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 both a host and reporter. 

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. 

In 2014, Jim wrote and produced WABE's first news documentary in more than a decade, "Stuck in the Bluff."  He also traveled to Liberia to document the West African country's efforts to rebuild post civil-war.  

Jim is a frequent contributor to the national show Marketplace, and his reports regularly air nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, and All Things Considered.

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 unlawful practices within the Atlanta Police Department, and again in 2012 for a joint project looking at special needs students attending Clayton County schools. 

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


10:10 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Southwest Flight Attendants Asked to OK International Expansion

Southwest Airlines wants to expand to Hawaii, Alaska and internationally.

But first, the Dallas-based airline must get the OK from its flight attendants. 

In May, Southwest flight attendants rejected the airline’s offer, which would have established new rules for scheduling, pay, and per diems on international flights.   

The Associated Press reports the flight attendant union last week reached a new agreement with airline management, addressing those concerns.    

Southwest flight attendants will vote next month on the revised deal. 

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4:23 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

GSU Economist: US Politics, Global Slowdown to Influence Georgia's Recovery

Dr. Rajeev Dhawan is Director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University's Robinson College of Business
Georgia State University

Expect the US economy to go through a series of ups-and-downs for at least the next year,  Georgia State Univ. economist Dr. Rajeev Dhawan said Wednesday.

Here in Georgia, most sectors will either remain flat or see tepid growth, he said.  

“In the last five months, our export growth has really slowed,” Dhawan said during his quarterly economic forecast.  

Exports used to be the “shining star” of the state’s economy, outpacing the national average. But Dhawan said Europe isn’t buying as many Georgia-built aircraft, vehicles, or even paper.

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12:07 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Emory PoliSci Guru Says Paul Ryan as VP is "Unlikely" to Sway the Election

2012 Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan
Credit Jose Luis Magana / AP

  In what is expected to be a tight race for President, could VP candidate Paul Ryan be the key to a Romney win?

“Usually vice presidential candidates don’t make that much difference,” says Emory University's Alan Abramowitz. 

The political scientist is well-known for his study of presidential elections.  He’s even built a model that’s eerily accurate at predicting the winner.

But he says it's rare that a VP choice will swing many votes.  Even in Paul Ryan's home state of Wisconsin, Abramowitz says having Ryan on the ticket will have little impact. 

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1:38 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Cinnabon Takes on Pizza?

If it looks like pizza and tastes like pizza, it has to be a... Cinnabon?

Every mall-goer knows the smell of Cinnabon rolls just out of the oven. 

Now, the Atlanta-based chain is trying something different.  Pizza.

"When the Pizzabon was first pitched to me by our R&D team, I thought they were nuts,” says Cinnabon president.

But it didn’t take long for her to warm up to a pizza-fied version of the company’s bread-and-butter product.  

The initial Pizzabon is like a sweet take on the traditional pepperoni pizza -- no anchovies though. 

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Health & Science
12:01 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Dozens of Metro Atlanta Hospitals Will Pay Penalties for Readmission Rates

Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital is one of only a handful of Georgia hospitals to face no Medicare readmission penalty.

More than 2,000 hospitals all across the US will soon pay a penalty based on the number of Medicare patients they re-admit. 

New data from Kaiser Health News show that includes some 40 metro Atlanta hospitals.

The penalty goes into effect in October as part of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), designed to save some of the $17.5 billion dollars spent each year on Medicare readmissions.

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5:21 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Atlanta Life Leaves Auburn Ave. for One Ninety One Peachtree Tower

Atlanta Life Financial Group will occupy the 25th and 26th floors at One Ninety One Peachtree Tower
Courtesy: Central Atlanta Progress

An icon on Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue is moving.

The Atlanta Life Financial Group has inked a deal with Atlanta-based Cousins Properties to lease space at One Ninety One Peachtree Tower.

“Heading back to Peachtree is a homecoming," said Atlanta Life president William Taggart.

That's because a century ago, what’s now Atlanta Life Financial Group moved from 66 Peachtree Street to Auburn Avenue.

But the company only occupied about 30% of that building.  

