WBT History

1980's
The History of WBT

9/17/2009

1981

WBT presented a music and fireworks salute to the returning American hostages from Iran entitled, "A Celebration of Freedom." Spike O'Dell joined WBT.


1982

WBT became the first AM station in the Carolinas to broadcast in stereo. Pete Sullivan joined WBT.



1983


Mike Collins joined WBT as a weekend part-timer soon to be hired full-time to host the morning show (1985) and become Program Director. The Broadcast Pioneers presented WBT with "The Golden Microphone Award" in honor of the station's 60th Anniversary. Many of the staff traveled to New York City for the ceremony.


1986

WBT's Mike Collins and WBTV's Lori Thomas hosted a morning show called "BT AM".


1987

WBT celebrated its 65th Anniversary. Among many events, a concert by "The Beach Boys" was held at Memorial Stadium. The Park Center, located next to Memorial Stadium and the CPCC campus was renamed in memory of Grady Cole.


1988

Don Russell and James K. Flynn teamed to host the morning show as "Russell and Flynn" David Appleford joined WBT. WBT was named the flagship station of the new N.B.A. team, The Charlotte Hornets. WBT was the first radio station in the Carolinas to begin a nightly simulcast of WBTV's Six O'Clock News.



1989

September 22th... the day Hurricane Hugo struck the Carolinas. WBT engineer Bob White was at the transmitter site and narrowly escaped being crushed by a falling tower. Another WBT engineer, Ted Bryan, had to leave his car in a flash flood river of water while checking on the FM transmitter near Dallas, N.C. - Electricity and telephone lines were knocked out for nearly 99% of the city of Charlotte.




The Piedmont and Western Piedmont of North Carolina were heavily damaged too. - WBT provided listeners with information and news of businesses operating that had supplies of flashlights and batteries. - It took nearly a year to get the night-time directional signal pattern operating again.



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