WBT History

The History of WBT



The Johnson Family debuted on WBT. They were called "Radio's Sweetest Singing Family". Larry Walker was a singer and pianist.


The Carter Family joined WBT. They included A.P., Sara, Maybelle and June, (now June Carter Cash). The FCC made WBT a "Key Station," the communications center for about 25 other stations in case of a national emergency. This later became the Conelrad system. Andy Griffith applied for a job. Mr. Crutchfield turned him down because he wanted $75 dollars a week.


The Southland Jubilee Singers started on WBT.


Arthur Smith and his Crackerjacks joined WBT. Famous later compositions: Guitar Boogie (1948) and Dueling Banjoes.


WBT became a 24-hour operation-first station in the Southeast to do so.


CBS had to sell some of its properties due to new regulations. Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company bought WBT for $1,505,000. Before CBS sold WBT, they switched the frequency from 1080 kHz to the present 1110 kHz. Fletcher Austin joined staff. "Carolina Hayride" began at WBT. The name was later changed to "Carolina Calling" when it went to the CBS network. The show featured: Grady Cole, the Johnson Family, Arthur Smith and his Crackerjacks, Claude Casey, the Briarhoppers, Fred Kirby, Whitey & Hogan, Fiddlin' Hank Warren, Big Bill Davis, and Mr. Crutchfield.


Kurt Webster, disc jockey on the "Midnight Dancing Party", revived "Heartaches", (a big band tune) by Ted Weems. He received a Gold Record for helping to sell a million copies. Ted Weems had to bring his band out of "retirement" due to the popularity of the record. Mary Mayo, from Statesville, joined WBT. She later became vocalist for Tex Beneke, and went out on her own as a singer. CBS' "Kate Smith Show" gave credit to WBT for its help in the Andrew Taylor kidnapping case in Charlotte. The kidnapper was found in Washington DC after people heard about the case on WBT.


WBT-FM was officially signed-on. Clyde McLean was hired as the first FM announcer. Pat and Harry Snook began "Fun with the Funnies" program. They read the Sunday comics over the air.


Magnetic audio tape was used for the first time. Prior to that, there were only disc recordings.


WBTV signed-on to become the first television station in the Carolinas. Jim Patterson joined WBT and WBTV.

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