Denis O'Hayer | WABE 90.1 FM

Denis O'Hayer

Host, Morning Edition

Denis O'Hayer, the host of Morning Edition, joined WABE in January, 2009 as host of All Things Considered and Marketplace.  Prior to that, Denis covered local affairs, politics and government for 11 years as a political reporter and public affairs program host for WXIA/11Alive.  In 2015, he was named to the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame.  The Georgia Association of Broadcasters selected him as its Broadcaster of the Year in 2014.

Although he has been with WABE since 2009, Denis has a much longer history with Public Broadcasting Atlanta.  He started as a pledge drive volunteer and host at PBA-30 in 1978.  Eventually, he began hosting PBA-30 specials on subjects ranging from the environment to the conflict in the Middle East.  In 1988, he began hosting a new show, The Layman’s Lawyer, a look at how the law affects everyday life.  It ran until 2004.  During that time, he also produced and hosted Atlanta This Week, a reporters’ roundtable, which ran from 1996 to 2001.  In 2012, he and Rose Scott, along with the PBA-30 team, won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for “How to Stop the Candy Shop,” a TV special on the fight against child sex trafficking in Atlanta.

O’Hayer began his career in radio in Connecticut in 1976 at WGCH-AM (Greenwich) followed by WELI-AM (New Haven). In 1978, his career led him to Atlanta where he accepted a position with WGST-AM/FM. O’Hayer worked at the station for more than 19 years in a variety of roles.  He hosted several news and public affairs programs; Counterpoint with Tom Houck and Dick Williams; Cover Your Assets, a consumer-oriented show; Lawn & Garden; The Home Show; and The Law Show.  From 1991 to 1997, O’Hayer hosted Sixty at Six, a daily, one-hour news and interview program. His broadcast career also includes on-air work with CNN’s Southeast Bureau and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Denis has long been involved in the Atlanta community.  His work includes service on the boards of Families First and the Atlanta Press Club, where he served as President, and continues to work on the Debate Committee.

Denis graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, with a degree in Spanish.  He and his wife Lisa live in Atlanta.

Ways to Connect

AP file

After months of listening to ads, robocalls, and door-to-door campaign volunteers, voters in Georgia's 6th Congressional District finally get to have their say.

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Al Such / WABE

At the beginning of 2017, Erika Shields became Atlanta's new police chief.  In her first three months on the job, she has emphasized that preventing violent crime is her priority.  Shields now leads a force where she has spent 22 years -- in jobs from beat patrols, to vice enforcement, to internal affairs, to deputy chief.

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Shields talked about her career, and her priorities, in a wide-ranging conversation with Denis O'Hayer on "Morning Edition."

 Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory was the main celebrant and homilist for the second annual Red Mass in 2007 at Sacred Heart Church, Atlanta.
Michael Alexander / Georgia Bulletin

As Christians began to observe Holy Week, the leader of the world's Catholics was preparing for a two-day visit to Egypt despite the recent deadly bombings at Christian churches there. Among other things, the April 28-29 visit by Pope Francis is aimed at further improving relations between the Catholic Church and the world's Muslims.

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Al Such

The Atlanta area has already seen scattered strong storms Wednesday morning, and the rest of the day will bring more of the same.  That means everyone needs to make preparations and take immediate cover if severe weather hits.  

On "Morning Edition," Denis O'Hayer got an update, and a look ahead, from Laura Belanger, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City.

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Al Such / WABE

Thursday is the final day – this year, anyway – for bills to pass in the state Legislature. With a deadline set at midnight, lawmakers will work through the day, and probably well into the night.

On "Morning Edition," Denis O'Hayer stopped by the State Capitol, where he talked with WABE's Johnny Kauffman and Elly Yu in an anteroom just off the House floor. The two reporters, who've covered this session from the beginning, gave a preview of what could happen to the high-profile bills still hanging in the balance.

David Tulis / Associated Press

Steen Miles has died at the age of 70. The cause of death was lung cancer, according to various media reports.

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Miles, an Indiana native, was a reporter at 11Alive from 1984 to 1999 in various roles both in front of and behind the camera.  

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

As U.S. House Republican leaders scrambled to win enough votes to pass their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), Georgia's Republican officeholders were still trying to find out how the plan would affect the state – especially its Medicaid program.  

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The House Republican healthcare plan has been met with derision and skepticism from politicians and the public alike.
J. Scott Applewhite, File / Associated Press

Top Georgia Republicans so far have been fairly quiet about the plan from U.S. House Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare).

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Al Such / WABE

This week, a federal judge in Hawaii temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's revised order on travel and immigration.  The renewed legal battle comes at a time when Atlanta area religious leaders are working out their messages to their congregations, about the president's order--and about immigration in general.

On the day the judge in Hawaii issued the temporary block on the president's order, WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Atlanta Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory at the archdiocese office in Smyrna.

Al Such / WABE

As U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a trip to Asia this week, the emerging nuclear threat posed by North Korea will likely be a major subject of his talks in Japan, South Korea, and China. 

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However, Russia remains the U.S. adversary with the largest nuclear capability by far, and the chance of a conflict with Russia--especially one caused by lack of communication--continues to worry former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn.  

Former Senator Sam Nun of Georgia talks in his downtown Atlanta office.
Al Such / WABE

This week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a trip to Asia, with scheduled visits to Japan, South Korea, and China.  Tensions have increased in the a region after North Korea recently conducted new tests of missiles, which North Korea says could carry nuclear warheads.

