Cullie Tarleton was a
colleague of Harold's in the 1960s and '70s. He described Harold as the architect who moved WBT into 20th century broadcasting..


People | Harold Hinson

The Charlotte Observer, February 15, 2003




He knew his stuff when it came to radio. And his vision influenced changes in the way the local broadcast business was done.

Harold Lewis Hinson, former general manager of WBT Radio, died Jan. 22 at home. He was 73 and had retired in 1987 from Nationwide Broadcasting in Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio. Harold started in this area selling records for Bertos Sales Co., then joined WBT in 1962. He became general manager in 1970 and left in 1974 to co-own two stations in Lexington, Ky.

"Harold was the architect," said Cullie Tarleton, "of the plan that moved WBT from old CBS-affiliated radio that included Arthur Godfrey and the soap operas, into the 20th century." Tarleton is the retired senior vice president of television and cable operations for Bahakel Communications, the parent of Fox affiliate WCCB-TV (Channel 18).

'Consummate radio person'

"The success we enjoyed in the 1970s was due to the groundwork he laid and it changed to a continuous music radio station. It's really his vision that allowed our success. He really understood music and sound and how to reach out and touch people with radio. He was the consummate radio person," Tarleton said.

Harold also persuaded Charles Crutchfield, president of WBT parent Jefferson-Pilot Communications to buy stations in Atlanta and Denver that Jefferson still owns. "If not for Harold," Tarleton said, "the station absolutely would not have moved in that direction."

"He was real committed to his work," said Harold's son Brian, who recalled preschool outings accompanying his dad on wholesale record-selling trips for Bertos.

Harold was also committed to being a great dad to Brian, Scot and Hal Jr., Brian said. There were fond memories of beach and mountain trips and the old Volkswagen dune buggy Harold bought and they all worked on.

"He always wanted to be a radio personality," Brian said, "but his voice was too deep and gravelly. He was good at motivating people and came up with creative ideas for marketing."

Time for communication

Son Hal enjoyed playing golf with his father, who had played Scotland's St. Andrews and other great courses. "He was very, very dedicated to the game," Hal said. Was he a good golfer? "Well, as a golfer," Hal said, "he was well equipped." Hal speculated that some of that equipment might be found in golf course lakes.

Hal valued their conversations more than their golf games. They had long dialogues as their mother, Margie (now Burnette), cleared the dinner table. "We talked for hours and hours," Hal said, "on a variety of topics."

Discourses on ethics, morals and politics "really taught me how to think and helped shape my mind," Hal said. "He laid the groundwork for my becoming a writer in those conversations."

After 25 years, Harold and Margie parted ways in 1974. Some 20 years later, he met widow Lynn Marseilles at a luncheon in Pinehurst. The couple married in 1995, and "traveled from Mexico to Canada in the west," Lynn said. "We lived comfortably in our motor home, but considered ourselves as gypsies.

"We had a marvelous, marvelous time, letting life take us wherever there was something of interest."