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

American Bar Association president Linda Klein speaks with Denis O'Hayer on Morning Edition.
Al Such / WABE

On Aug. 8, 2016, Atlanta attorney Linda Klein began a one-year term as the president of the American Bar Association, one of the most influential organizations in the country.

Elly Yu / WABE

Former Georgia Congressman -- and former House Speaker -- Newt Gingrich was back in the Atlanta area on Monday, campaigning for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. During a town meeting at Kennesaw State University, the former Speaker attacked the "basket of deplorables" comment by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Gingrich said it showed Democrats have lost the ability to debate.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Recent polls show the race for president tightening – at least in terms of the popular vote – with one, from CNN/ORC, showing Republican candidate Donald Trump slightly ahead. Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has bought some TV ad time in Georgia – the first time a Democrat has done that since the late stages of the 2008 campaign.

With the election just over two months away, the rhetoric from the two major party campaigns has only intensified.  But there's still the question of whether all that talk carries much truth.

Consultant Blake Fulenwider and Georgia Chamber task force spokesman Brian Robinson, speaking with Denis O'Hayer in the WABE studios on August 31, 2016.
Faith Williams / WABE News


This week, a health care task force created by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce released its much-anticipated report on ways the state could expand medical coverage for the uninsured. The report outlined three possible paths for lawmakers to consider this coming legislative session.

Ga. Chamber Releases Plans For Expanding Health Care Access

Republican vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016.
Chuck Burton / AP Photo


In the past week, former President Bill Clinton visited Atlanta to raise money for his wife Hillary's presidential campaign. And next week, Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence hits town for a GOP fundraiser.

So Georgia is fulfilling its traditional role as a bank for both parties' campaigns. But with polls showing the state might be winnable for the Democrats, there are signs the Clinton and Trump forces might actually deploy some ground forces here. 

Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

As the summer heated up, so did the rhetoric from the presidential candidates.

Republican candidate Donald Trump called President Obama "the founder of ISIS;" Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton claimed to be the only candidate to promise not to raise taxes on the middle class; and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson insisted most Americans support his call for the legalization of marijuana.

Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia), during a round table conversation with reporters in downtown Atlanta on August 16, 2016.
Denis O'Hayer / WABE News

Recent polls have indicated Georgia is now a toss-up state in the 2016 presidential race ─ with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton within a few percentage points of each other, and usually within the polls' margins of error.

One of Trump's most prominent ─ and enthusiastic ─ Georgia supporters has been U.S. Senator David Perdue. On Tuesday, Perdue talked about the campaign, and other issues, in a roundtable with reporters in downtown Atlanta.  After that session, he sat down for a few minutes with WABE's Denis O'Hayer.

Jason Parker / WABE

It's a tough year to be a Georgia Republican Party official.  

Although Donald Trump easily won the GOP presidential primary in March, a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll finds Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has taken a slight lead over Trump in Georgia.  

The poll, taken earlier this week, found in a two-way race, 44 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for Clinton, while 40 percent favored Trump.  That's within the poll's margin of error, so it's a statistical tie.

Alison Guillory / WABE


Two new polls taken after the Democratic National Convention show Georgia would be up for grabs -- if the presidential election were held today. A poll conducted by Landmark/Rosetta Stone for Channel 2 found the Georgia race is a tie, with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton each getting support from 45 percent of those surveyed. Libertarian Gary Johnson got 4 percent, with 1 percent going to Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

President Barack Obama is due in Atlanta later Monday to raise campaign funds for Democrats and to address the convention of the Disabled American Veterans.  

The president's visit comes just a day after his Veterans Affairs Secretary, Bob McDonald, announced the opening of a new call center in Atlanta, which will handle the increased volume of mental health crisis calls.  

The idea is to cut the number of veteran suicides, which continues at an estimated average rate of more than 20 per day.  On "Morning Edition," host Denis O'Hayer spoke with McDonald.

Eric Bowles


Retired Marine Colonel Mike Boyce pulled off a political stunner Tuesday.

In a Republican primary runoff, Boyce ousted incumbent Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee. Because there is no Democrat on the ballot in November, Boyce will become the county's new commission chairman in January.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

The 2016 Democratic National Convention heard several voices from Georgia: Congressman John Lewis; former President Jimmy Carter (via video), and his grandson, former state Sen. Jason Carter; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; and State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.

In her speech on the first night of the convention, Abrams talked about a "new American majority." On "Morning Edition," hours before Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech, Denis O'Hayer asked Abrams what she meant by a new majority, and what she thinks Clinton needs to do to win over voters who view her with suspicion.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Andrew Harnik/Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

Republicans have finished an often-contentious national convention; Democrats began their convention with the resignation of their national chair, and demonstrators in the Philadelphia streets.  Meanwhile, new polling shows Georgia could be a presidential election battleground, for the first time in more than two decades.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

The 2016 Democratic National Convention opens Monday in Philadelphia. The presumptive presidential nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is scheduled to give her acceptance speech on Thursday. But after a long career at the highest levels of national government, Clinton hardly needs an introduction to most voters. And, like Republican nominee Donald Trump, she has often been at the center of controversy -- in her case, on issues from health care to the private email server she set up when she was Secretary of State.

