Hometown Hero--E. Larry McDuffie - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/14/07

Hometown Hero--E. Larry McDuffie

E. Larry McDuffie retired Friday after 30 years of providing guidance to listeners on his morning word hip radio show. E. Larry McDuffie retired Friday after 30 years of providing guidance to listeners on his morning word hip radio show.

SAVANNAH, GA--For generations of Savannahians, E. Larry McDuffie has been the voice of sunrise, his early morning worship show joy in the morning as much a guide to their life as a start of their day.

His spiritual wisdom has inspired, motivated and educated families, who beginning Monday will surely feel the void created by McDuffie's retirement today, 30 years the day after his first show on WSOK.

"Think about it, for 30 years, I've been coming into some of their homes,'' said McDuffie. "This is the voice that has come into their homes. Grandmothers raised their children and their children raised their children ... I talked with a listener the other morning, Monday morning, five generations have been listening to joy in the morning.''

A school teacher when he agreed to do the morning show on WAOK for two weeks, McDuffie became the ultimate substitute.

He spent 28 years in the school system, being named teacher of the year three times. But the member of the Savannah Gospel Music Hall of Fame was recruited into radio because of his musical background.

Before joining WSOK, McDuffie formed the Savannah Community Choir, which recorded more than a dozen albums and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1977, earning him a trip to the ceremony in Los Angeles.

"I saw Barbra Streisand, Lou Rawls, all these big stars in one room'' McDuffie sais, "I thought I had died and gone to heaven - riding in a limousine - it's a different world, the music world. I said, this is how people live. And I've been trying to get back ever since.''

Instead, he settled into a much more grounded role right here in the city he moved to at the age of 1, touching, shaping and empowering listeners with morning conversation that was always much more than words.

And that's what makes E. Larry McDuffie a WTOC Hometown Hero.

 Reported by: Tim Guidera, tguidera@wtoc.com - Read more of Tim's stories here.

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