Salt of the City: Jerry Rogers

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In 1969, native New Yorker Jerry Rogers rolled into Savannah in a Mustang convertible for a gig as music director and afternoon DJ at now-defunct local radio station WSGA. Fifty years later, the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame honoree still graces the airwaves as the founder and on-air talent at WRHQ Quality Rock 105.3, the city’s only locally owned station — with no trace of an accent, though he remains an unabashed Yankees fan.

“What did it for me was Tybee, which was called Savannah Beach at that time,” says Rogers, who still lives on the island. “Growing up on the streets of New York and then being able to live on the beach was pretty good. That’s really what has kept me here all these years.”

Back then, of course, things were different. “It was all summer people. In January and February, you could run down Butler Avenue naked. It didn’t matter. Nobody was there!”

But Rogers isn’t one to wax poetic about the good old days before Tybee had tablecloth restaurants. He also doesn’t mourn yesterday’s tunes, and he’s not one for gimmicks.

That means no call-in contests, no cutting a song off early and no partnerships with record companies. Instead, Rogers keeps his focus on the listeners — and on the music.

His favorite band may still be the Beatles, but he’s just as likely to recommend new releases during his 3–7 p.m. shift from the Bungalow, the station’s headquarters at the corner of East 52nd Street and Waters Avenue. After all, he never wanted WRHQ to be an oldies station.

“Listen, I’m blessed that I don’t sound as old as I look, OK? And I’m not doing any heavy lifting. It’s a real blessing to be able to do what you love.”