Herb Emory left his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for Atlanta in 1971. He was armed with a third-class FCC license he obtained while doing some part-time work during high school at the 1000-watt station in Brevard. He had started sweeping the floors and emptying the trash at WPNF when he was in the sixth grade.
His first assignment in the Atlanta School of Broadcasting was to intern with Skinny Bobby Harper during his morning show at WIIN 97. Emory’s duties for Skinny Bobby included listening to WSB Radio’s Merry-Go-Round program to gather traffic and weather information. Twenty years later Emory would find himself in the WSB Skycopter Lounge.
The stops along the way to Newstalk 750 WSB included; WSNE (Cumming), WDGL (Douglasville), WFOM (Marietta), WACX (Austell), Georgia Network News and WQXI/94-Q/Star 94.
He has earned at least 15 First Place Awards, including two Green Eyeshades, for news and traffic reports from the Georgia Associated Press Assoc. and other media organizations. He served as President of the GAPBA in 1990/91.
Emory (aka Jason Woodside) did a midday jock shift, reported news and served as morning drive sidekick with Georgia Radio Hall of Famer Hugh Baby Jarrett at WFOM.
His 12 years at WQXI/94-Q/Star 94 included on-air work with Gary McKee, Don Kennedy, Larry Munson, JJ Jackson, Chris Morgan, Gary Corry and others. He was working as traffic reporter for The Steve and Vickki Show when he made the move to 750 AM and now 95.5 FM Newstalk WSB.
Emory joined McKee’s Hometown Radio Show at WSB in 1991. Capt. Herb watches over the interstates during the week (working both AM and PM Drive shifts) and hosts special traffic and NASCAR broadcast programs with his wife Karen.
A perfect Georgia night gave WSB's Captain Herb Emory a sight he swears he will never forget. It was predawn and Emory was in a helicopter a few thousand feet over Atlanta. As he has since 1986, he was getting ready to go on the air with his early morning traffic reports. Off to the southeast of the city he witnessed the launch of the space shuttle from Cape Canaveral in Florida. He says he could see the flames from the thrusters as the shuttle climbed into space and for 20 minutes afterward the exhaust trail was visible to the naked eye. Emory says he's had the privilege to witness a launch from Kennedy Space Center but the view from 500 miles away was somehow more impressive.
It was a strange coincidence that put Emory above Atlanta the morning of the shuttle launch. A native of Brevard, North Carolina, Emory fondly remembers going to his father's bowling league nights while he was growing up. The bowling alley was next-door to the small town radio station. He hung around the station and bugged the jocks enough until they gave him work like emptying the garbage and sorting AP copy. After finishing high school he headed straight for Atlanta where he attended the Atlanta School of Broadcasting and National School of Broadcasting.
His father was a volunteer pit crew member for Ralph Earnhardt, Dale Sr.’s dad, in the 1960s. Traveling to the racetracks in the Southeast gave Emory an insiders advantage for covering NASCAR racing for newspapers and radio.
In addition to flying over "Hotlanta" on a daily basis, Captain Herb hosted and produced the WSB Speed Shop auto racing from 1993 until 2011. His parents took him to races since he was a year old and he's a lifelong fan of the sport. Jason “Banjo” Durden and Doug “Fireball” Turnbull were regular contributors to the Speed Shop racing news program and still are part of the team during the special broadcasts now.
Emory works a split shift reporting traffic for morning and afternoon commuters. He says working a split shift makes it seem like he's going to work 10 times a week. He admits that the long days are the only drawback to a job he loves.
www.captainherb.net He says the site is meant to be an information portal for fans as well as a public service for young drivers.
From the skies over Atlanta, Captain Emory has seen some strange things. He's seen inspiring heroism as rescue personnel and regular people struggle to save a victim of a horrific wreck, and examples of spectacular stupidity as people tried to pick up beanie babies off the highway that fell off a truck. He won't be moving from the "best office in town" anytime soon, but the "best office in town" will keep moving over Atlanta.
Captain Herb serves on the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Board of Directors and on the Friends of Sweetwater Creek State Park Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Douglas County Animal Control Advisory Board.
He was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the inaugural Excellence in Motorsports Journalism Award in 2012.
Contact Captain Herb Emory at 404-897-6296 or email him here.