Jim Burress

Host of Weekend Edition/Reporter


Jim Burress is a proud native of Louisville, Kentucky. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Wabash College in Indiana, and a master’s in Mass Communication from Murray State University.  That's where Jim started his public radio career (WKMS-FM). 

Jim moved to Atlanta to work on his PhD, but after a year away from reporting, he realized he preferred the newsroom to the classroom.  He came to WABE in the spring of 2008, where he’s a reporter and host.

As a licensed pilot, Jim loves to fly single-engine Cessna airplanes. His interest in aviation is why you’ll likely hear him report a lot on the commercial aviation industry.   As a Kaiser Health News/NPR fellow, Jim also covers healthcare and healthcare policy for WABE. 

Jim is a regular contributor to the national show Marketplace, and his reports have aired nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered,  and Day to Day.

Jim has won numerous professional awards, including 1st place honors from both the Kentucky and Georgia Associated Press and several regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.  In 2010, the Atlanta Press Club awarded Jim its radio “Award of Excellence” for his reporting on the Atlanta Police Department, and again in 2012 for a joint project looking at Clayton County schools. 

But Jim's biggest prize came in 2001 when he won it all on the game show, "The Price is Right." 


12:52 pm
Sun June 24, 2012

National Museum of Commercial Aviation Closer to Building New Campus

An artist rendering shows the museum's first building, modeled after a vintage airport terminal.
Courtesy: National Museum of Commercial Aviation

After years of careful planning and fundraising, officials with the National Museum of Commercial Aviation are ready to tout its expansion. 

Right now, the museum is housed is in a temporary location in Forrest Park.

But over the next few years, a new campus will begin to take shape adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson’s new International terminal.

At its annual gala this weekend, the museum announced a one-year, $350,000 public capital campaign.  FedEx, already a large supporter of the museum, donated $25,000 to the efforts.  A benefactor added another $20,000.

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1:29 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Finalist for Citizen Review Board Pulled from Consideration

Holly Wiseman, once the ACRB's choice for Executive Director, is no longer a finalist.


The Atlanta Citizen Review Board Thursday released its finalist list for its open executive director position. 


Initially, a press release included four finalists' names. 

An hour later, and amended list included just three. 

Holly Wiseman of New Orleans apparently pulled her name from consideration.  

In April, the ACRB picked Wiseman as its top candidate.  But questions surfaced about how the body handled the application process. And ultimately, the board reopened the search.

3:05 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

GDOT presents new high speed rail plan


A new report says a 750-mile high-speed rail line connecting much of the Southeast is financially feasible.

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Health & Science
5:28 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Fewer Georgians on Wait-list for HIV Medication

Five-hundred and three HIV-positive Georgians who can’t pay for their medicine remain on a wait-list for treatment. 

That’s the second-longest wait-list in the U.S.

But it's a marked improvement compared to a year ago, when Georgia's  AIDS Drug Assistance Program wait list stood at about 1,700.

A one-time federal cash infusion helped stabilize the numbers. 

More recently, the new federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan has taken hundreds off the waitlist. 

Read more
5:17 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Atlanta Hospitals Responsive to LGBT Concerns, Survey Finds


Atlanta’s hospitals and healthcare facilities do a good job of ensuring equitable and fair treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients.

That’s the finding of the latest Human Rights Campaign “Healthcare Quality Index.”

The Feminist Women’s Health Center, the 12 Grady Health System facilities and Piedmont Hospital received perfect scores—a seven out of seven.

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11:30 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Delta pilots vote on pay increase contract

Delta Air Lines’ pilots are now voting on a new contract and the deal gives pilots an immediate pay raise.

The contract would take Delta’s 12-thousand pilots through 2015.

Over the life of the agreement, pilots would see between $54,000 and $110,000 in extra compensation.

In a letter to members, Delta’s union chair Tim O’Malley admits those numbers are lower than many had hoped for.

But he says issues like sick leave and reserve work rules make the contract as a whole a good one.

If approved, the contract takes effect July 1st. 

11:09 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Red Snapper moratorium to be lifted in Georgia

For more than two years now, there’s been a moratorium on Red Snapper Fishing off the Southeast coast.  But it appears anglers will soon be able to fish the species once again.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted 12-1 to allow limited red snapper fishing in the South Atlantic, including off coastal Georgia.

A 2010 fishing moratorium allowed the dwindling Red Snapper population to rebound. 

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10:08 am
Sat June 16, 2012

Hair Weave Heists No Laughing Matter, Expert Says

Lexi's Beauty Supply on Ponce de Leon was hit by smash-and-grab criminals last October. Since then, she's increased security measures.
Jim Burress WABE News


This week on Marketplace, you may have heard a story about smash-and-grab burglars who are after one thing—hair extensions.

