Randall Lynn”Randy” Davis, age 74, of Rome, Georgia, passed away on Friday, October 1, 2021. Randall was born October 31, 1946.
A celebration of a life well lived service for Randall will be held Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at 2 p.m. at State Mutual Stadium, home of the Rome Braves, at 755 Braves Blvd NE, Rome, GA 30161.
Daniel’s Funeral Home.
For more than 70 years, WLAQ has been part of Rome’s everyday living. And for a lot of those years, starting in 1968, the voice and face of 1410 AM and 96.9 FM has been Randy Davis.
He’s covered all the shifts as needed, including “working the board.” He’s been on on the sidelines and courtside of all the area high schools and colleges. Teaming with Wendy Davis and others, he campaigned relentlessly to bring the then-Macon Braves to Rome and to build State Mutual Stadium. He even did the play-by-play for the first few seasons as heard on WLAQ. That’s a lot for someone who bought the radio station in 1987, building on “the brand” while raising a young family.
If there’s one sports voice to remember in Northwest Georgia, it is his. And now that voice is gone.
Randy passed away Friday, just 30 days shy of his 75th birthday on Halloween. Sandy Davis, his wife and partner for more than 50 years, shared the news just before 3:30 p.m.
“He is at peace. My heart is broken.”
It came after nine days of dedicated efforts by his medical team; a constant, hopeful vigil by his loving family; and his being raised in prayer by thousands of area friends and listeners.
A small businessman — who with Sandy and children Elizabeth and Matt — made a living over the airwaves, Randy wasn’t afraid of work. Even in his 70s, he brought a new local program to the air — Later This Morning in Rome — from 9 until 10 a.m. weekdays. It bookended the morning show hosted by Elizabeth and prefaced son Matt’s sports program several evenings each week.
In a world where syndication dominates the airwaves, Randy made sure “local” was part of the mix. Sure, there were Rush Limbaughs and Ludlow Porches on AM 1410 and later 96.9 FM but there was plenty of local as well. And much of that was sports: The Rome Braves for many of the team’s first years here, the Rome News-Tribune high school Christmas tournament, Darlington football, Berry College basketball and more. Coaches’ shows, scoreboard shows — even leased “air” on the weekends — Randy understood what a community wanted to hear: Local information.
Even the commercials over the years were classics, whether with auto dealer Bob Williams or that “healthy, happy feeling” with the chiropractor.
Many of the community’s radio personalities passed through the doors at 2 Mount Alto Road off Shorter Avenue as well. It might have been Randy giving a recent high school graduate the overnight DJ duties, spinning country music until sunrise and the morning news. WLAQ also was one of the homes of another radio pioneer, the late Nelle Reagan.
They’d see Randy working elbow deep with them, doing sales calls if not on the air calling games. Notoriously “thrifty,” those same workers would see Randy on that riding mower, clipping the acres surrounding the small station house and big tower.
And given his love for sports, be assured Randy was as competitive at the meeting table talking business as on any sports venue. Even as rivals were purchased by out-of-market owners, he fiercely fought for that sports broadcast and for the advertisers supporting it. He’d use that “I’m just a small businessman” card in high-stakes negotiations with potential buyers or in a fierce argument with someone perhaps crossing into Randy’s lane.
Even competitors realized, after cooling off, that Randy was fighting for his station and for his family. Randy continued to carve that niche even as satellite radio and smartphones continued to gnaw away at the audience. And while perceived as old school by some, he realized the need for new ways. Many of the local programs on WLAQ — including his last show, Later This Morning, are available to watch on Facebook Live.
On a recent Wednesday morning, just hours before falling, Randy interviewed Kenneth Studdard of Dogwood Books at 9 a.m. — on air and on Facebook (watch it here). Among the topics: The Atlanta Braves’ magic number to clinching the NL East crown and another trip to the playoffs. He followed that with recording the football picks program before heading to a family lunch.
Again, at an age where most are retired, he was holding court at “the radio ranch,” his second home — perhaps his true primary residence for more than five decades.
Randy mixed old school radio with today’s social media to showcase Rome, Ga. He did so with his family and friends at his side. No one will do it better.
- We’ll post memorial arrangements as soon as they’re available from Daniel’s Funeral Home
- You’ll find a great profile of Randy as published in the Rome News-Tribune from five years ago. Click Randy