Denis O'Hayer

Host, A Closer Look

All Things Considered and Marketplace are locally hosted by broadcast veteran Denis O’Hayer. Prior to working at WABE, Denis covered local affairs, politics and government for 11 years as a political reporter for WXIA/11Alive. As ATC host, he brings with him the same keen eye for news and information. ATC offers listeners up-to-date traffic reports, weather updates, and provides three expanded Atlanta-based news reports each hour.

O’Hayer began his broadcast career in radio in Connecticut in 1976 at WGCH-AM followed by WELI-AM. In 1978, his career led him to Atlanta where he accepted a position with WGST-AM/FM. O’Hayer worked at the station for more than 19 years in a variety of roles. Through the years, O’Hayer has hosted several news and public affairs programs including Midday and Lifestyle, two magazine shows; Counterpoint with Tom Houck and Dick Williams; Cover Your Assets, a consumer-oriented show; Lawn & Garden; The Home Show; The Law Show; and Thirty ‘til Six, an afternoon drive news block with Bob Coxe. From 1991-1997, O’Hayer hosted Sixty at Six, a daily, one hour news and interview program. His broadcast career also includes on-air work with CNN’s Southeast Bureau and Georgia Public Broadcasting.


A Closer Look
6:00 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

APS Cheating Scandal: How Investigators Developed The Case

Former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers talks to Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer during an earlier appearance on ''A Closer Look.''
Credit Jason Parker / WABE

Eleven former Atlanta Public Schools educators were found guilty of racketeering – some also were found guilty of lesser charges – in the APS test cheating trial.  The verdicts marked the end of an investigation that began in late 2008, when reporters for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noticed some suspiciously-high test scores in five area schools.

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A Closer Look
7:59 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Former Attorney General Mike Bowers Calls Religious Freedom Bill A 'Bad Move'

Former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers talks on ''A Closer Look'' on March 27.
Credit Jason Parker / WABE

In 1986, then-Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers and his office won a U.S. Supreme Court case, which upheld the constitutionality of Georgia's sodomy law.  

In 1991, Bowers terminated an employment offer his office made to attorney Robin Shahar because she was planning a marriage to another woman.  Shahar sued, but eventually a federal appeals court ruled for Bowers, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Shahar's appeal.

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A Closer Look
5:00 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

'The Voice Of The Hawks' Steve Holman On The Team’s Amazing Season

Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford, right, checks out a photo on Hawks broadcaster Steve Holman's phone.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press

The Atlanta Hawks have surprised nearly everyone in the basketball world this season.  

They are on the verge of breaking the franchise record for wins in a season; they hold the top playoff seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference; and they are regularly beating teams with much bigger reputations.  

The man providing play-by-play on radio has been setting records of his own.  

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A Closer Look
8:04 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

GSU Sportscaster Dave Cohen Highlights Panthers' NCAA Miracle

Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter cuts the net after defeating Georgia Southern 38-36 in the NCAA college basketball championship of the Sunbelt Conference tournament in New Orleans on March 15, 2015.
Credit Bill Haber / Associated Press

The men's basketball team from Georgia State University stunned and thrilled the nation on March 19 with a come-from-behind win over Baylor in the final seconds of their NCAA tournament game in Jacksonville, Florida.  

The Panthers, the 13 seed in their region, toppled the three seed Baylor Bears, 57-56, on a long 3-point shot by R.J. Hunter. He's the son of Panthers head coach Ron Hunter. Georgia State's veteran radio play-by-play broadcaster Dave Cohen spoke with Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer on the March 20 edition of "A Closer Look."

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A Closer Look
6:10 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Georgia Releases Safety Ratings Of State’s Schools

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods in his office at the state Capitol, Feb. 13, 2015.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

On March 16, 2014, the state Education Department released its ratings of the climate in Georgia’s schools. But these climate scores have nothing to do with the air conditioning.  These are evaluations of how safe your child’s school is.  

Each school received a rating on a scale of one to five stars. Fifteen percent of the state's schools received ratings of unsatisfactory (one star) or below satisfactory (two stars).  

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A Closer Look
8:08 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

GSU Constitutional Scholar Sees Unintended Problems With Religious Freedom Bill

The bill, SB 129, is one of two “religious liberty” measures state lawmakers are considering this year.
Credit Ken Lund /


Most of the debate surrounding the controversial "religious freedom" bill (SB 129) has centered around whether or not it would clear the way for discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But one constitutional scholar says there are other big ─ and unintentional ─ problems with the legislation as it is now written.  