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Health & Science
6:39 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

HIV Prevention Drug OK for Heterosexuals, CDC Says

Truvada, a pill currently used to treat HIV, can help prevent transmission among heterosexuals.

On Thursday, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out with its first treatment guidelines for that purpose.

The CDC only recommends Truvada as a prevention tool for those who are HIV-negative, undergo regular testing, and commit to taking the pill every day.

The retail cost is about $1,000 a month. 

The CDC came out with similar guidelines for gay and bisexual men more than a year ago.

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Health & Science
4:29 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

CDC Continues to Monitor Uptick in H3N2v Cases

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely watching a string of influenza called H3N2(v). 

The number of confirmed cases has increased exponentially in the past week.

Last year, only 12 cases were reported. 

As of Wednesday, the CDC had confirmed 146—none of which are in Georgia.

Almost all happened in the past week in Indiana, although Illinois and Ohio are also reporting an uptick.  

But is the increase cause for concern?

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5:42 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Southwest Offers Apology, Travel Vouchers to Overcharged Customers

Southwest Airlines says it’s found and fixed a computer glitch that last week caused some passengers to be charged more than 20 times for one ticket.

The airline also says it's refunded the overcharges, although it could be days before the money makes it into customers' accounts.   

Aside from reimbursing overdraft fees, Southwest said on Sunday it would not compensate travelers. 

Less than 24-hours later, the airline reversed course. 

Read more
11:39 am
Sun August 5, 2012

No Plans to Compensate Penniless Customers, Southwest Says

[Note:  Story updated to reflect change in Southwest's position on compensating overcharged passengers]

Southwest Airlines does not plan to offer any additional compensation to customers affected by a mishap that left an untold number of passengers charged up to dozens of times for one reservation, Southwest spokeswoman Ashley Dillon told WABE Sunday. [The following day, the airline said it would compensate passengers with a $150 travel voucher.]

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5:05 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Supporters of Gay Marriage Hold Kiss-Ins, Protests at Chick-Fil-A Restaurants

Paul Beauchamp protests outside of the Decatur Chick-Fil-A Friday.
Ifeanyi Awachie WABE News

At Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the nation and here in Atlanta, gay marriage supporters gathered in protest. 

They say the chain’s president,  Dan Cathy, is on the wrong side of the gay marriage debate. 

In front of the downtown Decatur location, a few dozen demonstrators carried home-made signs as others kissed. 

For Paul Beuchamp, this protest has been years in the making.

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3:10 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Silver Airways Bets on Turboprops, Small Markets

Silver flies a turbo-prop only fleet of Saab 340-B aircraft, which feature noise-cancelling technology for a quieter cabin.

More than a decade ago, airlines ran away from turboprops in favor of regional jets.

But in today’s environment of $100 a barrel oil, carriers can’t ditch the gas-guzzling jets quickly enough.

That’s why Silver Airways says it can make money by bringing back the turboprop, says Silver’s Matthew Holliday:

“The Saab turboprop consumes approximately 60% less fuel per hour than a 70-seat regional jet.  That allows us to keep our costs down.”

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2:34 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

CDC Issues West Nile Warning

Cases of the West Nile Virus are spiking, prompting the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a warning about the mosquito-born illness.

The CDC reports 241 cases of West Nile across the US. 

About two-thirds of involve neuroinvasive disease, explains the CDC’s Stephanie Yendell.

“That’s disease that is an infection that causes a swelling of the lining of the brain or a swelling of the brain itself.  This is the largest number of cases that we’ve seen of this since 2004 as of this time of year.”

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5:43 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Drive-thru Lines Long in Atlanta for "Support Chick-Fil-A Day"

The debate over Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s public comments against gay marriage took to the drive-thru Wednesday.

The unsanctioned, unofficial “Support Chick-Fil-A Day” seemed to have a lot of backers in Metro Atlanta.  

Roger Jones of Newnan said both of that town's Chick-Fil-A stores were packed.  Someone posted a video to YouTube of a busy Douglasville location. 

At the Chick-Fil-A on the corner of Piedmont and Sidney Marcus in Buckhead, the drive-thru line was backed up into the street.

