In 1978 at Jefferson-Pilot, group-health insurance deducted for dependents for the full year was $263.90 for
1 or 2 dependents, or $403.52 for 3 or more.
--From The Jeffcaster
In 1978 at Jefferson-Pilot, group-health insurance deducted for dependents for the full year was $263.90 for
1 or 2 dependents, or $403.52 for 3 or more.
--From The Jeffcaster
Tom Camp: I was thinking last night of all the electronic equipment there was at WBT-WBTV-Jeff Prod and how much talent and knowledge it took to operate it and keep it functioning properly, the specific and necessary contributions of the engineers, the floor crew, the producers, the cameras, the audio and video recorders, the lighting, the mikes, the dubbing, the towers. . .it is breath taking to think about. Yet, none of those machines were worth a nickle without human intelligence to make it work right. When I left to go to Duke Power we began installing our first computer in the downtown building with the silly Reddi-Kilowatt on the roof. The computer was to keep constant check on certain temperatures, pressures, output, stepup, etc. at the various steam plants, which made the energy to turn the turbines and generators that produced the electricity. The computer, when fully installed, was in a room about 20 by 30 feet and filled the four sides of that room, wall to wall. We had to wear stockings over our shoes, white coats and hair nets just to go in there. Today my laptop has more capacity than that behemoth. We've come a long way, but it probably took more talent and intelligence to run the machines of yesteryear. I am in awe of those who performed the tasks at One Julian Price.
Clint Pressley: I remember the old "Foot in the Door" show early in my floor crew days. I think Jim Cremins was on the show, and someone played a State Trooper character. I think his name was Wade St. Clair. That was a great time. TV was fun with Betty Feezor's show, Pat Lee, and then the kids' show "Three Ring Circus." All Live. My first job on Three Ring Circus was turning on the three ring lights with Norman Prevatte Directing, and Big Bill Ward as the Ring Master and Fred Kirby, Captain Phil the Magician and many more. Great fun.
Also had a chance to meet some very sophisticated guests on Alan Newcomb's show "Land of the Free" that we often taped in the evening between the early and late news. This was when Alan also did the Editorials, and was the Atlantic Weather man. Alan really enjoyed harassing Bob Bean during the late news by throwing small pieces of paper while Bob was trying to deliver the news with a straight face. We really had a great deal of fun then. We would probably get fired today doing some of the things we did in those days.
Gene Birke: Wade St. Clair used to do the highway patrol character on Owen Spann's "Spannorama" show which aired at about 6:50 following McLean's weather in the evening news strip. It was hilarious. He called his group the Volunteer Highway Catrol (his spelling). Spann used to question that word on the show, too. St. Clair brought a shotgun in with him, wearing a patrolman's outfit with the flat brimmed hat. St . Clair said his group was helping to curb speeders. If they wouldn't slow down , his group would use their guns and BLAST them! It was funny.
Not so funny was when Newcomb got threats after some of his Spearhead shows. They deputized Jay Torrance and somebody else so that they could carry guns at the station. They could have deputized the Volunteer Highway Catrol to help. They would have BLASTED them commies.
The good old days.
Tom Camp: Am I correct in remembering that Alan Newcomb died in the Chicago airport, and that just by coincidence Crutch was in the airport at the same time, saw the medical people rushing to help someone and had no idea it was someone he knew?
Clint Pressley: I know that Alan did collapse in the Chicago airport, but I am not sure if he died immediately or later that day. I think he was only 42 or so. WBTV lost one of their greatest talent. He was also one of the World's greatest authority on Communism and knew many world famous people that were guest on his shows. He was a combat pilot in WWII in B-17s. He was shot down and captured and later authored a book called "Vacation with Pay" that was about his captivity. I had the opportunity to read it many years later when I was partners with Alan's son Bob. A great story. Alan is one of the great memories of working at WBTV.
Bob Newcomb: It's true my Dad was stricken in the Chicago airport while on a speaking engagement. He was hospitalized in Chicago and my Mom flew to join him there. Within days he died from a regrettable series of delays in treatment and miscommunications with his doctors in Charlotte. It shouldn't have happened. A tragedy for our family and a tremendous loss to the broader BT family.
