Honor Graduate of the University of WTVT
by Tony Zappone
Jule Bradham McGee was the first man to graduate with honors from the University of WTVT. He celebrated 40 years with the south’s premier television station February 22, 2007, having served more than a half dozen news directors, almost that many station owners and hundreds of street reporters.
He’s right up there with production manager Jim Benedict, satellite truck supervisor John “Mak” Makinen, and engineering guru Duane Martin, all of whom have reached that 40-year mark at the Big 13.
A 'JEWEL' IN THE FAMILY
Jule acquired a name consistent with his family lineage. His father was Jewel Quinton McGee. His great uncle on his father’s side was Julius McGee. His mother thought Jules' dad’s name was feminine so she wouldn’t let him be a junior. So he was named, uncannily, after science fiction writer Jules Verne with the “s” left off.
“I’m singular, not plural,” Jule asserted. “Although Jules Verne was noted for science fiction writing……my stories were never fiction unless I said they were!”
Jules' middle name, Bradham, was his mother's maiden name.
Jules' younger years were spent moving with his family throughout the south. His father worked for the Bureau of Fisheries (Dept. of the Interior) and traveled from state to state establishing hatcheries. Jule counts time spent in Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. Sadly, when Jule was just 14, his father died while the family was living in Roberta, Georgia.
In middle school, Jules' teacher and mentor Thomas Glover taught him the finer points of photography, which the teenager found very appealing. "When you live in Roberta, Georgia, a town of 250 (not much more than that now!) with three stores and a railroad track, anything else can be fascinating." Jule saw photography as way to see exotic places and be part of important events.
He was introduced to the news business gradually, starting with help from his dad’s youngest brother who joined the Georgia Highway Patrol as one of their first communications specialists. His uncle had “every kind of radio under the sun, short wave, low band…in the 30 to 40 megacycle range.”
“I used to listen to the short wave radio that brought in what was happening all over the world. Then I started going down to my uncle’s and monitoring his inner-state radio, listening to the sheriff’s office, highway patrol and big city units. Nothing could happen anywhere in the state without me knowing about it.”