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The Kirby File: Retired radio voice honored with ‘Key to the City’ for his commitment to local news

'Local news is vital to any town or city,' says Jeff  'Goldy' Goldberg, who was always up with the morning sun to remind us of community issues, be it politics, the Covid-19 health pandemic or a winter blizzard.


Jeff Goldberg didn’t see this one coming.

He was the voice of “Good Morning Fayetteville” on WFNC 640 AM radio since Labor Day of 2012 until his final emotional radiocast on Dec. 1, 2023, that would close out 45 fulltime years behind the microphone. Goldberg shared the hosting duties with the late Jim Cooke, until Cooke’s retirement in 2016.

“You have heard his very familiar voice on the radio in the mornings, keeping up with city issues and talking about the things that are happening in and around our community,” Mayor Mitch Colvin would say at the Fayetteville City Council meeting Monday at City Hall, where the mayor would present Goldberg with the city’s highest honor — the key to this city.

A presentation, the mayor would say, for Goldberg’s voice in the good times, the bad times and “your commitment and your love for the city.”

Mornings came early for the 65-year-old news talk host. He wasn’t just there to “spin the records” or entertain us with his delightful musings about life or to remind us of an event coming the community’s way. He brought us the news by interviewing community leaders and keeping his listeners apprised of community issues. He was more than a radio personality. He was a journalist, who knew how to ask the right questions of mayors, city council members, county commissioners, health and education leaders among them.

“On behalf of the mayor and City Council of Fayetteville, North Carolina, our city key and coin are proudly presented to Jeff “Goldy” Goldberg,” the mayor would read a proclamation “in grateful recognition of his devoted interest and untiring commitment to the community.”

Behind the microphone

The microphone was Goldberg’s again.

“When Susan and I moved here 18 years ago after 30 years on radio and TV in Washington, D.C., I think Susan thought we'd be here for five years, and here we are 18 years later,” he would say. “And this place really has grown on us over those 18 years. It’s been a great second chapter.”

He would leave the council and folks at City Hall with a message, too.

“Local news is vital to any town or city,” Goldberg would look toward every council member and remind them of its importance. “All of you sitting up there, all our City Council members know that. Our city manager knows that. Without a local TV station here in town, we're dependent on Raleigh to cover Fayetteville, which I think we all know they just don't do unless it's a grisly murder or something that happens on post.”

He would remind us of his 12 years with “Good Morning Fayetteville” that continues to air Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and his interviews about the issues of the day, political elections to that assault on the Market House of May 30, 2020,  to the Covid-19 health pandemic to the perils of a winter blizzard heading Cumberland County’s way.

“Mayor Colvin came on every Thursday morning for years,” Goldberg would say. “There are not a lot of mayors that wouldn’t do that. Mayor Colvin did that for me, and that lent a lot of credibility to ‘Good Morning Fayetteville,’ so, please continue to support local news. You may not realize how important it is but, especially in a town like Fayetteville.”

True, we may not have a local television station like the days of the old WKFT Channel 40 once headquartered at the corner of Donaldson and Russell streets. But we do have Gilbert Baez, the longtime reporter with WRAL in Raleigh. We have Monique John with WTVD News Channel 11 in Durham, and how could anyone ever forget the gifted, talented and retired Greg Barnes with WTVD. And not to forget CBS 17 out of Raleigh, either.

Wes Cookman, owner of WIDU 1600  AM radio with his wife, Sandy, keeps us apprised of community news in partnership with The Fayetteville Observer. Bill Bowman delivers often thought-provoking editorials as publisher of Up and Coming Weekly. And while the Observer has abandoned its building on Whitfield Street and dismantled the towering press and may not be the newspaper it once was under ownership of the Lilly, Yarborough and Broadwell families, still it publishes the news despite a limited reporting staff.

And then there’s City View Today, our digital publication and where no one in this community is more committed to reporting the local news than publisher Tony Chavonne, with Bill Horner III as executive editor presiding over the publication and the monthly City View Magazine. Chavonne is a former four-term city mayor after working for 25 years as general manager of Fayetteville Publishing Co. Horner is former publisher and executive editor of his family-owned The Sanford  Herald in Lee County.


All of us from Gilbert Baez to Monique John to Wes and Sandy Cookman to Bill Bowman to Tony and Joanne Chavonne to Bill Horner III share a common belief with Jeff Goldberg.

“Local news,” as Goldberg reminds us, “is vital to any town or city … especially in a town like Fayetteville.”

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.