It is with great sorrow that we’re reporting this news: George G. Beasley, Beasley Media Group Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board, died today in Naples, Florida. He was 89 years old.
A radio industry innovator, advocate, mentor and pioneer and community philanthropist, he led this company for 60 years. He stepped down as CEO in 2016 but continued as executive chairman of the company’s board.
A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, his life story was the epitome of the American dream. His vision and hard work helped to grow the company and the radio industry as a whole, to what they have become today.
Mr. Beasley grew up working in the tobacco fields in his hometown of Ararat, Virginia, but he eventually enlisted in the army to pursue a degree in Education through the G.I. Bill. Upon completing his B.A. and M.A. from Appalachian State University, he taught in Virginia, before moving to North Carolina in the late 1950s to become a high school principal and coach. In 1961, Mr. Beasley founded our company when he was a high school principal. He was awarded an FCC license to build his first radio station, WPYB-AM, a daytime-only 500-watt signal, in Benson, North Carolina. He saw the value and importance of bringing radio to smaller cities and towns throughout the country, at a time that larger corporations were only interested in broadcasting in big cities.
His love of radio was a full-time calling. Mr. Beasley soon sold his first station at a profit, reinvesting the proceeds into the purchase of WFMC-AM in Goldsboro, North Carolina, which brought both a more powerful signal and the attraction of a larger market.
Today, we’ve grown to 62 stations in 15 markets, along with digital platforms, and an esports arm. Four of Mr. Beasley’s five children are part of the company: CEO Caroline Beasley, as well as President Bruce Beasley, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Brian Beasley, and Vice President of Operations Brad Beasley.
Mr. Beasley’s list of accolades is long: he served on the Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors for many years and is a recipient of their prestigious Broadcast Pioneer Award. The Nevada Broadcasters Association inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2008. The Country Radio Broadcasters awarded Mr. Beasley the Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award in 2010. He was named Broadcaster of the Year by the Florida Association of Broadcasters in 2011 and named a Giant of Broadcasting by the Library of American Broadcasting in 2012. He received the National Association of Broadcasters’ National Radio Award in 2015. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2019, and in 2020 he received the Broadcasters Foundation of America Lifetime Achievement Award.
An avid philanthropist, Mr. Beasley served on the board of the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) for eight years as President, Vice President and as a member of the Board of Directors. In 1996, he received the NCAB’s organization’s Distinguished Service Award and was inducted into NCAB’s Hall of Fame in 1998 upon accepting the prestigious Distinguished Broadcaster of North Carolina Award.
In 1990 his alma mater, Appalachian State University, designated Beasley as one of the institution’s Distinguished Alumni, and he served as Chairman of the Appalachian State University Foundation Board of Directors and as a member of the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees for many years.
Among his proudest professional accomplishments was receiving an honorary doctorate and the unveiling of the George G. Beasley Media Complex on campus to provide future generations of ASU students with the opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in broadcasting.
So, it’s understandable that he’s best known for his many trailblazing achievements in the radio broadcasting industry. But Mr. Beasley will be most remembered for his humility, kindness, integrity, work ethic, and love of family and friends.
As we said in our press release notifying the industry of his passing, “The many challenges that George faced over the years, he did with humility, dignity and grace. A loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, his legacy serves as a reminder that anything is possible with dedication, hard work and respect for one another.”
His daughter and our CEO Caroline Beasley, said, “George’s unconditional love for our mother, Ann, and our family, along with his passion for the radio industry, helped to guide him throughout his lifetime. A loving father, mentor, and friend, I will especially miss his incredible wisdom, keen insight, and gentle smile.”
Mr. Beasley is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ann, five children, 16 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Between his company and his family, that’s quite a legacy.
A memorial service is planned in Florida; details will be announced later. His family will hold a private burial in his hometown of Ararat, Va.
In lieu of flowers, the Beasley family requests donations be made in his name to The Broadcasters Foundation of America, 125 West 55th Street, 4th Floor New York, New York 10019. Online donations may also be made here.