Clara Martin, former journalism professor and founder of WBCX
WBCX-FM founder Clara Martin at a recent on-air appearance at the radio station she started 40 years ago.

Brenau Celebrates WBCX-FM Founder Clara Martin at Open House on April 16

Apr 15, 2016
Brenau Staff

Brenau University will mark the 40th anniversary of WBCX-FM on Saturday, April 16, by paying homage to its founder and former journalism professor Clara Martin.

As part of the Alumnae Weekend activities, the John W. Jacobs Building lobby will be open from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. for a celebration of Martin’s life and impact on Brenau University. The event is free and open to the public.

“She has left indelible marks on the Brenau landscape,” said President Ed Schrader. “Those marks continue today as we celebrate the twin 40th anniversaries of our flagship radio station 89.1 WBCX and what is today our Mass Communications Department, neither of which would exist without entrepreneurial spirit, high standards of excellence and dogged determination of Clara Martin.”

Martin, who currently lives in Brookhaven, Georgia, joined Brenau in 1971 as a special events director. She led efforts to start the university’s mass communications program. The first classes began in 1976, the same year WBCX 89.1 went on the air.

WBCX was actually Brenau’s second radio station. The university’s first station, WKAY, went live in 1922, making it not only the first radio station in Gainesville, but one of the first radio stations in the entire country to receive a license from the Federal Communications Commission. Brenau’s first foray into broadcasting only lasted a few years. However, WBCX is still going strong four decades later. In fact, the radio station’s current director, Jay Andrews, is one of Martin’s former students.

All three of Martin’s daughters attended Brenau, but that isn’t her only legacy at the university. Upon her retirement in 2000, she used her last paycheck to start the Clara Martin Endowed Journalism Scholarship. “I couldn’t leave Brenau without leaving something behind,” Martin said.

Alumnae and friends may drop by the Jacobs Building for the celebration at any time between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Fittingly enough, the activities will be broadcast live on WBCX, which is 89.1 on FM radio.

“I would love to see the students,” Martin said, “and we’ll just have a real good reunion.”

The Jacobs Building is at 340 Green St. on the Brenau campus.