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9:33 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

Ga NAACP Asks for Federal Investigation into G-DOT

In a letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder, Ga NAACP chapter president Edward DuBose says the Georgia Department of Transportation engages in "willful" acts of discrimination against African-American and other minority-owned businesses.  

DuBose says G-DOT's own internal audit confirms the charges, and asks for the Department of Justice to investigate. 

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3:38 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Thirty Atlanta-based Employees Affected by Delta's Closure of Comair

A Comair CRJ-100ER sits at the gate in Jacksonville, FL. Delta is moving away from small, gas-guzzling regional jets.

Delta Air Lines Friday announced it will shut down its regional subsidiary Comair.

The decision comes as Delta weans itself from small, expensive regional jets. 

Comair operates as a “Delta Connection” carrier mostly out of the Cincinnati area, and has some of the airline’s oldest and least-efficient 50-seat jets, Delta says. 

In a letter to employees, Comair president Ryan Grumm called the decision an unfortunate necessity in a challenging industry and economy.

Aviation consultant Mike Boyd agrees.

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4:19 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

T-SPLOST Would Provide New Control Tower for Cobb Co. Airport

An air traffic controller monitors traffic at Cobb County's McCullom Field. At times, controllers have difficulty seeing the end of the runway.
Jim Burress WABE News

On Tuesday, Metro Atlantans will go to the polls to vote on a proposed transportation sales tax also known as T-SPLOST.

WABE News is looking at the proposed tax from various angles.

While most attention has been on roadway and transit improvements, there’s a small component that’s gone largely unnoticed.  Aviation.

Cobb County’s Airport, McCollum Field, has two projects on metro Atlanta’s final T-SPLOST list.   

Read more
12:01 pm
Sun July 22, 2012

Delta Matches Fare Hike

Delta Air Lines

It’s been three months since airlines have attempted a domestic fare increase, but on Friday, United Airlines tested the waters by adding between $4 and $10 per domestic round trip ticket.

Delta and US Airways have since followed. 

But Rick Seaney, CEO of the website FareCompare.com, says it’s a coin-flip whether other airlines will also adjust their prices.  And that coin rests in the hands of Southwest Airlines.

Read more
5:08 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Fed Beige Book says Atlanta Region Growing at "Modest" Rate

The Federal Reserve Board Wednesday released its “Beige Book,”—a snapshot of economic strength in each of the Fed’s 12 regions.

For the Atlanta district, growth was “modest.” 

Retail sales were up, but consumers are spending cautiously.   

Auto dealers report strong sales.  

Manufacturing is also on the increase, but at a slower pace than the region saw earlier this year.

Across the US, travel and tourism shined as the brightest sector.  In the Atlanta region, both hotel occupancy and room rates are on the increase.

12:46 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Fulton Co. Voters Find Problems With Ballots

This month’s election will be the first since the state re-drew voting districts earlier this year.

It's those new district lines that are causing Fulton County election officials some problems. 

When Ansley Park resident Harry Harkins' voter registration card arrived, it had him assigned to the wrong district.  And that bothered him. 

“In my particular district, there’s a contested race for my state representative.  It’s a hotly-contested race and I want my vote to count,” he says. 

Read more
"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
5:44 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

NAACP Encourages Black Churches to Address HIV Infection Rates as Civil Rights Issue

This Sunday at African-American churches all over the US, pastors will address HIV infection rates within the Black community.

It’s part of a drive from the NAACP to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic’s disproportionate impact on African-Americans.

African-Americans represent about 14 percent of the population in the U.S., yet they account for 44 percent of the country’s new infections.    

That’s why Shavon Arline-Bradley, Director of the NAACP Health Department, says HIV is a civil rights issue.  And the church has a role in addressing it. 

Read more
12:00 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Parents of Atlanta Olympian Struggle to Find Tickets

Atlantan Tim Hornsby has qualified for the 2012 London Olympics.
Courtesy: Timhornsby.net

A year after sprint kayaking came to Atlanta with the ’96 Olympic Games, 11-year old Tim Hornsby began learning the sport.

"You just go from 'point-A' to 'point-B' as fast as you can," explains his mother, Patti.  "And it’s just a pure race of speed, kind of similar to track, but on the water.”

Tim barely missed a spot on the US team in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But at age 25, he qualified for the London games in May. 