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A Closer Look
3:34 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Episcopal priest on prison ministry: 'God's justice is very much tied up with God's mercy'

Kelly Gissendaner is set to die by lethal injection tonight for arranging the murder of her husband, Doug Gissendaner, in 1997.
Credit Georgia Department of Corrections

Update: The Supreme Court of Georgia has denied a stay of execution for Gissendaner in a 5-to-2 decision.

Later today, for the first time since the mid-40s, the state is scheduled to execute a woman.  

Kelly Gissendaner is set to die by lethal injection tonight for arranging the murder of her husband, Doug Gissendaner, in 1997.  

Last week, the State Board of Pardons and Parole denied clemency for Gissendaner.

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A Closer Look
7:40 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

A Talk With NPR's Guy Raz, Host Of 'The TED Radio Hour'

NPR's Guy Raz is host of ''The TED Radio Hour.''
Credit Kainaz Amaria / NPR

On March 6, 2015, the popular NPR series "The TED Radio Hour" launches a new collection of episodes, featuring more talks from the TED series.

Each week, the program collects TED talks that have common themes ─ from creativity to the source of happiness.

Host Guy Raz spoke with WABE's Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer on the Feb. 27 edition of "A Closer Look." Among other things, Raz spoke about his favorite TED talk, by Ken Robinson on kids and creativity.  You can hear that here.

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A Closer Look
6:20 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

A Talk with Sen. Johnny Isakson: Homeland Security Funding; ISIS; And The Keystone Pipeline

In this photo from Jan. 10, 2015, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) speaks to a breakfast meeting of Cobb County Republicans at the county GOP office in Marietta.
Credit Denis O'Hayer / WABE

At midnight on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will run out of money, unless Congress approves a new funding measure. 

Some Republicans have tried to tie DHS funding to their bill to overturn President Obama's executive actions on immigration.  

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leaders reached an agreement to hold a vote on DHS funding alone – without the immigration bill. House Republicans showed no signs of going along with that.  

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A Closer Look
4:24 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

California Declares War On Georgia? Just For Entertainment

Actors and extras work on the set of ''The Walking Dead'' in Atlanta, Georgia.
Credit Mike Stewart / Associated Press

Atlanta is becoming more of a film capital than it has been in a long time. Television and film production is taking place all over the state of Georgia, with many entertainment projects drawn here by tax credits the state began offering some 10 years ago.

California has taken note.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed California’s own set of tax credits that will triple the dollars TV and film companies can earn there, as long as they stay in-state. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was standing right beside Brown when he signed the measure.

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A Closer Look
4:31 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

A New State Debate On LGBT Rights And The Last Decade's Changes: A Talk With Rep. Karla Drenner

Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale) during an interview in her Capitol office on Feb. 13, 2015.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

The Georgia Legislature may soon be taking another look at the rights of the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.  

After several previous efforts failed, Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale) has introduced HB 323, which would ban the state government from discriminating in hiring and promotion against anyone based on sexual orientation.  

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A Closer Look
4:14 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

State Schools Chief Richard Woods Talks School Rescue Plans, Graduation Rates

Denis O'Hayer interviewed Richard Woods in his office at the state Capitol.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

Richard Woods is Georgia's new state superintendent of schools. He took office in January 2015 after winning the election last year.  

Woods, a Republican, had been in office barely a month when Gov. Nathan Deal announced his plan for the state to take over up to 20 failing schools each year. The schools would be placed in a new statewide district of their own, with its own superintendent who would report to the governor, not to Woods.  

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A Closer Look
3:37 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Georgia's Adult Entertainment Clubs Promise To Fight Proposed State Fee

Attorney Alan Begner, who represents many of Atlanta's strip clubs and other adult entertainment establishments, speaking during an interview with WABE's Denis O'Hayer at the station's studios.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

On Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, the Georgia State Senate passed two pieces of legislation aimed at toughening prosecutions and punishments for child sex traffickers in the state.  

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5:54 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Will Atlanta's Streetcar Work?: Possible Clues From Other Cities

A crowd gathers downtown for the public opening of the Atlanta Streetcar on Dec. 30, 2014.
Credit Ryan Nabulsi/ / for WABE

In his State of the City message on Feb. 4, 2015, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced plans to expand the city's new streetcar line to the east, which would connect it to the BeltLine.  

