‘Echoes of Athens’: 1st Greek Radio Station in the Southeast Going Strong

‘Echoes of Athens’ first hit the airwaves in 1949. Today, this Atlanta-based station is broadcast around the world. Read on to learn more.


History of ‘Echoes of Athens’

At the age of 16, Vivian Economy came to the U.S. from Kalamata. Her adopted country offered many more opportunities than her beloved Greece. The young woman missed ‘home’ and came up with an idea to bring some of her ‘old home’ to her ‘new home’. In 1949, at the tender age of 18, she launched the very first Greek radio show in the Southeast. ‘Echoes of Athens was broadcast on WATL in Atlanta, GA for 50 years. Vivian’s daughter, Vickie Henson, the show’s current host, recalled those days.

“The entire Atlanta Greek Community would rush home after church each Sunday to tune in. Imagine, my mother, the young woman, a trailblazer! Her listeners would find out the latest in the world of Greek news, politics, music, concerts, local community events. From marriages to deaths — she covered it all.”

Vickie, who was born and raised in Atlanta, and grew up listening — and contributing — to the program. From a young age, occasionally, she and her sister would read Greek poems or other holidays messages.

“As a teenager, I  remember sitting in her recording studio and finding songs and artists she would feature on her next show.”

When Vivian retired in the 1990s, there was a void in the community. Vickie took up the torch in recent years, armed with a new technology her mother would never know — the internet — which now allows ‘Echoes of Athens’ to be broadcast all over the world.

Let’s learn more about Vickie, and how she came to revive ‘Echoes of Athens.’

Echoes of Athens 1st Greek Radio Show Southeast
‘Echoes of Athens’ debuted in 1949.

 

Meet Vickie Henson

Growing up, Vickie loved sports and music — especially Greek music, of course. She wanted to become a physical education teacher. Surprisingly, her ‘trailblazing’ mother did not approve of this career path. Perhaps she saw into the future.

“Ultimately, I earned a business degree while at times assisting my mother with the radio program throughout the years.”

While going to college at night, Vickie worked as a summer intern for the Georgia Department of Labor in Human Resources, and then in other divisions. This led to a 40-year career with the agency. She retired in 2010.

“I’m actually still there, because Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler asked me to stay on part-time. I’m blessed to be serving the great people of Georgia.”

She joked about her tenure there.

“One of my favorite lines has been and still is — ‘I am the only woman that has been in Labor for over 40 years and never had a baby!’ Always and still do get a good laugh when people hear that!”

Vickie Henson of Echoes of Athens Greek radio station
Vickie Henson is the 2nd generation host of ‘Echoes of Athens’. IMAGE: echoesofathens.com

 

Reviving ‘Echoes of Athens’

Vickie reflected how she came back to ‘Echoes of Athens’, and revealed that it was always her dream.

“I can honestly say that I followed a very important piece of advice that I gave to so many people in my years at the Georgia Department of Labor, to those who were unemployed, those looking for work, students trying to find work. I’d say, ‘Find what you like to do — don’t chase the dollar– chase the dream — and believe in yourself and you will succeed!’ I did that exact thing and was able to pursue my dream of continuing my mother’s legacy.”

WIth Vickie’s semi-retirement, came the long-awaited opportunity to revive the program. She said that it’s now more important than ever.

“Now, in this era of technology, the show can be heard all over the world. We have the ability to share even more information to our listeners about Greek businesses, church events, and other important connections and resources, not only in Atlanta but throughout other states. When you get right down to it, it’s all about awareness. Through our program our listeners learn so much information, not to mention enjoy the best Greek music that is so dear to our hearts.”

And with this technology, the show has a much wider reach than ever before.

“Now all Greeks who own a business have a very economical platform to market their products and services and bring awareness, not only to Greeks in Atlanta, but throughout the world.”

‘Echoes of Athens’ today

Vickie stated that today’s ‘Echoes of Athens’ is not a cookie cutter of the original.

“Today’s ‘Echoes of Athens’ has a much more casual format, but we still entertain, educate and inform our listeners of upcoming events, and news, plus products and services that may be beneficial to them.”

Listeners can hear interviews with government officials, business owners, movie producers, and real estate experts from Atlanta and various places around the world. There’s also a ‘Greek Hotline” where listeners can comment, send birthday wishes, request a song, and more. A new show airs every Sunday at 2:00 pm EST.

Some 70 years later, ‘Echoes of Athens’ still hasmany fans. Now, we can listen anytime, anywhere. Download Sound Cloud on your smartphone, sign in and listen. Older shows are archived on their website. Vickie is also available to speak at events.

 


Learn more about ‘Echoes of Athens’: website, Facebook


Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos

Founder & Editor at WindyCity Greek
For 10 years, Maria served as the Associate Editor and Senior Writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Her work has been published in GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, Neo magazine, KPHTH magazine, and more. Maria has contributed to three books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes; The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook; and the inaugural Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal.
Maria A. Karamitsos

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