Interview by Mary Evelyn Brock, Abernathy Cochran intern and upcoming University of Georgia junior
Meet Martha Zoller! Martha is a media personality on local radio station accessWDUN. She is married to Dr. Lin Zoller and they have four children.
Martha moved to Gainesville in 1991. She attended the University of Georgia and received a journalism degree then went back to get her masters degree in American Politics in 2016.
We want to thank Martha for recently spending time with us and telling us more about her life and love of Hall County.
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “I graduated with a journalism degree, but when I got out of college the economy was really bad. I ended up staying with a company I worked with during college, Rich’s, which is now Macy’s. I became a buyer and I traveled, and it was a fabulous 10 years. After I got married and moved to Gainesville, I started listening to talk radio and becoming more conservative politically…So, I called up to WDUN and told them some of my thoughts, I never thought about going into radio, I was a production major and thought I would be behind the microphone. Over time I got invited to come do and show and people liked me, so it started to grow. I got a great opportunity to do radio in Gainesville while working around my family. Around the time my kids started driving, I started working more and I left to run for Congress and then I worked for another station for a short time. I helped David Purdue get elected and worked for him for four years and then helped Governor Kemp get elected and worked for him for about a year. When the opportunity came to come back (to WDUN) I really wanted to slow my life down, which hasn’t happened, but I wanted to be closer to home because I was traveling all over the state.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “2 Dog, they have such a great small business story and I like how it is never the same there.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Hall County and why?
A: “John Jacobs Jr. He was a visionary; he was like the Bill Gates of Gainesville and he saw how communication was coming and was going to go to the masses and he brought cable to Gainesville and had a radio station and created a lot of things for that.
“Also, Frank Norton is a visionary and can always see 10 steps ahead, and I love that about him.”
Q: What is your favorite childhood memory?
A: “I got a Tony the Pony for Christmas when I was four years old. It was a battery operated horse that you could ride around, and I loved that. I was an oops baby, so my parents and I had a lot of time together, especially with my dad was great.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
A: “I would go to a small village in the UK. I love it there and we travel there frequently. I love the community nature of it.”
Q: What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “’Sound of Music’ at 6 years old”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “I think the most important thing for people to do is to reach outside their comfort zone and talk to people that don’t necessarily agree with them. Also, to be easier about the people you interact with. I think people think that just because I do talk radio, I am looking for a fight all the time, but I’m not. And I think that if you listen to me over the years, you’ll get that. People used to call me the velvet hammer because I would get to the hard stuff but start out with something softer or something in common and finish the same way. Because of that I have good relationships with prominent democrats even if we don’t agree on issues because we respect each other. “
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “A lot more travel. My children have traveled a lot and we have traveled some and taking care of grandkids, but that goes without saying.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “I’m a huge Beatles fan everyone knows that. I have seen Paul McCartney I don’t know how many times. He’s our favorite, but our second is The Moody Blues. I like music in general and listen to a lot of different stuff.”
Q: What local business makes you the most nostalgic about Hall County and why?
A: “Lancaster Music because I love the idea of a music store. I used to spend hours in there. My son is a musician and I love to sing. I love public libraries too. I just think it is a great equalizer of people. As a kid, I would spend hours there growing up. My mom would drop me off in the morning and I would stay there all day long.
Q: Choosing anyone (past or present and a non-relative), with whom would you love to have lunch? And where locally would you have this lunch?
A: “Margaret Thatcher mainly because my focus on women in politics and I’d love to talk to her about what that was like to be the first in the UK. I’d like to put a dinner party together and get a bunch of people from the past and ask them how things were.”
Q: What is your favorite thing about Hall County?
A: “The diversity of what we have here. You have a city life, a lake life, a mountain life and we sort of live in the mountains, but you are still close to Atlanta.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “Traveling a lot more and continuing to enjoy life.”
Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “That I am not confrontational and that I love to sing. My producer will tell you I am always in the studio singing along to most songs. I tell my kids that one day they will miss me bursting out into song.”
Q: What three words mean “Home” to you?
A: “Friends and family.”
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: “Hugh Jackman. He is the perfect man: he is tall, good looking and sings and dances.”
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
A: “My first Intern: Ember Bishop Bentley. She was the best and I would hire her back. Also, Delany Harrison who kept my schedule at the senators office and she was amazing. The thing I need the most is someone to keep me on track.