Music 23

William Bernard "Bernie" Barker

May 31, 1941 ~ June 6, 2022 (age 81)


William Bernard “Bernie” Barker, age 81, of Chattanooga, TN, passed away peacefully at home on June 6, 2022, of pancreatic cancer.

Born on May 31, 1941, Bernie is survived by Jackie, his wife of 59 years, son Chris, of Atlanta, GA, daughter, Kathryn Samples (Clint), and granddaughter, Anna Kate, of Carrollton, GA.

Bernie was born and raised in the Auburn, AL area where he graduated from Auburn High School and attended Auburn University. Bernie’s first job was at the age of 14 at WJHO in Opelika, AL. This job launched his career in broadcasting that spanned more than 60 years. His love for the radio industry accelerated his desire to learn everything he could about the business, quickly leading to senior management positions. He went on to own and manage radio stations across the Southeast, building market presence in Columbus, GA, Birmingham, AL, Mobile, AL, Montgomery, AL, and Chattanooga, TN, where he retired in 2021.

Bernie’s unparalleled work ethic and service to the broadcasting industry served as an inspiration to others. He was a natural leader and strong mentor to those around him. He had an innate ability to find and nurture talent, facilitating great success both in front of and behind the microphone. Respected by his fellow broadcasters and elected by his peers, he went on to serve as President of the Alabama Broadcasters Association, Georgia Association of Broadcasters, and Tennessee Association of Broadcasters over the years. He also served as National Chairman of the Nielson (formerly Arbitron) Radio Advisory Council and was named Alabama Broadcaster of the Year in 2000. He was also a recipient of the Advertising Club’s Silver Medal Award.

Bernie achieved success in business without sacrificing his responsibilities to his family and the communities where he lived and worked. He is being remembered for his love of family, Auburn football, and music. Most of all, he is remembered for his kindness, generosity, and for his ability to bring out the best in those around him. At the end of the day, Bernie enjoyed having a cocktail with Jackie where they would reflect on their day and plan their next dinner out or trip to the beach.

The family would like to express its deep appreciation and gratitude to the healthcare professionals who cared for him during his battle with cancer. The family is also grateful for the outpouring of love, support, care, and concern from family, friends, and neighbors. Out of respect for Bernie’s wishes, the family will hold a private memorial service in celebration of his life.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (memorial ID# 22985063), the Youth Ministry at Carrollton First United Methodist Church in Carrollton, GA, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Visit the online obituary to post tributes and share memories.

Arrangements by Heritage Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel.



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