Man With The Golden Voice

Frank Stiteler is famed for the quality he brought to radio sports and community endeavors

It’s not how many trophies you have in your trophy case. It’s not how many points you scored on the basketball court. And it’s not how many Halls of Fame to which you have been named.

Indeed, it’s not so much what you do, as who you are.

Take Frank Ronald Stiteler, the 73-year-old Life Leader insurance salesman and former Golden Voice of WSB Radio. Forty years ago he took his mother-in-law, Dorothy, into his home and she is still there. She will be until the day she dies.

Stiteler never lets a week go by without reading to the blind. He reads to a live crowd at the Georgia Radio Reading Service on 14th Street in Atlanta, and his broadcast reaches approximately 30,000 statewide. Blind people all over the world can pick up his readings on the internet.

If there were a human being Hall of Fame, Stiteler would be a charter member. He flew to Denver to visit with the staff and patients at the National Jewish Hospital and Asthma Center so he would have a clear picture to paint about the hospital’s needs to the Atlanta fund raising committee.

When they were mere tots, he took his children to spring baseball training. He was president and longtime council member of the Cross and Crown Lutheran Church and is now both an usher and lay reader at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.

Stiteler wants no awards or recognition for what he does or has done, including the 30-plus years he served on the team selection committee for the Chick-fil-A-Bowl (formerly Peach Bowl). He learned to give early in life. His mother died when he was 14, so Frank swept the floors, made the beds and cooked the evening meal. Somehow, he found time to play French horn in the Decatur High School Band.

Then he landed a summer job at a Decatur radio station (WGLS). He worked for no pay but got on the air and did play-by-play and color for Decatur High home football games. He was so impressive WGLS management put him on staff – with pay. But they couldn’t pay enough to keep him.

Stiteler literally learned to broadcast football games from the ground up. He worked the Decatur High School home games with a platform, a two-man table and two chairs. There was simply no room for Stiteler and his associate, the late Al Ciraldo, in the two-man press box. Those seats were reserved for the public address announcer and the sportswriter covering the game for the Atlanta newspaper.

So when Stiteler wasn’t at his table and chair, he was walking the sidelines, keeping up with the ball and which players were making tackles or long runs and throwing and catching passes. (The seating for broadcasters was better at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Stiteler had a seat in the press box where he was the color analyst for the Peach Bowl for 10 years in the 1970s.)

The late Elmo Ellis, then general manager of WSB Radio, heard him on the air and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. After a six-month stint in the U.S. Army at Fort McPherson, Stiteler returned to WSB as sports director. He was the “Golden Voice” of Atlanta radio for 10 years.

Ellis thought if Stiteler were so smooth on the radio he would be a natural for radio sales.

So after 13 years of covering the top sports events in the Southeast, he moved into sales and for 13 years was a sales leader. But he never stopped giving. For 20 years he was a director of the DeKalb Touchdown Club, serving as president for three years.

Whether it is volunteering for a cause or simply befriending someone else, Stiteler has always been there.

He has been married to the former Gay Glass for 47 years. The Stitelers have three children: Ron, 46, a restaurant manager in Roanoke, Va.; Rhonda, 44, a school principal in Social Circle; and Sam, 41, a senior account manager for Environmental Stone Co. in Atlanta. Gay has antiques businesses in Alpharetta and Cobb County.

Categories: Features, Sports Leisure