Kordecki receives Ga. Radio Hall of Fame distinction
by Marie Nesmith
Apr 03, 2013 | 1330 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Known for his contributions to Cartersville’s arts community, the late Don Kordecki will be honored by The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame as a 2013 Legacy inductee.

“When we founded the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, we decided that we would induct Georgia radio professionals in two categories,” said John Long, president of The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. “One for persons no longer living and the other for living radio professionals. The ones who are no longer living are the Legacy and the current or living ones are Career Achievement.

“And the Legacy inductees, they’re people who made a difference, not just in the radio business at a local level or a national level or a regional level or a state level, but also people who contributed to their community in some way. In other words, it’s one thing just to have a job. It’s another to do something extra. And those are the things we look at when the board [selects] the Legacy inductees.”

To be instated at the seventh annual Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony Oct. 19, Kordecki — who passed away in 2010 at the age of 78 — will join eight other Legacy honorees: Palmyra Braswell, George Crumbley, Jimmy Dunaway, Al Evans Jr., John Holliman, Royal Marshall, Leonard Postero and Annie Lee Small.

Born in Chicago, Kordecki was employed at WBIE in Marietta prior to moving to Cartersville to operate radio station WKRW in 1961.

According to a press release from The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, “During his ownership of WKRW, Kordecki was named 1967 Georgia Broadcaster Citizen of the Year and in 1977 WKRW won the Best National News Story award from The Associated Press. Kordecki operated the station for 20 years, and after selling, it began serving the community full time.”

Credited by many of his peers for Cartersville’s thriving arts scene, Kordecki’s ties to the local theater community started in 1961.

At a time when the local arts offerings consisted of a music club and an arts gallery, Kordecki was selected by the Cartersville mayor to serve on a committee charged with “bringing the arts to the community.” After performing “Our Town” in the early 1960s, he helped form the Dramateurs. Then Kordecki and his wife, Ollene, were two of four individuals who founded The Pumphouse Players in April 1975.

“Art is the future,” Kordecki told The Daily Tribune News in 2008 about the importance of establishing a strong visual and performing arts community. “When you look at any civilization, and you ask how do we identify the civilization, it is through the arts. I have a little sign that says without art in Cartersville and Bartow we would live in Cersville and Bow. Art is the heart of the community and it represents our lives.”

Recognized for overseeing The Grand’s renovation in 1988 from a movie house to a performing arts venue, the Cartersville resident was serving as the venue’s technical director at the time of his passing. His acting, directing and technical talents also have been featured in productions of the Dramateurs, Red Top Mountain Players, The Pumphouse Players, The Cartersville City Ballet, The Pumped Up Players and the Grand Theatre Opera Company.

Through the years, Kordecki also assisted various local organizations, such as the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Cultural Arts Alliance of Cartersville-Bartow County Inc. and Bartow County Library Board of Trustees. Some of his achievements included Cartersville Jaycee Young Man of the Year in 1963, helped form the Georgia Theatre Conference in 1965 and president of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce in 1968.

“I’m sure daddy would have been thrilled by it,” said Kordecki’s daughter, Patty Stringer, referring to him being honored as a Legacy inductee. “I know he attended the awards ceremony when his former boss and mentor Jim Wilder was inducted a few years ago. So I know he would just be thrilled to be included among the other [inductees].

“... He [had] a great impact not only on Cartersville and Bartow County arts but as the founder of the Georgia Theatre Conference and his involvement all across the state in the arts. He had a tremendous impact, especially on community theater and [the] schools.”