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

Ian Palmer / WABE

Republican Karen Handel's victory in the 6th Congressional District runoff sparked several days of finger-pointing among Democrats who had hoped Jon Ossoff could flip a House seat that had been in GOP hands for decades.

Ian Palmer / WABE

Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in the June 20 runoff election to succeed Tom Price as the member of Congress from Georgia’s 6th District.  Handel’s margin of victory surprised many political observers and pollsters, who had predicted a neck-and-neck race.

For a look at the factors that contributed to the result, WABE’s Denis O’Hayer spoke with Professor Kerwin Swint on Morning Edition.  Swint chairs the political science department at Kennesaw State University.

Al Such and Kaitlin Kolarik / WABE

No doldrums early this summer in Georgia politics!  With early voting already underway, and election day looming on June 20, the two candidates in the 6th Congressional District runoff are preparing for the next phase: at least two key debates.  

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(One of those debates will be on June 8 on WABE & PBA-30).  Meanwhile, the state's Republican party prepares to elect its next chairman at a weekend convention in Augusta.

Al Such / WABE

Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel barely made it out of the crowded April 18 special election to replace Tom Price as the U.S. House member from Georgia's 6th Congressional District.  But, in the weeks since, the Republican has waged a close battle with Democrat Jon Ossoff, who finished first in April.  The two face each other in a runoff June 20.  Their contest has become the most expensive U.S. House race ever.

Al Such / WABE

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff nearly won the April 18 special election to replace Tom Price as the U.S. House member from Georgia's 6th Congressional District.  Now, he faces Republican Karen Handel in the June 20 runoff in a district that has been solidly Republican for years.  

On "Morning Edition," Denis O'Hayer talked with Ossoff about a wide range of issues, including reports of President Donald Trump disclosing classified information to Russian officials; healthcare reform; and whether Ossoff could take the independent course he has promised if he were elected.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Last month, Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed the First Priority Act, his latest plan to improve the performance of chronically-struggling schools in the state.  The measure offers state resources and assistance to those schools — many of which are in the Atlanta area — but it also raises some questions about how it will work, and who will pay for it.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press file

Even in a world that is now accustomed to big surprises, it was a dizzying week in politics.

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President Donald Trump, who had just visited the Atlanta area to support Karen Handel's 6th Congressional District campaign, abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey. 

That event, in turn, could affect the close battle for the seat left vacant by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price -- at least according to political strategists Brian Robinson and Tharon Johnson.

Atlanta Department of Corrections / Via AP

DeKalb County leaders are reacting cautiously to the weekend arrest of the county's sheriff on public indecency charges. Sheriff Jeffrey Mann was arrested by Atlanta police, who charge he exposed himself to an officer in Piedmont Park Saturday night, then led the officer on a foot chase that lasted a quarter mile.

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Andy Miller, CEO and editor of the online publication Georgia Health News, talks about the future of health care in metro Atlanta.
Brenna Beech / WABE File

The new health care plan passed by the U.S. House on Thursday is the latest attempt by Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  

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The first GOP plan, which failed to pass the House, raised concerns – even among members of the GOP – about how it would affect Georgia patients, and the state government.

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 file

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.

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