Tony ‘The Tiger’ Taylor (WQXI-AM) has died at age 80

Tony Taylor in the 1960s and in the 2000s. CREDIT: John Long/Georgia Radio Hall of Fame

This was posted Thursday, June 21, 2017 by Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com for his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Tony “The Tiger” Taylor, who hosted mid-days at top 40 station 790/WQXI-AM in the mid-1960s, has died of leukemia. Taylor, whose real named was William Wahl, was 80.

Kent Burkhart, who hired Taylor when he was the manager at WQXI (“Quixie in Dixie”), remembers hearing Taylor on a New York station and recruited him down to Atlanta in 1965. His fake, snappier, radio-friendly name was given to him at the station, Burkhart said, a common practice at that time.

“He was a very bright, sharp-sounding disc jockey that everybody loved,” Buckhart said.

Taylor left Atlanta for a time to work in radio in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Once he returned to Atlanta in the mid-1970s, he did a lot of voice-over work over the years, including the first commercial spokesman for Atlanta-based Home Depot. He opened his own ad agency until his retirement in 2006.

He was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.

“I remember Tony being a really happy guy,” said John Long, who worked at the station while Taylor was there and now runs the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. “He was very friendly, very outgoing. He had a wonderful voice. He was very popular with the gals. He was a handsome guy. He had movie-star good looks.”

Taylor was living in Forsyth County when he passed and was an avid golfer.

While at the ad agency, he’d do some fill-in work at Quixie on weekends. Here’s an audio sample of Taylor’s work from 1983 on April Fool’s Day pretending it was the mid 1960s. Kelly McCoy, who was at the station at the time, said they ran some old commercials and dug up old QXI jingles, added reverb and found old stories via microfilm.

Marcia, Taylor’s wife, said a memorial service is being scheduled. “I’ve lost someone that has been part of my life for 30 years,” she said, her voice cracking. She said he was diagnosed with leukemia last August and treatment was difficult.

“He fought it with dignity and grace,” she said. “He was determined to beat it. He was mentally there right up to the end.”

 

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