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11:24 am
Sun July 1, 2012

Delta Plans WiFi on International Flights

Courtesy: Delta Airlines


Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines plans to expand its in-flight Wi-Fi service to international flights, the airline has announced. 

Delta currently offers Wi-Fi internet on domestic routes.   A series of land-based transmitters carries the signal, which makes transmission across vast oceans impossible.

But the new technology uses satellites.

Delta says it’s working with its current vendor, GoGo Inflight Internet, to roll out the service.

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2:58 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Governor Calls on Lawmakers to Lower Legal Blood Alcohol Limit for Boating, Hunting

Courtesy: DailyBoater.com

Gwinnett County police will join state  Dept. of Natural Resource officers this weekend on patrol around Lake Lanier.  

The beefed up patrols will target those boating under the influence. 

The extra manpower comes as attention to Georgia’s boating under the influence law is on the increase, due partly to a fatal June 18th incident on Lake Lanier.  An alleged drunk boater crashed into another vessel on the lake, killing 13-year-old Griffin Prince and his brother. 

Governor Nathan Deal now says he will urge state lawmakers to change Georgia’s legal limit.

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4:24 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Gov. Deal Says Ga Will Hold Off Making Key Healthcare Decisions

Although the Affordable Care Act now moves forward as legislated, Governor Nathan Deal Thursday said the state will continue to hold off on making key decisions. 

One involves expanding Medicaid to include 620,000 additional Georgians.

The Supreme Court ruling allows states to resist the federal government’s call to increase the Medicaid rolls. 

But no increase means no new federal money.

Read more
6:35 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Mayor, LGBT Leaders Discuss Same-Sex Marriage Behind Closed Doors

A Facebook page challenging Mayor Kasim Reed to follow President Obama's position on gay marriage now has more than 4,000 supporters.

Many in Atlanta’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities continue to call on Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to endorse same-sex marriage.

Wednesday afternoon, the mayor met with LGBT leaders behind closed doors to talk about his position.

One of those involved in the meeting was Charlie Stadtlander, who organized a Facebook petition challenging Reed’s position on same sex marriage.  It now has more than 4,000 members.

Read more
3:49 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

APD Gets Grant to Hire Veterans

The Atlanta Police Department plans to hire 15 military veterans, thanks partly to a $1.8- million federal grant.

The grant stipulates the city must throw in another $966,000. 

That’s enough to fund the officers for three years.  After that, paying for the positions is up to the city.

APD is now accepting applications for the openings.  The only stipulations are veterans must have served on active duty for at least 180 consecutive days.  Part of that window must include September 11th, 2001 or later.  An honorable discharge is also necessary.  

Read more
5:44 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Has Clayton County's "Virtual" Alternative School Failed Troubled Students?


Clayton County spent all school year trying an experiment. They issued their most challenged students a laptop. Sent them home. And hoped the children would learn.

Monday evening, administrators are scheduled to update the school board on how the program worked.

But some parents, teachers, students and outside experts are convinced that the “alternative virtual academy” came at a high cost to low-performing students.

Chandra Thomas-Whitfield reports.

(verbatim of script is below.  To hear this story's audio, click "Listen" above)


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Shots - Health Blog
1:14 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Dropping Legal Barriers Doesn't Guarantee Interstate Insurance Sales

Small business owner Brian Mayfield has been eager for less expensive health insurance options. It looks like he'll have to wait a little longer.
Jim Burress WABE, Atlanta

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 7:05 pm

Starting next week, any health insurer licensed in Georgia can sell policies it offers in other states to Georgians. That includes policies that don't meet minimum standards for coverage in Georgia.

They'll be OK for sale under a new state law that aims to increase competition and lower prices for health insurance in the state.

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Around the Nation
5:13 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Georgia To Begin Sales Of Cross-State Health Insurance Policies

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 4:57 pm



We're expecting soon to learn Supreme Court decisions on two gigantic cases. One case involves the Arizona immigration law. The federal government has challenged that law as an intrusion into federal authority.


Justices are also deciding the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law. The main challenge is to the individual mandate, which after 2014 would require most people to get health insurance or pay a fine.

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