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

Denis O'Hayer

An Atlanta-based non-profit, Global Resource Services, is hoping to bring North Korea's National Symphony Orchestra to the United States sometime within the next year.  If it happens, the tour would make history, and it would start in Atlanta.  But any project involving North Korea involves logisitical and political challenges.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Global Resource Services President and CEO Robert Springs.

Counts Law Group

The Georgia General Assembly is close to approving HB 397, which expands the state's Open Meetings and Open Records Act, often called the Sunshine Law.  The bill makes it easier for citizens and journalists to track what government officials are doing.  It also provides much tougher penalties for officials who violate the law.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with 1st Amendment attorney Cynthia Counts, who said the bill still has some gaps in it.  But she said it's a big improvement over the law we have now.

On Monday March 19th, the Center for Public Integrity released a state-by-state ranking of ethics laws and enforcement.  The report was a joint project of CPI, Public Radio International, and Global Integrity.  In the overall ranking, Georgia placed dead last.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer got in-depth reviews of the report from both sides:  in conversations with Jim Walls, the Atlanta-based journalist who compiled the Georgia report, and with Rick Thompson, a former executive secretary of the State Ethics Commission, who disagrees with Walls's conclusions and the low ranking for Georgia.

Georgia ranks dead last in a major new state-by-state survey of ethics laws and enforcement.  The State Integrity Investigation is a joint project of the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International, and Global Integrity.

Pate and Brody

A major overhaul of the state's prison sentencing laws is still pending in the Georgia Legislature, with just days left in the 2011-2012 session.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer took a look at the major provisions and possible problems in the bill, with Atlanta criminal defense attorney Page Pate, who serves as WABE's legal analyst.

Johnny Isakson John Cornyn Saxby Chambliss
Denis O'Hayer / WABE

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is the Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.  He was in Atlanta on Monday, March 12th, for a fundraiser.  After the event, he joined Georgia Republican Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss for a question-and-answer session with 5 reporters, including WABE's Denis O'Hayer.  What follows are the unedited questions and answers; with the exception of some opening remarks about the U.S. Senate elections nationwide, which had to be omitted for computer file capacity.

MARTA CEO Dr. Beverly Scott

In the last few years, MARTA ridership has dropped amid service cutbacks and fare hikes.  But now, with rising gasoline prices, MARTA's ridership is expected to increase again.  The question:  Does the system have the resources to handle it?  WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with MARTA CEO and General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott about that, and about the ongoing battle in the Legislature over MARTA's future.

In the last few days, Maine Republican U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe announced she will not seek re-election.  In the process, she said the Senate had become so polarized, it's impossible to achieve anything of significance.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Georgia Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, who has built a reputation--and sometimes been criticized--as someone willing to work across party lines. 

In a conversation with WABE broadcast on Friday, Feb. 24th, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed made the case for the regional transportation sales tax, or "T-SPLOST," which goes before voters in July. But also last week, the DeKalb County Branch of the NAACP announced it will campaign for a "no" vote. Branch president, and former DeKalb County Commissioner, John Evans spoke with WABE's Denis O'Hayer.

Several prominent Republicans in the state House have just introduced two measures which would halt this summer’s scheduled vote on a regional transportation sales tax, or T-SPLOST.  As WABE’s Denis O’Hayer reports, the move raised more questions about the prospects for the T-SPLOST, and about the support of state leaders.

Former Atlanta U.S. Attorney Richard H. Deane, Jr. is the attorney for former Atlanta School Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall. WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Deane about Dr. Hall's response to the state investigation that found widespread cheating during her watch at the Atlanta Public Schools.

Also taking part in the conversation was David J. Bailey, Deane's partner at the law firm of Jones Day.