Cullie Tarleton: From time to time, Margie would call me and say, "Mr. Crutchfield wants to see you." I knew what was coming. I'd walk into his office and he would say, "The boys at the Club are complaining about such and such song. Do you have to play that song?" I'd say, "No sir, the easiest thing in the world would be for me to call Andy and tell him to pull that song. But, if we're going to be the kind of radio station you want us to be and make the kind of money you want us to make, I have to play that song." Then he'd say, "You little sumbitch, get out of here." The only song he ever made me pull was the Conway Twitty song, "We've Never Gone This Far Before." Mild, really mild—by today's standards. True story.
Don Russell: One of my favorite stories about nighttime radio (and don't forget that's where I started on WBT – 37 years ago yesterday) is when Jerry White, who was a news reader in the 70's, went on a Bahamas cruise. He wore his WBT tee shirt one day while lounging at the pool. One of the waiters came up to him and asked about the shirt and where he got it. Jerry asked him why and the fella told him WBT was the station the crew all listened to while they were floating around in the Caribbean. So Jerry says, "I work there" and the waiter asks him who he is and he told him. The waiter flips out and tells everybody who works on the ship they had a "star" on board.
He never paid for a drink the rest of the cruise.
Them's were the days.
John Burchett: Loonis McGlohon, what a Talent! No local Broadcasting company in the nation can claim a talent like him on its staff. It reminded me though of the time I directed a program from Spirit Square about Loonis. He performed for the audience, but the reason for the show was, the music department of East Carolina, Loonis's Alma mater, presented him with a honorary degree in music for being an outstanding graduate of the music department. Loonis took the degree but after the show told me that, he didn't have the heart to tell them at East Carolina that he did not major in music there. He was a foreign language major getting a degree in French.
Over a ten year period Loonis and I collaborated on around twenty major musical programs – he, the producer, I, the director. We had a great working relationship and produced some wonderful music programs. The two of us even went to Israel to produce one program. I'm sure these programs have all been tossed out.
One musical program I co-produced with Mike Piller (rest his soul) won a national award as the best locally produced TV show in the country for that year (1973). I know – I have a copy of the award. The real one was thrown away. It is really too bad we do not still do shows like those Loonis and I were fortunate to do.
H.A. Thompson: Don Russell and I had lunch today at 300 East and did some story telling.
WBT in the late 1970's had a pysychologist on the air for quick 90 sec raps about his subject several times a day. They called it "Psych Out". Dr. Jim Carr became a fixture around the place. He liked to hang out with us 'weirdos' and I guess we were good cannon fodder for his subject matter. One day Don asked him why he enjoyed being around radio people. He said, "Each of you is an 'iconoclast,' you live in your own individual worlds and most of you challenge traditions and beliefs. All of you produce very different programs, but there is a thread that ties you all together at WBT making an extraordinary mix." At the time I didn't know it, but that was US.
On the lighter side. One day an old Black man came into the lobby in a robe. (This was before security fences). Dot, the receptionist asked, "Can I help you?" He said, "I'm Jesus. I've come back to save the world." Dot panicked and ran down the hall for help. She cornered Rockin' Ray [Gooding] and said, "Help this guy in the lobby." Ray comes out and says, "What can I do for you, Bro? Let me give you a ride home." Ray puts the guy in his car and starts out of the parking lot. He says to this lost soul, "Where do you live?" And the guy says, "In heaven." And Ray comes back and says, "When you're not in heaven, where do you live?" And the guy says, "On the West Side"
Ray navigates this guy to his neighborhood and when he gets a block from his house he let him out of the car.
WBT had it's own version of Peyton Place. In the late 70's WBT was flying, flat sold out. Radio sales didn't have to burn the streets like today. Make a few phone calls and sell everything. One salesman at BT had a beautiful girlfriend in the sales department at a competing radio station. And I think we called it 'fraternizing' with the enemy in those days. This salesman at WBT was known to head to her apartment about 3:00 o'clock on given afternoons.
One of his buddies at WBT got hold of a few of his General Manager's business cards. A couple of times this guy would sneak over and find his fellow salesman's car parked way in the back of this girl's apartment, and would leave the GM's card under the windshield wiper. Talk about panic. Those guys played hardball.
Tom Camp: One current program and the resulting audience that plagues me is "Sixty Minutes." Back in my days as Promotion Manager we did everything we could do to make that show have a leading audience. It was on opposite "Wagon Train" on WSOC and they whipped us good in that time slot time after time. But thanks to people like Crutchfield and Rierson and Harding we stuck with it because we felt part of the job was to sometimes educate while we entertained. The same feeling kept Alan Newcomb's programs on the air.
