MACON, Ga. — All this week, we’re celebrating our history by highlighting some of our 13WMAZ legends.
They are the men and women who worked to bring you stories Straight from the Heart, and left a lasting impact on the community.
To kick the week off, Frank Malloy sat down with a woman known for her humble spirit and strong work ethic. If you ask any person who grew up watching 13WMAZ, they'll probably mention her as one of their all-time favorites.
Tina Hicks had a nearly 30-year run on 13WMAZ, serving as the first African-American to anchor here at the station.
Though nearly 20 years away from news desk have passed, she is still the same Tina just as humble when asked about her legacy of trailblazing the way for others.
Her path to the anchor desk wasn’t necessarily a straight line.
“I first wanted to be in the Air Force as a pilot, a female pilot. Then, I wanted to be a nurse, and then, I wanted to be an anchor,” recalled Hicks.
Her road to the anchor desk was helped along by an article of women's clothing.
“This guy was a DJ and he got me to do radio spots, and I remember the one I did was for pantyhose,” she said.
It was her voice on the radio that caught the ear of the station’s general manager. He called and asked who he heard, and they told him it was Tina.
The radio spot was just one of the first steps to getting Tina in the door at 13WMAZ. She landed a job as a co-host of Ebony Speaks, a black-oriented talk show at the station. Next, she took a job on the switchboard answering every phone call that came in. From there, she took off.
PHOTOS: Tina Hicks, 13WMAZ Legend
She moved to AM radio, then FM radio before moving back to reception working as a news secretary.
“I started shooting stories for reporters. I taught myself how to shoot,” she said.
Shortly after she auditioned for an anchor position, she got the job.
“I was scared to death on my first day and I kept on with it,” she said.
After overcoming some early-job jitters, Tina quickly established herself as a reliable and caring voice for the community. Her favorite stories were the ones that helped people.
Those stories included Tina’s ‘Friend for Life’ series urging women to do self-breast exams and sign up for mammograms.
“One lady I met, she said, ‘You saved my life,’ and I said, 'How?' ‘Your series on breast cancer urged me to check my breast and I had a lump and it was cancer. I had an operation and they removed it and I'm in remission,’” said Hicks.
Helping people enabled Tina to become a recognizable face wherever she went, but that celebrity status never changed who she was. That genuineness both on and off the air allowed her to establish a strong bond with the viewers.
As for how Tina would like Central Georgians to remember her?
“As a hard worker and somebody who added to the community and a good worker for charity,” she said.
That charity work included time spent working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association on the MDA Telethon, and also mentoring many of the young reporters and anchors who worked here at 13WMAZ, listening to them and offering up advice to guide them along.
Tina Hicks retired from the station in 1999.
Thank you, Tina.