Former WMAZ News Director Bill Tribble Dies at Age 80

12:30 PM, Jun 23, 2012   |    comments
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Bill Tribble, who led 13WMAZ's news department for more than three decades, died Friday after a battle with cancer.

He was 80 years old.

Tribble was there as WMAZ moved from a simple black-and-white newscast in the 1950s to a modern electronic operation in the 1990s.

He was news director from 1963 until 1983.

In 1983, he was named executive editor in charge of editorial programming and special projects, like election coverage.

He also hosted the weekly interview program, Close Up, for more than 20 years.

Tribble was born in 1932 in Franklin County, Ga. He graduated from the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and later served with the U.S. Army in Germany.

He began his journalism career with the Gainesville Morning Sun and then moved to The Telegraph in Macon.

He became county reporter for WMAZ in 1959, when it was still a combined radio-television news operation.

The station named him news director in 1963 and in 1983, he was named executive editor.

He retired in 1994.

In the 1980s, he told a newspaper interview that his most memorable local story was a 1963 fire at the Wesleyan Conservatory.

"The fire started on a Sunday morning in the rain," he recalled. "And by the time I arrived, flames from the old building were literally shooting hundreds of feet in the air. I noticed a strange odor and realized it was my own plastic raincoat burning."

Commenting on his decades at WMAZ and in the news business, he said, "I'm a freak. This is an itinerant business -- four years and they're gone."

Tribble lived in Macon for the past 33 years.

He was involved in many community activities in Central Georgia.

He volunteered at the Alexander II Magnet School for 15 years, sharing his love of journalism by helping the students produce their own newscast.

The media center of Alexander II was named for Bill and Mary Tribble.

He was an ordained deacon at the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon and a member of its audiovisual committee for more than 20 years.

Tribble served as a member of the Macon Bibb County Library Board of Trustees for five years and as chairman, oversaw the library's renovation and expansion.

He was also active in the "Kids Vote!" program that educates students about the democratic process.

He won numerous awards, including three Associated Press awards for excellence in commentary, in 1984, 1985 and 1986; three Georgia Association of Educators awards for supporting public schools; and two Emmy awards, for Close Up documentaries on the Arab-Israeli conflict; and the Republican Party and David Duke.

The Bibb County Board of Education awarded him two "Extra Mile" awards for volunteer work in the schools.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Mary Goslin Tribble, who is a former radio news director; and their two daughters, Gena Tribble of Missouri City, Tex. and Jennifer Tribble of Macon.

He is also survived by a brother, Robert Tribble, of Manchester, Ga; and several nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand- nephews.

His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church of Christ at 511 High Place, Macon.

Members of the Adult III Couples Sunday School Class and Audio Visual Committee will serve as honorary pallbearers.

Visitation will be held at the church one hour before the service.

Graveside services will be held at 3 p.m. Monday at the Powers Cemetery on Highway 257 North in Hawkinsville.

Tribble requests, in lieu of flowers, that donations be sent to the Alexander II Magnet School Tribble Fund, Suite 310, 484 Mulberry St., Macon 31201; or to the First Baptist Church of Christ Building Fund, 511 High Place, Macon, 31201.

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