In this June 22, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in New York.
Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

The 2016 Republican National Convention opens Monday in Cleveland. Presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to give his acceptance speech on Thursday, but it will hardly be the first time the nation's voters have heard from him. Like few nominees before him in either party (at least the ones who weren't incumbent presidents), Trump has spent months making high-profile – and often controversial –statements.

John Minchillo, File / Associated Press


From left, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., sing "We Shall Overcome" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2016.
Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo


While the British were voting to leave the European Union, it was a big week in politics on this side of the pond. Atlanta Democratic Congressman John Lewis led a sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House, which was watched around the world on social media. And the Supreme Court issued some big decisions on affirmative action and President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.  

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

On Monday, June 20, the U.S. Senate voted down four proposals aimed at making it harder for potential terrorists to buy firearms.

Democrats charged the two GOP-backed amendments didn't go far enough, while Republicans rejected the two Democratic amendments as excessive. As negotiations for a compromise continued Wednesday morning, Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue discussed the issue on "Morning Edition."

Grady Memorial Hospital
Al Such / WABE

Nearly 15 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the nation's systems of trauma care are still struggling to adequately prepare for the demands that could come from another mass casualty event.  

Georgia's trauma care system is no exception, and the recent massacre in Orlando, Florida, raises the question: Could Georgia's trauma centers handle something with that number of seriously injured people, if it happened here?  

Experts in the health care field, and in the Legislature, think we do not have enough trauma care facilities to handle something like that.

AR-15 rifles
Rich Pedroncelli, file / Associated Press

When presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump visited Atlanta on Wednesday, he reiterated a call he had made earlier for a ban on gun sales to people on the U.S. terror watch list.  Trump promised to talk it over with the National Rifle Association, which has endorsed him.


There are an estimated 400,000 Georgians who can't afford health care insurance, but who have too much income to qualify for Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, aimed to close that gap by offering federal money to states if they expanded Medicaid to cover more of those people.

But more than six years after the ACA took effect, Georgia has consistently refused to expand Medicaid. And without that federal money, Georgia officials have had to pump millions of state dollars into the health system to meet exploding costs.

 Participants gather around candles at a vigil honoring victims of a mass shooting in Orlando Florida
Alison Guillory / WABE

In the hours after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed attended a candlelight vigil held in Midtown and promised to meet with leaders of Atlanta's LGBT community to talk about where and how to provide security to clubs, businesses and other establishments that serve the community. 

Faith Williams / WABE

The Affordable Care Act has been on the books for over six years. Part of the argument for what's also known as Obamacare was that it would cover more people who previously could not afford health insurance.  

To some extent, that has happened.  

The other part of the case for the ACA was that it would bring some control to health care costs. That has not happened, and now Georgians who get their insurance through the ACA have gotten alerts from many carriers that premiums are about to go up again.

Michael Snyder / Associated Press

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has scheduled an Atlanta visit Wednesday for a fundraiser.  

This comes just over a week after Georgia Republicans held their state convention, during which U.S. Sen. David Perdue voiced enthusiastic support for Trump.  

Brenna Beech / WABE

The late Muhammad Ali had some famous Atlanta moments: his 1970 comeback fight and the lighting of the cauldron at the 1996 Olympics.

But he made other, less publicized visits to the city.

One of those who got to know him was Imam Plemon T. El-Amin, who is now the imam emeritus at the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam. An Atlanta native, the imam says Ali's conversion to Islam made his possible.

Muhammad Ali delivers a hard right to Jerry Quarry on October 26, 1970 in a scheduled 15 round fight at Atlanta, Ga.
Joe Holloway, Jr. / Associated Press

When you think of the late Muhammad Ali in Atlanta, you probably think of him standing tall and lighting the cauldron at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, despite the effects of Parkinson's disease. But that moment may have been made possible by something that happened 26 years earlier, in October 1970.

Brenna Beech / WABE

With less than a week left before the June 7 California presidential primary, Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders stepped up their verbal war.  

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, the apparent Republican nominee, continued to fire away at Clinton.  

The latest verbal and internet broadsides have kept fact-checkers busy.  

On "Morning Edition," host Denis O'Hayer looked at some of the recent claims from all sides with Jim Tharpe of PolitiFact Georgia, which appears in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and on

Eboni Lemon / WABE

Last week on "Morning Edition," Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, R-Georgia, proposed a major overhaul of the board that governs MARTA, in exchange for state funding –something the transit agency has long wanted, but never received.  

David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgians go to the polls Tuesday to select Democratic and Republican nominees for state and local offices, from the U.S. Senate and House to local judgeships.

Because of the way districts are drawn, these May primaries -- and not the November general election -- will decide who wins some offices.  

While the candidates and issues vary by party and by district, there are some common themes emerging.  WABE's Johnny Kauffman explored some of them in a conversation with Denis O'Hayer on "Morning Edition." 

Michael Snyder / Associated Press

Many very smart political people said it would never happen. But Donald Trump is now the apparent Republican nominee for president.  

His campaign could upset the traditional electoral map strategies in both political parties. But will it put Georgia in play?  

In a conversation on "Morning Edition,"  host Denis O'Hayer got some thoughts from Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist who was national Southern regional director for the 2012 Obama campaign, and Brian Robinson, former deputy chief of staff for Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.