Former WLET Owner Otto McDonald Passes Away

Toccoa is remembering a former local radio station owner and personality.

Otto McDonald, Jr. of Greenwood, South Carolina passed away Tuesday at the age of 88.

McDonald was once the President and General Manager of WLET-AM and WLET-FM in Toccoa.

“Otto was a fine gentleman, businessman, (and) newsman,” said Ted Taylor, who worked with McDonald for a number of years at WLET.

Besides his work on the business side of radio, McDonald hosted the “Little Country Church” radio broadcast for more than 50 years.

Taylor said McDonald was very well-known for that feature alone.

“He never used a script,” said Taylor.  “He used a Bible that was on his desk.  I opened up the Bible one time and saw all of these notations and notes in the margins and underlines and highlights and everything, so he had everything down pat.  That was one of his most popular programs.”

Taylor went on to say that McDonald also had a particular passion for the news side of the radio business.

“He liked to scoop the (other) radio stations, scoop the newspapers, as far as news was concerned,” said Taylor.  “One of his greatest treasures was a reel-to-reel tape interview with the Great Wallenda before Wallenda crossed the Gorge at TallulahFalls.  I think that was one of his proudest moments.”

McDonald also has served as President of the Toccoa Chamber of Commerce and President of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

Prior to his time in Toccoa, he served as Vice President at WELP Radio Station in Easley, South Carolina and WHPB in Belton, South Carolina.

Funeral services for McDonald will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Hodges Presbyterian Church in Hodges, South Carolina.