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Branden Camp / Associated Press file

At the state Capitol in Atlanta, and in the nation's capital, it was a busy week, to say the least.  

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U.S. House Republicans unveiled their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act; Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal said he might look at a revised version of the "campus carry" bill he vetoed last year; and a stampede of candidates from both parties charged into the final weeks of campaigning for the 6th District U.S. House seat.

U.S. House Republican leaders have launched a drive to push their new healthcare bill through House committees.  

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The measure, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), has run into pushback from some Republicans who claim it doesn't go far enough.  

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Atlanta United F.C. kicks off its first season of Major League Soccer on Sunday at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium, with a match against the New York Red Bulls.

In the past, Atlanta has had not one, but two, teams in America’s top soccer leagues. Both were called the Chiefs – the first Chiefs even won a title – but both fizzled out. So what makes us think the sport will take off this time around in Atlanta?

Al Such / WABE

The nation's new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, recently faced a storm of criticism, after she issued a statement, in which she hailed historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as "real pioneers when it comes to school choice."

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Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Last Friday, Sierra Club members held a rally in downtown Atlanta.  They were there to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while voicing their opposition to its new chief.  

The U.S. Senate recently confirmed President Trump's nominee, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. During his time in Oklahoma, Pruitt fought against EPA regulations, often in consultation with energy firms, as revealed in recently-released emails.

Among his targets:  President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which Pruitt has promised to scrap.

Jeff Roberson / Associated Press

This week, an internal fight among Democrats about the future of their party culminated in Atlanta, with the election of a new party chair.  Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress were trying to decide whether to hold town hall meetings in their districts -- meetings that might be filled with voters who are angry about the policies of the new Trump administration.

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John Bazemore / Associated Press

On Feb. 21, the state Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, approved Georgia Power's request for an additional $141 million in expenses related to the construction of new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.  

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Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, speaking with Denis O'Hayer at the WABE studios on February 17, 2017.
Denis O'Hayer / WABE News

As President Donald Trump prepares a revised version of his executive order on travel and immigration, he continues to promise tougher enforcement against people who are in the country illegally. Earlier this months, ICE raids in Georgia resulted in 87 arrests.

A school bus in front of the Georgia Capitol
Alison Guillory / WABE

In early February, Gov. Nathan Deal sent lawmakers his latest plan to turn around failing schools in Georgia. The governor had promised the new proposal, after his Opportunity School District (OSD, sometimes called the "school takeover" plan) was rejected by the state's voters last November.

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Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Late on Monday, the Washington Post was the first to report that former Atlanta U.S. Attorney Sally Yates warned Trump administration officials that then-national security advisor Michael Flynn had not told the truth about the nature of his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.

Al Such / WABE

As if the dizzying rush of events in Washington were not enough, Atlanta area politics have gone through a frenzied week, too.  

Mayor Kasim Reed held a news conference and released more than a million pages of documents relating to the City Hall bribery scandal; airport officials tried to assess the possible impact of President Donald Trump's travel order (if it's upheld by the courts); and gun rights advocates brought "campus carry" legislation back to the State Capitol.

Al Such / WABE

As Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed prepared for a news conference about the developing bribery scandal at City Hall, one big question dominated everything else: who took money in exchange for city contract awards? The Reed administration is releasing more than a million pages of documents related to the case.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

So, the Falcons lost the Super Bowl.  But, at least they got there.  Still, did their amazing season give anything more than a psychological lift to folks around here? Perhaps, an economic jolt?  

According to Kennesaw State University sports economist J.C. Bradbury, there are studies that suggest local economies do improve when their sports teams start to do better.  But, on "Morning Edition," Bradbury told Denis O'Hayer the studies didn't find any major jumps.  

Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates listens while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

It was a dizzying week in Georgia politics. Leaders from the state – and from both sides of the aisle – played central roles in the ongoing battles in Washington. Meanwhile, Atlanta's City Hall was engulfed by a developing scandal involving bribes, just as Mayor Kasim Reed delivered his final State of the City address. Business owner Elvin "E.R." Mitchell pled guilty to federal conspiracy charges in January; this week, the mayor agreed to release more than a million pages of documents related to the case.

Mary Kate MacIsaac / CARE

On Jan. 27, hours after President Donald Trump signed his executive order on travel and immigration, the president and CEO of Atlanta-based CARE posted a statement sharply criticizing the order.  

Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

The Atlanta area city of Clarkston, has become famous for its large and diverse refugee community.  So of course, one might expect President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration would raise personal concerns among families there.  But Clarkston's mayor says there are economic worries in the community, too.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) during a hearing at the Senate Finance Committee, May, 2013.
Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

In a statement released early Monday afternoon, Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson criticized the process by which the Trump administration issued its travel order, without specifically questioning its motives.

On Sunday, Isakson declined a request for an interview. The statement, sent to WABE on Monday by Isakson's press office, says:

Pixabay Images

Why would President Donald Trump attack the validity of an election that he – and Republicans in Georgia and nationwide – won?  That's the question on the mind of Republican strategist Brian Robinson.  He's a former deputy chief of staff and communications director for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.

In a conversation with Denis O'Hayer on "Morning Edition," Robinson talked about the effects the President's claims might have on Georgia's top voting official, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp.  

Alison Guillory / WABE

Supporters of legalizing casino gambling in Georgia are introducing legislation to do just that.  

The proposed constitutional amendment – and a companion bill to outline how and where casinos would operate – call for the state to put some of the money it would collect from casinos into the HOPE scholarship program.  Another share of the state's take would go to a plan for scholarships based on need.