WBT - The Early ThirtiesChanges

Circa July 1930 (First part missing)


(starts on page one)

...William Ensign, president of the Columbia broadcasting system proved utile, but H. V. Akenberg, chief engineer, told The Observer that he would come to Charlotte next Monday to inspect the WBT equipment. Mr. Akenberg said he knew nothing of the details of the sale or the plans of the new owners. His business was to study and to direct the improvement of station equipment, he said.

E. J. Gluck, of 213 Lombardy circle, Charlotte, is general manager of WBT. When called to the telephone last night and given the Gillian announcement, Mr. Gluck explained that he could make no statement about the transfer of ownership until the new owners had authorized him to announce their plans.

Rumors have been current several weeks of a possible supplanting of National Broadcasting Company programs over WBT by the Columbia System. Presumption here has been that all NBC commercial and "presentations" would eventually be displaced by the Columbia. Such a possibility has been vigorously denied by Mr. Gluck and others connected with the Charlotte staff. Last night Mr. Gluck said he did not anticipate any change in the program, "certainly not right away." he added.

Among the popular NBC features are Amos 'n Andy, Floyd Gibbons and various non-commercial "presentation" programs.

A 17-hour program is being given daily, this containing all the NBC features, supplemented by a generous variety from the Columbia program. The station maintains a staff of 24 persons. Mr. Gluck said last night he did not know of any anticipated personnel changes and did not think any would be made. Mr. Akenberg told The Observer that Mr. Gluck was expected to continue with the station.

The same comes during the first anniversary week of the Gillian ownership. Mr. Gillian said last night that he had not maintained close contact with the business here and that he could give little information as to details. The sale had been consummated "early this month," he said.

Station WBT was established by the Chamber of Commerce in 1922 and was one of the three pioneering radio stations in the country. One of its most potent advertising lines is that it is the pioneer radio station in the south. A national channel has been allocated to the station which operates on a 277 meter wave length and 5000 watt power.

WBT will be the 73rd station in the Columbia chain, only 10 of which are as large or larger than the Charlotte station.

Although one of the first to be established and despite its present size and broadcasting area, WBT had a humble beginning. The first program was broadcast April 7, 1922. Programs of one hour's duration were given weekly. Now a 17-hour program goes on the air daily.

The original permit to broadcast in Charlotte was issued to Fred M. Laxton. The station had a power of only 250 watts. Later the station was purchased by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. After it had been operated by the city several years it was bought by' C. C. Coddington, whose heirs sold it last year.


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