There is vindication. Today "Sixty Minutes" is a very popular program. WBTV was at the forefront in arguing with CBS that it should remain in early prime time, despite the then low ratings. Not many people know how much influence Crutchfield had with the folks at CBS. He argued with them lots, but they revered him.
Mike Henderson: OMG, Reno, what a great article on FM's automated monster! You can't believe how intimidated I was with that machine when I began working there with you that short summer. But as you promised would happen, I figured it out pretty quickly, and it became the basis for my understanding of computers later in life. Is it possible that there are other photos of the monster and our FM studio equipment?
I recall having only one problem with it. After you, Don, and Matilda had left each day, I had to stick around until Clyde McLean came up to record a weather cart to load into the monster for later broadcast. I would occasionally sneak down to the TV control room to watch the director and audio guy doing the evening news until Clyde finished his broadcast, then I would scurry back to FM to wait for his arrival. One night, one of the AM engineers (I think it was Tommy Stutts) saw me there, poked his head in the TV control room door, and told me that the monster wasn't working, and he didn't know why. We both hustled down to FM where I quickly discovered that the control tape had wrapped itself around the control unit capstan. I operated the monster in the manual mode while we delicately removed the control tape from the unit. Once out, I cleaned the capstan, loaded the backup control tape, advanced it to the proper point for the time of day, and re-engaged the automatic system. When it began receiving instructions from the control unit again, everything ran fine.
I thought I had a second problem another night, but the problem was with my memory, not the machine. "Curry—And All That Jazz" was recorded on reel to reel and installed on the big Ampex deck in the FM studio that was one of the monster's sources, but usually wasn't connected to it. I'm sure you remember that we had to remove a dummy plug from the back of that Ampex deck and then plug it into the automated system. One Friday night, I was on a date with my girlfriend. About an hour before Curry's show began, I got this horrible feeling that I had loaded the tape, but had forgotten to make the connection in the back. She and I took off for the station where I discovered that everything was connected as it needed to be, and the program began right on time.
I also recall that we got our big reel to reel music tapes from a subscription service, and BT-FM was the only station that was allowed to edit their tapes by physically snipping out what songs you didn't like.
When my summer at BT-FM ended, Don Lebrecht recommended that I submit an application to WIST that was in the process of switching to automation. Since I had some experience with it, they hired me on the spot. Their system was very similar to ours, but it used carrousel cart decks instead of the in-line "55" decks that we had. Also, their control unit used a touch-tone telephone keypad instead of the rotary dialer, but the source codes were still saved to a tape cart. Unfortunately, we never could get their machine to work even an hour at a time. After I left the station a few months later to join the Army (it was "join or be drafted"), I learned that they had returned the unit to ATC, along with three others that their parent broadcast group had purchased that had the same unsatisfactory result.
Tom Camp: Here is a little insight into how Crutch thought.
One day I had been out making sales calls and arrived back in the parking lot around 3:30 in the afternoon. The lot was practically full and I finally found a space way back and closer to the back door than the side door, farther away from the building than where Crutch parked. As I was walking toward the back door he approached his car, leaving for the day as he usually did about that time. He stopped me and said something like "If you'll look over my shoulder at the second floor, third window from the right, you'll see George Adams standing in the window watching to see if I leave. He leaves everyday just as soon as I do. That's OK, he does a good job. Just remember, I know everything that goes on in this building." (But he didn't).
Second example: About 6 or 8 months after I left Jeff-Pilot to join Duke Power as Public Relations Manager, Crutch called me on the phone. He said, "I want you to get me a good lot on Lake Norman." I said, "You gotta be kidding. You and Bill McGuire (then CEO at Duke Power) have been bosom buddies since childhood. And you call lowly me?" He said, "I deal with people who get results. I know you just got Floyd Grass a good lot on the lake. I don't know anybody who ever got a lot from Bill." I got him a lot.
Lorri Hafer: Back in the days when I did some things at WBTV, I was known as Lorri Ham. Mary Mayo was my mother, and Al Ham was my father.
I worked a lot on projects with Loonis McGlohon and played "Dorothy" in the WBTV presentation of "A Child's Christmas." In fact I have a DVD copy of the video cassette of that show...commercials and all.