But will an expanded streetcar system succeed in Atlanta?  Other cities have had mixed results from their streetcar ventures.  

A recent article in Politico took a close look at why streetcars have succeeded in some cities, while others have shut down their projects.  

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A Closer Look
6:31 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Rep. David Scott On Where He Agrees With The President's Budget ... And Where He Doesn't

Congressman David Scott called on both sides to compromise on issues like taxation and immigration.
Credit Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

On Feb. 2, President Barack Obama presented his budget plan for the coming fiscal year:  a nearly $4 trillion package that includes increased spending for public works projects like highways and bridges, increased capital gains taxes for upper-income couples, and two years of free tuition for community college students.  

  Republicans immediately declared the President's spending plan dead on arrival.  But even some Democrats are not in step on every item in it.  

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A Closer Look
7:16 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

GOP Lawmaker Files Bill To End Delta's Tax Break On Fuel

Delta recently reported a $2.8 billion profit for 2014.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

One of the leading Republicans in the Georgia House, Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs, has filed a bill to do away with the exemption Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has received on state fuel taxes since 2006.  

At the time lawmakers passed the exemption for Delta, the carrier was trying to emerge from bankruptcy and facing rising fuel costs.

But Ehrhart argues the exemption was not initially intended to be permanent, and Delta recently reported a $2.8 billion profit for 2014.

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7:16 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

The Georgia Vs. Florida Water War Continues

The waterways of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river basin.
Credit Streamer from

The state of Georgia has fired the latest round in the decades-long water war with Florida (and sometimes, Alabama).  

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A Closer Look
5:34 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

More Delays At Plant Vogtle: A Talk With PSC Member Tim Echols

Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols speaking with WABE's Denis O'Hayer on ''A Closer Look'' at the station's studios on Jan. 30, 2015
Credit Dan Raby / WABE

On Thursday, Georgia Power and its partners in the Plant Vogtle expansion project announced they expect a delay of another 18 months before construction is completed.  

The announcement projects the first of the two new reactors will now be finished in mid-2019; the second in mid-2020.  The delays are expected to add more than a billion dollars to the total cost of the project.  

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A Closer Look
7:24 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

A Year After Snowstorm Gridlock, New DOT Chief Promises to Avoid a Repeat

This photo was taken on Jan. 29, 2014, the morning after the snowstorm hit Atlanta. Hundreds of cars remained stuck on I-85 northbound near Monroe Drive. Some metro drivers remained stranded for 12-20 hours.
Credit Denis O'Hayer / WABE

On Jan. 28, 2014, a few inches of snow and ice paralyzed metro Atlanta.  Thousands of people were stranded in their cars--many for up to an entire day.  Much of the blame for the highway nightmare fell on state transportation officials.  A year later, the state's new transportation commissioner promised the state had done a great deal in the year since, to prevent a repeat when the next storm comes.  On the Jan. 28, 2014 edition of "A Closer Look," Commissioner Russell McMurry spoke with WABE's Denis O'Hayer.


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A Closer Look
7:25 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander Discusses Lessons Learned From Ferguson

DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander in his office at headquarters in Tucker, Georgia.
Credit Denis O'Hayer / WABE

DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander has a Ph.D. in psychology, and he is leader of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).  

President Barack Obama recently tapped Alexander to serve on the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, part of the administration's efforts to "strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve."

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A Closer Look
7:47 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Progress And Challenges In The AIDS Fight: A Talk With AID Atlanta's CEO

Dr. Jose Diaz talks with WABE's Denis O'Hayer at AID Atlanta on Jan. 22, 2015.
Alison Guillory WABE

Not that many years ago, an AIDS diagnosis was considered an automatic death sentence.  But over the years, improvements in drugs, transmission prevention, and therapies have allowed many patients to live as if their disease is a chronic illness ─ not curable yet, but manageable.

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7:49 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

US Sen. David Perdue Discusses Keystone Pipeline, Upcoming Legislative Battles

Now-Senator David Perdue, R-Georgia, in a file photo of his victory celebration at the Intercontinental Hotel in Atlanta on Nov. 4, 2014.
Credit Michell Eloy / WABE


Georgia's new U.S. Senator, Republican David Perdue, has been in office less than a month.  

But he has already proposed some bills, and lined up with his party for upcoming battles with President Obama.  

WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Perdue about the President's recent State of the Union message, and whether Republicans will negotiate with him on issues from health care to the Keystone pipeline.

