H. Randolph Holder was born November 14, 1916, in Moline, Illinois. He attended Augustana College, and stayed in Rock Island, Illinois, to work at the WHBF radio station. During this time, he married Clementi Lacey-Baker.
In 1941, he entered the army and was part of the forces that landed in Oran and fought in North Africa. He was captured by German troops, February 1943, and interned at the Oflag 64 prisoner-of-war camp in Szubin, Poland. After three failed attempts, Holder escaped on January 23, 1945, and made his way back to U. S. troops via Russia, Egypt, and Italy. He wrote about this in the book, Escape to Russia. After the war, he served in the Army Reserve for over twenty years, retiring as a major. He received multiple honors for his military service including the Bronze Star Medal with valor.
He returned to radio after the war with positions at several stations before moving to Athens in 1948 to become news director and part owner of WRFC. He and a partner bought the Clarke Broadcasting Company, including WGAU, in 1956. Holder served as president of the Clarke Broadcasting Company until 1990 and then as chairman of the board until his death in 2002.
Holder had many leadership positions in professional broadcasting associations and committees at the state and national levels. In 1993, he was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame; in 2009, to the Georgia Radio Museum and Hall of Fame.
Besides Holder’s professional accomplishments, he was an active member of the Athens community, giving his time, energies, and leadership to organizations as varied as the Boy Scouts, the Chamber of Commerce, the Athens Symphony, the Rotary Club, the Athens Parks and Recreation Department, the Georgia Museum of Art, veterans’ groups, and local chapters of the Red Cross, the Georgia Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society.
In the Athens area, many remember the two signature catch phrases he used when broadcasting: “It’s a lovely day to be in Athens”; and, “Keep smiling until 10 o’clock, and the rest of the day will take care of itself.”