I am still singing .
Lots of great memories...so glad you have put up this site.
Lorri Ham Hafer
PS Did you know that there is a version of the WBTV BRINGING IT HOME TO
YOU song on youtube? My dad wrote the music and I am the young lady who is singing.
Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzW-YIJF2vc
Gene Birke: The most recent WBTV Anniversary Show failed to honor and recognize the true pioneers and excellent creative programing that was the station's trademark in excellence. The "Spearhead Group" was responsible for a number of hour-long specials, which were written, produced and directed by Alan Newcomb, editorial VP; Bob Rierson, Program Manager; and a host of very talented and creative production staff personnel in the Programming Department. Shows were done on the L.A. Watts riots; Communism; open-heart surgery; interviews in Cuba with Robert Williams of Monroe, NC, one of the first black activists; the God Is Dead theory; the first jet travel to Europe; and an in-depth interview with Governor Terry Sanford at the governor's mansion in Raleigh. The Spearhead Group specials were written and produced by WBTV Programming, not the news department. WBTV Programming was recognized locally, regionally and nationally for it's highly successful and creative programs and WBTV was one of the most successful commercial production stations in the country.
There was so much creative talent working those studios that it is no wonder that "The Betty Feezor" and The Arthur Smith Show," just to mention a few, garnered national awards for excellence in programming and won their time slot over and over again for many, many years. It was the talented directors, producers, crew and staff of the programing department that should have received recognition for their outstanding leadership and dedication, for that is truly what marked WBTV as one of the great pioneers of the television industry. To those people, we owe a great deal of gratitude.
So let's hear it for Alan Newcomb, Bob Rierson, Norm Prevatte, Loonis McGlohon, Pat Lee, Betty Feezor, Arthur Smith, Bob Raiford, Don McDaniel, Ed Wade, Owen Spann, Jim Patterson, Fred Kirby, Ty Boyd, Jim Collins, Anne Vick Birke, Robert Rogers, Doug Mayes, Dick Taylor and many many more.
Reno Bailey: It was 40 years ago, in July 1969, just after the Apollo rocket had left for—but had not arrived at—the moon. I had been assigned to write a 20th anniversary show for WBTV and Don McDaniel was slated the producer/director. Young John Hutchinson was something called "production coordinator."
We had scoured the earth for film clips and stills of early network shows, which was a chore in itself—no internet in those days. I tracked down Buffalo Bob Smith in retirement in Florida, who sent us a kinescope of a Howdy Doody Show.
When all the elements were assembled, we booked a day in Jefferson Productions to put the show together. Most likely Ken Helms was editor. In those days there was no off-line or digital editing; only two-inch tape with something called Editech (which allowed "pick up" recording, where you could roll in Playback mode and at the desired instant, switch to Record, feeding in the new scene—from a still, film or another VTR machine).
We had a huge number of shots to assemble, and the process was so tedious, that, at the end of the day, we were only half through—so, naturally, we worked all night. The show must go on—besides, the JP studio was booked the next day.
Jimmy Roy Rogers: [I have] a fond memory that includes the magic of television. My Dad was born in 1883 and was 86 when Neal Armstrong set foot on the moon. (He was 55 when I was born and sired four more after me.) Dad told me he was going to stay up all night watching WBTV and Walter Cronkite because he wanted to witness a man standing on the moon. After Armstrong and Aldrin took their walk and returned to the capsule, early hours of the new day, I called Dad on the phone to ask what he thought about it. He said, "Son, I saw the first railroads through this part of the country. I saw the first car to drive through Shelby, a Pierce Arrow. I saw the first airplanes. So I have seen the mode of travel go from man on horseback to a man riding to the moon for a walkaround. Not many people get to see so much excitement in their lifetime. Your granddaddy would never have believed pictures would fly through the air and into my house, much less pictures of a man on the moon."
Anybody care to predict what our grandchildren will witness in their lifetimes? I have a grandson 10 years old. If he lives to be a hundred, which is possible and perhaps with new medicines even probable, he will have lived in three different centuries.
One thing I will predict: Flights to Mars and beyond, and television will send the pictures to everyone's homes. What an historic invention television was.
