An early radio receiver. The artifacts and photos on this page were part of a broadcast history exhibit designed by Jim Scancarelli, which for several years was displayed in the Company headquarter's lobby at 1 Julian Price Place.

History | The Birth of WBT


J. B. Clark

A few days before April 10, 1957, the 35th birthday of WBT, announcer J. B. Clark recorded a program called "Profile: The Birth of WBT" in a dining room at 2632 Mecklenburg Avenue in northeast Charlotte. It was the original home of the station, at the residence of the late Fred Laxton, WBT's founder.

With Clark was Mrs. E. H. Hammonds, Jr. who, as Laxton's young daughter back in 1922, spoke the first words into a WBT microphone. Also present with Clark was Charles H. Crutchfield and broadcasting pioneer Earl Gluck, another founder of WBT, and, that day in 1957, the head of WSOC-TV, which was scheduled to begin operations in a few days.

If there was ever any doubt that Crutchfield had a voice that would drill through sheet steel, this recording should set that to rest. In the '30s and '40s when he was heard regularly on the radio that was a necessary quality. One's voice had to cut through the static that AM listeners ordinarily endured.

And in Clark's voice there was a hint of Edward R. Murrow's influence on announcers of the time, that clipped cadence (" London) and that somber resonance often best achieved with a hand cupped behind the ear.

This copy of the broadcast (provided by—who else?—Jim Scancarelli), although probably recorded on tape, was obviously archived on transcription discs, hence the hiss, skips and clicks. We've stored it in the Sound Vault, in Way Back Radio.