Jeff Dickerson takes leave as Georgia Gang commentator

By Maria Saporta

Long time Atlanta observer Jeff Dickerson is taking a leave from the popular weekly television show — the Georgia Gang.

Dickerson, who has been on Fox Five’s Georgia Gang for more than two decades, taped his last show 10 days ago. The official word is that he’s taking a leave of absence. But it is an open question about when or if he’ll be back on the show.

Dickerson had been an editorial writer and journalist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution until 11 years ago when entered the public affairs world and founded his own crisis communications business.

He continued to dabble in journalism, writing columns in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Atlanta Tribune as well as providing commentary on the Georgia Gang.

But often he would find that his clients were in the middle of a news firestorm. His clients have included MARTA, the Atlanta Botanical Garden during its push to build a new park garage in Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Public Schools, the DeKalb County Schools and a host of others who needed strategic advice on how to handle dicey situations.

When the Georgia Gang would be broadcast Sunday mornings at 8:30 on WAGA, Dickerson often had to recuse himself from the conversation or preface his comments with a disclaimer that so-and-so was a client.

“With my work with the Atlanta Public Schools, the Atlanta Education Fund, DeKalb County schools and other clients, the conflicts just became untenable for me,” Dickerson told me Tuesday morning. “At this point I’m not sure if or when I’ll be coming back.”

The Georgia Gang was Dickerson’s last link to his journalistic past. He already had given up his ABC and Atlanta Tribune columns.

“It feels good,” Dickerson said about being totally out of the journalism world.

But Dickerson’s departure from the Georgia Gang is a major loss for the show, which is hosted by conservative pundit Dick Williams, editor of the Dunwoody Crier. The other regular panelists are Phil Kent, a public relations executive and Republican operative, and Alexis Scott, publisher of the Atlanta Daily World and the ultra liberal voice on the Georgia Gang.

Dickerson, who sat in between Kent and Scott, often took a moderate tone — sometimes agreeing with those on his right or Scott on his left. Dickerson also provided a insiders look on what was really going on behind the scenes, not only in Atlanta and DeKalb but throughout the region and the state.

He will be missed.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

14 replies
  1. Baker says:

    This is pretty disappointing I think. I like all of them, but Jeff was certainly the one panelist who could bring the show back to the middle a little bit, lest Alexis, Dick, or Phil drive it off a left or right cliff. Any word on whether they’re going to fill his slot with a similarly like-minded individual? Martha’s great, whoever else are all good I think, but a Dick, Phil, and Martha show versus Alexis could be rough.Report

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  2. Bill says:

    Folks in the middle are hard to come by these days, especially with the wit and intelligence of Jeff. The Georgia Gang is not as funny as it was years ago with Houck, and now it won’t be as thoughtful missing Dickerson.Report

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  3. Ed says:

    Mr. Dickerson will be missed. I’m a conservative but I’d much rather see the show replace Phil Kent. His ultra conservative views are more than even I can stand.Report

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  4. Q-Tip says:

    Jeff offered insight and perspective not clouded with an agenda or slammed down our throats. He genuinely respected the intelligence of the audience and gave the viewers credit for having a brain. He will be sorely missed.Report

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  5. One year viewer says:

    Jeff was left of center and that was not a secret. He mostly sided with Alexis. I like Phil. He is overboard at times with his enthusiasm, but he is a straight shooter. I would like to see Herman Cain added to the show!Report

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  6. Dick says:

    So if the Georgia Gang were looking for a slightly left of center panelist, who would that be? It has to be someone with roots in journalism, not politics. Because the Gang has always been true to ink-stained wretches. Whether you like or dislike Jeff, Alexis or Phil, they all started out on beats.Report

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  7. G. Hannigan says:

    Jeff will be greatly missed. He is bright, articulate, has a great laugh and has always been an independent thinker. He certainly does not lean left or fallback on cheap racial rhetoric to make a point. The show, an Atlanta institution for so many years, will not be the same without him.Report

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  8. Retired taxpayer says:

     Jeff must have left the Georgia Gang to devote time to help push the vote to increase in the local
    sales tax for whoever is behind all those ads on tv. about traffic.  He was talking it up on TV just the other day.Report

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  9. sgarvin says:

    I am sad to see Jeff Dickerson missing this morning!
    But I do understand. Business comes before the ridiculous chatter. I have never taken the time to write any news media, however the sad and ignorant comment made by the host Dick Williams is the reason why Romney lost. It is the reason why republicans will never be back in power in the same way as in the years of Reagan. I am a single mother that pays huge individual taxes, payroll taxes and business payroll taxes! I have 80+ employees and am highly offended by your statements.I am sure there are 1000’s of us out here! Single Mothers, Making it happen in this state! I am a MAKER and I see you as a TAKER. How many jobs have you created lately! My company has put over 5000 ppl to work in the last 7 years! The economy is moving… it is sad day when you learn or hear how someone you thought was really a whole community intellect and you realize he is nothing more than a voice for underachieveing white males. Congratulations to all of us who knew this country was ready to MOVE FORWARD!!Report

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  10. Jaime says:

    Good riddance! I’m tired of hearing that Beverly Hall only the the interest of children in mind when she demanded her schools cheat. I’m also tired of hearing that the privatization of MARTA was a horrible step…we should have let it go on with mismanagement and corruption. Also, I’m tired of hearing that Burrell Ellis has his civil rights trampled on because he is being investigated and charged with corruption. Blah, blah blah Jeff. Oh and I’m tired of him insisting on making his point without interruption when all he does is interrupt Dick and Phil. I’m glad to see him go. Good luck helping all the criminals make their crimes seem less than they are.Report

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  11. Paul r Conley says:

    Well, i have been watching for several years. The only thing i have heard from Jeffs’ lips is “how do you expect the african-american folks do “ANYTHING” because they have been supressed for 9000 years. I’m glad he’s leaving, tired of hearing all about the slavery thing, again!!!! Good ridance, i say!!!!Report

    Reply

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