Tom Camp: After I left One Julian Price I still kept close contact and friendships with many of the people there, and this is an unfortunate conclusion I came to long ago, which I wonder if many do not share:
There was so much intelligence, experience and talent in that building it was just taken for granted. The producers, the crew, the on-air staff, the programmers, managers like Crutch and John Dillon and Jim Babb, the art and printing guys, Virgil Torrence who literally is Mr. Everything, the news folks, and on and on, talent everywhere. Only later in life did I realize what a rare commodity talent is. I wish I had appreciated it more when it surrounded me.
There are a couple other guys we should honor as we recall the good ole days.
Jim Cremins was mainly a radio guy but he was an originator of lots of ideas that promoted by radio and tv. Without a good audience the stations would have been failures. Jim was a genius at sales and promotions. During my days there we brought to town such talent as Andy Williams and Henry Mancini, using the promo "WBT-WBTV Presents", and working alongside Big Jim Crockett and Paul Buck at the then new coliseum (both also geniuses at their work.) When the Vietnam War was just geeting started and grabbing national attention we brought a Green Beret A Team to Charlotte. They set up a mock Viet Cong village and a mock training center at the Amity Center??? (ist that right) parking lot and showed off their talents every night for a week. John Wayne was at Fort Bragg filming "The Green Berets" at the time and we talked him into coming one night, which delighted the thousands who came out. We sponsored a free concert of Loonis and his trio with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra called "Bach to Broadway." We started the Labor Day Festival in the Park, which drew the first year over 60,000. Cremins was always seeking things to do that would build and keep an audience.
Then there was Cloudy McLean. During my years at One Julian Price I made hundreds of speeches to civic clubs throughout the coverage area.....Rotary, Lions, etc. (They met once a week and every week somebody in the clubs had to arrange for a speaker. We were sitting ducks.) Always, and I mean always, people at those meetings wanted to hear about Clyde. He was like family to them. As door prizes we would give autographed pictures of the talent. Clyde and Big Bill Ward were the favorites to win! WBT and WBTV complimented each other in special ways. There were big shoulders throughout the building. Cremins and McLean stood tall.
John McCorkle: Jay Howard was one of the "later" folks who came to us and carried on the traditions that so many of you have expressed these past few days: quality, commitment, excellence. He gave to Charlotte agencies a product that they could not find anywhere else in the market. And by the way, this "not so good DJ from Wilmington" (his words) was one of the top jocks to ever be in that market. I know, I sat in that chair at WGNI before he did and he made that radio station a lot better than it had been.
Jay Howard: One Julian Price Place was my higher education . Thank you Cullie, H.A,Ty, Doug, John, Jim, Dick, et al.for being my professors. You helped a not-so-good DJ from Wilmington have an extraordinary 32-year career in Charlotte. Cullie, I remember clearly going to you after my first big agency session saying, "maybe this isnt for me, maybe i better go back home to Wilmington." And you said, "You need to get back up there(Jeffersonics) and get to work." I did! i think i was more scared of you than i was of Russ Dymond (lol)! (I worked with Russ a long time ). Truly "Fulfillment Hill" was just that, for me.
Ty Boyd: For my money, Pat Lee was about the most talented broadcaster, pound for pound, I ever knew! She could do anything and everything, with charm, grace and take us with her. And she never failed to introduce or thank everyone on the project. First worked with her in Chapel Hill. Pure class.
Tom Camp: Back, probably a couple decades ago or more, Doug Mayes did a series of ditties from towns around the service area, which he called, I think, "On the Square." He would announce when and where he would appear and a crowd would show up, many wanting to be interviewed. Doug called and left me a message [at The Shelby Star] that he would be in Shelby, literally on the court square, at a certain time and would like to get together. I went at the appropriate time and Doug was already there, along with a nice crowd and a line of folks wanting to participate.
The first three in line were the three villiage retards, literally more than somewhat off in the brain. One was known for parading around town in his Superman costume and asking shoppers if they needed to be rescued. A second rode a three-wheel bike, though he was past 40, and was often picked up by the cops and taken home because he was masturbating in the middle of intersections. The third was not too weird.....he just liked to hang out at the multiple funeral homes and talk to the dead people.
My first thought was Oh my God, these guys are going to get on the air and people everywhere will think Shelby is overflowing with idiots. Doug spotted me standing off to the side and waved. He interviewed maybe a dozen people, wrapped it up and walked over to where I was. The first words he said were "Don't worry, I won't use any of those first three." I could have kissed him.