Radio host Billy Burrell retires after seven decades on the air

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A beloved Northeast Georgia radio personality is preparing to leave the airwaves for one last time. WCON’s Billy Burrell announced today that he is retiring after 71 years in radio. Burrell’s latest program airs Friday, July 1.

Burrell began his broadcasting career with WLET in Toccoa in 1951. Eight years later, his prerecorded gospel show, Sunshine Melodies, began airing on WCON in Cornelia. In 1965 Burrell joined the staff of WCON as a morning announcer and has been with the station ever since. Over the years, his soothing tone, local charm and inspiring spirit have won him legions of fans. His gospel show also made broadcasting history as the longest-running weekday radio show—hosted by the same person—in North America.

The respect and loyalty Burrell engendered was evident in 2020 when lawmakers and locals stopped by the station to wish him a happy 90th birthday. Now, at 92, this radio host and ordained minister will finally be able to sleep after waking up at 3:30 a.m.

End of an era

WCON shared the news of Burrell’s retirement in a heartfelt tribute on social media. The station recognized Burrell for the thousands of lives he had, his professionalism and his dedication.

“We can truly say that Billy Burrell is one of the most caring, loyal and dedicated people we have ever known. His desire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ is just as strong today as he was. was the day he first signed on,” the post read.

He goes on to say, “We’ve had the honor of working alongside Billy for many years, and he can never be replaced. Several generations got up each morning for his ‘wake-up call’ and helped him let the animals out as he ‘opened the barn door’, and oh what a thrill when he announced that school had been canceled in because of the snow!”

“Brother Billy, even though you are leaving us, we know that God still has work for you to do, and we are delighted to see how He will use you.”

Burrell’s final show will air from 5:30-6:00 this Friday, July 1 on WCON 93.3FM.

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