to win a Merit Award from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters for “best commercial” in a small market in 2010. In 2011, under Daniel’s leadership, WLHR-FM won a GABBY award, 2 Merit Awards, and the highly-coveted Small Market Station of the Year Award from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters for the entire state of Georgia.
WLHR-FM was also named the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Bruce Knighton Business of the Year for 2011. WLHR-FM also won several GABBY & Merit Awards in 2012. Finally, WLHR-FM won The Hart County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award in 2013.
Daniel has served on the Lavonia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Franklin County United Way, the Lavonia Downtown Development Authority, and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.
Daniel and his wife Emily live in Baldwin. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys growing palm trees, visiting other radio station transmitter sites, listening to music, community service, swimming, and playing with the family pets, a miniature dachshund named Vivian Pickles and a cat named Cracker. Email Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael “Porkchop” Branch
Michael “Porkchop” Branch is a 1998 graduate of the Radio and Television Broadcasting program at Tri County Technical College in Pendleton, SC. He was named the top RTV student in his graduating class.
“Porkchop” worked at WRIX-AM and FM and WANS-AM in Anderson, SC from 1998-2013, where he served as the General Manager as well as the morning show host.
He is the recipient of numerous STAR awards for commercial production from the SC Broadcasters Association.
“Chop” also plays bass with bluegrass group Tugalo Holler. They have been playing around the region since 2001. They have shared the stage with country star John Anderson, The Dillards (aka The Darlings from “The Andy Griffith Show”). www.tugaloholler.com
“Porkchop” and his wife Connie have been married since 1999 and live near the shores of Lake Hartwell. Email Porkchop at Porkchop@gacaradio.com.
Senior News Director
MJ has previously worked for Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting’s sister station, WNEG-AM in Toccoa, as news director and as bureau chief for WPPR, a Georgia Public Broadcasting station in Demorest.
A graduate of Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL with a degree in Broadcast Communications, MJ originally came to Atlanta in 1985 to work at CNN, where she spent over nine years as a writer and producer in Headline News, Business News, and CNN International. She has also worked for WGCL-TV, CBS Atlanta, as a senior writer/associate producer, and at a former Moody Broadcasting radio station in Atlanta, WAFS-AM, as their news director.
In addition to her years in broadcast journalism, MJ also worked in corporate communications for WorldCom, Inc. (now Verizon, Inc.) in Atlanta in their Marketing Communications division, and as the communications director for the National Franchisee Association before moving to Northeast Georgia in 2002. She is also a freelance journalist and has published articles in several magazines and newspapers.
“I love reporting local news,” she said. “It’s the information needed where people live, every day. And for that reason, I believe it is every bit as important as state or national news.”
MJ has received awards from the Georgia Association of Broadcasting (GABBY Award) and from the Associated Press for documentaries she wrote and produced. She has been on the board of several rescue shelters and humane societies. MJ is responsible for all newscasts on 92.1 WLHR, reporting local news for Franklin and Hart counties, as well as regional and state news. Email her at: email@example.com.
She worked for Marriott Hotels in Orlando and Charlotte before moving to Raleigh where she worked as on-site Manager for Manpower and Headway Corporate Staffing for 8 years.
After moving back to Georgia in 1994, she worked for The Hartwell Sun in advertising sales before joining the WLHR team. Sales comes naturally for Susan, as she rarely meets a stranger. People in the community know her by her red Volkswagen convertible, her witty sense of humor, and very free spirit!
She and her husband of 22 years have 3 beautiful boys, Gus, Barney and Huckleberry Hound. Yes, the 4-legged variety of Bassett Hound! They live on the lake in Hartwell, love to boat with their boys, and are HUGE Carolina Panther fans! Email Susan at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistant News Director
Buddy Hardigree from Winder, Georgia is a 1982 graduate of Columbia School of Broadcasting. He began his Broadcasting career at WIMO Radio in Winder, Georgia. He began as the voice of the afternoon show and later became News Director, Prorgram Director and assistant manager. He’s done sports play by play for Winder-Barrow High School and Jackson County High School and produced the Region 8 Sports Report on youtube.
He moved on to WGAU in Athens where he settled in for a few years, then worked in voice overs and video production at WBTV, a cable access TV station in Winder. Buddy most recently worked at WDUN in Gainsville. Buddy is the father of 3 “kids” ages 19, 27, and 29. Contact Buddy at E-mail address email@example.com . He now calls Hartwell home and spends his spare time on the golf course. “Fore”.
Andrew has lived here in Martin, Georgia for his entire life. He has had a passion for radio ever since 92.1 WLHR came to town when he met the staff out at the Lavonia Christmas parade in 2008. Andrew began listening to WLHR frequently and getting to know the staff which would eventually lead him to working there years later.
Andrew is a 2016 graduate of Stephens County High School. He is also the go to guy for production at the station. He is responsible for most of the ads you hear played on the radio. Whenever our staff needs something voiced or produced for a commercial, Andrew will usually do whatever it takes to get it ready for air.
In Andrew’s free time he is busy hosting a syndicated radio show that is heard coast to coast. Andrew has been doing some form of radio since 2013. He is so addicted to the studio life that he also records audiobooks from his home studio.
Andrew is an avid fan of classic country music. He says, “The new stuff just doesn’t speak to you like the classics do.” He always incorporates classic country in his Sunday Morning Gospel Request Show heard every Sunday from 10:00AM- 10:30AM. He loves speaking to the listeners of the station and playing their requests every Sunday. Andrew enjoys meeting the great listeners at the community remotes with WLHR. If you haven’t met him yet, come by our booth sometime. Email Andrew at: firstname.lastname@example.org