George W. Fee
In 1941, at the age of 16, George Fee came to Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base (with his parents’ required authorization) as an Army recruit and soon shipped out with the 81st Airborne to North Africa, his entry into WWII. When the war ended, he married and, in the mid 1950’s, moved his family to the Temple Terrace area of Tampa and took a sales job with WALT Radio. A few years later came a promotion to the position of station manager.
It was about this time that the Norfolk, VA native heard of two Orlando stations, WLOF and WHOO, who were tearing up the market by playing a restricted list of songs determined by Billboard and Cash-Box magazines. With WALT program director Bob Walters in tow, Fee made a trip to O-town to check it out. That trip resulted in the hiring of programming genius Roy Nilson from WHOO.
It was under Nilson’s guidance in 1958 that the station became the first radio outlet in Tampa Bay to adopt a Top 40 format (WTSP would change to WLCY the next year and become its chief competitor). Ironically, Nilson would leave WALT for WLCY a few years later. Eventually, around 1962, Fee left the radio business for real estate development and construction, and public office, but returned as WALT’s station manager for a brief period in 1968 and 1969.
As a developer, he helped transform the city’s topography from orange groves and dirt roads into neighborhoods with paved and lighted streets that he named after relatives, friends, and favored politicians. After the last of his six consecutive two-year terms as mayor of Temple Terrace (1962-1974), he continued contributing to the community, playing an instrumental role in founding the Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce (serving as its president for a short term); serving as a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI); serving on the executive board for the Florida League of Cities, and the Temple Terrace Steering Committee and Code Enforcement Board. In 2013, the Temple Terrace Chamber recognized him as its ‘Outstanding Citizen of the Year’ for 1974-1975.
After a lifetime of service, pioneer Temple Terrace civic leader George W. Fee passed away February 1, 2017 at the age of 93.
1955 - 1958 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Sales)
1958 - 1962 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)
1968 - 1969 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)