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7:17 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Cell Towers, Backyards And The Courts: A Talk With Roswell Mayor Jere Wood

Cellphone tower fights between companies and residents have broken out in many places around metro Atlanta.
Credit Keith Survell /

We all know the phrase, “Not in my backyard.” 

It especially applies to cell phone towers. Most of us depend on them — none of us want one next to our house.

Cellphone tower fights between companies and residents have broken out in many places around metro Atlanta. But in the City of Roswell, it went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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A Closer Look
5:56 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Students Fight Sex Trafficking In Atlanta And Around The World

Shyann Hendricks and Reza Daftarian, Atlanta International School Against Human Trafficking club organizers
Credit Twitter / WABE

When Shirley Franklin was mayor of Atlanta, a movement began to bring awareness, prevention and tougher legislation regarding the sexual exploitation of children.

In 2006, Mayor Franklin made national news with the Dear John Campaign:

When Shirley Franklin held a press conference about that Dear John Campaign she also revealed something else.

Rose Scott talks with Franklin about her personal story in this 2012 interview:

Shirley Franklin has talked about getting young people involved in advocacy work regarding human trafficking issues.

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7:07 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Lost Speeches By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Keep Surfacing

In this Aug. 28, 1963, file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
Credit File / Associated Press

In recent years, some long-missing recordings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches and interviews have come to light.

UCLA recently released a speech Dr. King gave in April 1965.

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A Closer Look
6:28 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Atlanta's Muslims And The Paris Terror Attacks: A Talk With Imam Plemon T. El-Amin

Imam Plemon T. El-Amin talks with Denis O'Hayer during an interview on Jan. 15, 2015, at the WABE studio.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

  We've all heard the questions in the days following the Paris terror attacks: Since the killers were Muslims, do other Muslims have a duty to publicly condemn what they did? And is it right or fair to demand that?  

Atlanta has been home to a growing Muslim community for many years. Some are American-born, even Atlanta natives; some came here from other lands.

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A Closer Look
7:22 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Satire After The "Charlie Hebdo" Attack: A Talk With AJC Cartoonist Mike Luckovich

Atlanta Journal-Constitution cartoonist Mike Luckovich in his office.
Credit Ryan Nabulsi / / for WABE

A week after the deadly attack on its office, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo​ published a new issue. It sold out immediately.  The cover featured yet another cartoon image of the prophet Muhammad -this time shedding a tear.  

Satirical images of the Prophet have angered many Muslims.  But perhaps all of us have at some time been upset by satire.  So, should there be limits?  

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A Closer Look
7:12 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Outgoing Emory Healthcare CEO John Fox Talks Ebola, Medicaid Expansion

John Fox, the outgoing president and CEO of Emory Healthcare, talked about Ebola and Medicaid expansion during an interview at his office on Jan. 13.
Credit Denis O'Hayer / WABE

After 16 years leading Emory Healthcare, CEO John Fox will depart Atlanta for a new job with Beaumont Health in Detroit.

In a wide-ranging conversation with WABE's Denis O'Hayer, Fox recalled his decision to accept the first Ebola patient in the United States, Dr. Kent Brantley. Two questions were critical, Fox said. “Can we really make a difference for these patients?” and “Can we do it safely?”

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7:14 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

The President and the New GOP Congress: A Talk with Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), speaking to a breakfast meeting of Cobb County Republicans at the county GOP office in Marietta; Saturday, Jan. 10, 2014
Credit Denis O'Hayer / WABE


This past November, American voters gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress.  After President Obama said he had his veto ready for GOP bills he doesn't like, there were dire predictions that the Washington gridlock of the past few years will get even worse.  

But Georgia Republican Senator Johnny Isakson insists the divided government has a chance to work, even as he promises to take on the President and campaign for his own re-election in 2016.

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3:54 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Speaker David Ralston: Law Enforcement Won't Be 'Enemy No. One'

Georgia General Assembly House Speaker Rep. David Ralston says he would not allow law enforcement officers to become ''Enemy Number One'' in discussions about body cameras and other surveillance tools.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

Yesterday, Rep. David Ralston talked with Denis O'Hayer about upcoming transportation proposals facing the Georgia General Assembly. 

Ralston also defended law enforcement officers, stating that he would not allow them to become "Enemy Number One" in discussions about body cameras and other surveillance tools. 

The speaker shared his views on controversial bills on religion and the fight over which schools should receive state money.

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