But Is fake hair just the next hot commodity?  And if it is, why?

Neal Lester, who is an English professor at Arizona State, talked to WABE about the issue.  He studies the African-American politics and culture, including the importance of hair. 

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Health & Science
11:34 pm
Sun June 10, 2012

Health Insurers Not Interested in Georgia's New Law

A state law takes effect July 1st that allows out-of-state health plans to sell insurance to Georgians.  

And although we're just weeks away from that date,  it appears unlikely a single resident will benefit.


No insurance companies have applied to participate in the program.

That's a surprise to many Republicans in state government, who trumpeted the idea as a way to drive down health insurance costs by applying free-market principles.  

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4:47 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Latinos in Georgia Face Growing Health Disparities, Report Finds

Georgia’s Hispanic population has increased 800 percent since 1990.  

And along with that growth comes ever-widening disparities related to Latinos' access to healthcare.

That’s the finding of the Georgia Latino Health Report, released Thursday by the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia and Emory University.

Why an increase in health-related disparities?

There are two main reasons, the study finds. 

The “Great Recession” has cost many their jobs—and as a result, health insurance.

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3:48 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Gwinnett Co. Commissioners Called On to Table Airport Vote

Brett Smith, head of Propeller Investments, addresses media at Briscoe Field Monday. He called on the Gwinnett County Commission to table a vote on privatizing the airport until all commission seats are filled.
Jim Burress WABE News

A final vote on whether to privatize Briscoe Field in Gwinnett County is scheduled for today.

Monday afternoon, the company wanting to bring commercial air service to Briscoe Field called on the Gwinnett County Commission to hold off on that vote. 

The request comes after Commissioner Shirley Lassiter admitted she accepted bribes, and abruptly resigned.

That’s left the council one person short.

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City Café
1:43 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Atlanta's Fake Resturanteurs Wish You "Bon Rappetite"

Bon Rappetite is the world’s first hip hop restaurant.” That’s how BonRappetite.com explains the Atlanta dining concept. Good idea, eh? This might disappoint foodies – and hip hop moguls – alike. Bon Rappetite isn’t really a restaurant.  It’s a joke.   But it is growing into a world-wide sensation, as WABE’s Jim Burress found when he spoke with Everett Steele and wife Bunny McIntosh.

7:16 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Self-proclaimed Punsters Publish "Bon Rappetite," the Hip-Hop Cookbook

“Bon Rappetite is the world’s first hip hop restaurant.  Featuring a delicious menu that caters to the ballers,” is how BonRappetite.com explains the Atlanta dining concept.

Good idea, eh?

Much to the disappointment of foodies and hip-hop moguls alike,  Bon Rappetite isn’t really a restaurant. 

It’s a joke.   

But it is growing into a world-wide sensation, says Everett Steele and wife Bunny McIntosh.

Read more
9:59 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Chattahoochee Named #3 Most Endangered River in US

The Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper says Hall County's Glades Reservoir could all but dry up this fragile part of the river.
Jim Burress WABE News

It’s a perfect, sunny day at the Lula boat ramp in Hall County.  

Jason Ulseth  of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper pulls up anchor and starts the boat’s engine, bound for a small opening upstream.

He’s the Riverkeeper’s technical programs director.  Today, he’s also captain.

“The name of the game is ‘Avoid the Rocks,’” Ulseth says--half smiling, fully serious. 

It's no easy task, as evidenced by his constant, schizophrenic turning of the steering wheel, which he works like he's playing a video game.  

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7:25 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

NAACP Picks Georgia to Launch National Voting Campaign

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous addresses supporters at Clark Atlanta University Wednesday
Jim Burress WABE News

In the last presidential election, minorities turned out to the polls in record numbers.

But since then, the NAACP says the voting rights of minorities across the US have been under attack.

To counter what they say is a growing trend towards disenfranchisement,  leaders Wednesday unveiled the “This is My Vote” campaign at Clark-Atlanta University.  

"If you have email... register someone to vote," Rev. Dr. William Barber, an NAACP board member, told the small crowd. 

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3:12 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Robert Champion's Parents Say Hazing Penalties Not Stiff Enough

Pam and Robert Champion, Sr. hold the drum major hat their son wore. Robert Champion, Jr. died after a hazing incident involving the Florida A&M University "Marching 100."
Jim Burress WABE

The parents of Robert Champion -- the Florida A&M University drum major from DeKalb County who died after a hazing ritual -- say the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

Wednesday, prosecutors in Florida charged 13 people in Robert Champion’s death.  Eleven face felony charges with a maximum penalty of six years in prison.   Two others face misdemeanors.

In an interview with NPR Friday, Champion’s mother, Pam, said  her son’s death needs to send a stronger message.

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6:03 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Rents Rising Faster in Atlanta than National Average

As metro-Atlanta housing values continue to plummet, rental rates are on their way up.

Nationwide, rents increased 4.4% in the first quarter to an average of $865 a month, according to a new TransUnion report.  

But Atlanta outpaced the national trend, says Steve Roe, a vice president with TransUnion’s rental screening division.

“Atlanta was really the only market that saw a significant rise.  It increased over 6%.”

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2:25 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Delta Enjoys Improved Q1 Despite Net Loss

Delta Air Lines says the 1st Quarter of 2012 was the best it’s had in more than a decade.  

Revenues were up 9%, compared to last year.

Even so, the Atlanta-based carrier reported a net loss of $39-million for the March quarter, excluding special items.  Factoring in special items--mainly gains in fuel hedges--the airline earned $124-million. 

During Wednesday's investor conference call, CEO Richard Anderson said that’s a huge improvement over last year.

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4:19 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Severe weather not as severe in Georgia

Forecasters predict a slight possibility of severe storms tonight.

But the weather is not expected to be anywhere near as bad as it’s  been to our west. 

Alabama often gets rocked with relentless storms, but crossing the Georgia line seems to steal their thunder—literally.

“The reason is the timing of the storms.”

James St. John is a research scientist at Georgia Tech who specializes in meteorology. 

“For some reason, they seem to usually cross the Georgia border in the evening—7,8,9PM—after the maximum heating of the day.”

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3:43 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Atlanta Citizen Review Board narrows executive director search

The ACRB is close to choosing someone to fill its executive director spot after 160 people applied for job vacated when Christina Beamud resigned out of frustration.

The Atlanta Citizen Review Board will soon pick a new Executive Director.  Last night, finalists for the position answered board member’s and the public’s questions.

One-hundred and sixty people applied for the executive director job, vacated when Christina Beamud resigned out of frustration.

Now, the board must decide between four finalists. 

Valerie Bell-Smith has worked for the City of Atlanta for twenty years, most recently in public relations.

Read more
10:47 am
Sat March 3, 2012

North Georgia Cleans Up After Strong Storms, Possible Tornado

Paulding and Haralson Counties sustained the most damage from Saturday night's storm. This home, in Buchanan, appears destroyed.
Courtesy of John Gerard 11Alive.com/WXIA-TV


As the sun rose Saturday, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency began a busy morning assessing storm damage all across North Georgia.

“We’ve had reports of downed trees, and power lines,[and] blocked roads.  We expect to see a lot of debris,” GEMA spokeswoman Lisa Janak told WABE News. 

While Janak couldn’t confirm if a tornado hit  Paulding County, she did say that part of the metro area sustained the most damage.  

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The 5:44
5:39 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Ron Paul's Campaign in Georgia Stays Grassroots

Ben Mihalski proudly displays his Ron Paul campaign buttons.
Jim Burress WABE News

Ron Paul doesn't have an official campaign office in Georgia.  He hasn't visited the state, and he probably won't.   But that doesn't stop a growing group of supporters who believe Ron Paul absolutely can win Georgia's primary, and the GOP nomination. 

(To hear story, click play button)

4:52 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Fired APD Officer Who Said Gay Sex is Violent: "I didn't mean anything by it."

Jeremy Edwards was fired for lying to investigators about the 2009 Atlanta Eagle Raid. Friday, he asked the Civil Service Board to reinstate him.
Jim Burress WABE News

Host: An Atlanta police officer fired for making untruthful statements during an investigation into the 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a Midtown gay bar, today said he never lied.

Edwards: "I want the truthfulness [findings] to be set aside, because it's clear at no point was I untruthful. And I want my job back."

Host: Thirty-one year old Jeremy Edwards asked the city's Civil Service Board to reinstate him, and to wipe away a 10-day suspension.

WABE's Jim Burress was the only reporter at the hearing, and has this report.

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Oh Clap!
6:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Oh Clap! CDC Warns Gonorrhea Could Become Resistant to Antibiotics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea could one day become untreatable, and that the public should be concerned.

Gonorrhea has a long history of developing antibiotic resistance.

In the 1940s, it happened with antibiotic sulfa-drugs.

By the 1980s, the STD also developed resistance to penicillin and tetracycline.

As recent as 2007, fluoroquinolones lost effectiveness.

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Del Taco
11:26 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Del Taco Tries Atlanta. Again.

The Mexican fast-food chain Del Taco is expanding into the Atlanta market.

Wednesday, the chain opened a store in Snellville, the first of 60 restaurants planned for the metro area.

But it's not the first time Del Taco's tried Atlanta.

CEO Paul Murphy says when the chain first came to Atlanta in the 90s, it shared space with Mrs. Winner's Chicken.

That turned out to be a not-so-great business model.

"Quite frankly, not all co-branding efforts work as well as others," Murphy says.

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