Indefatigable - Don Russell was a WBT personality for 43 years, a tenure longer than even the legendary Grady Cole. Joining the station in 1973, he held down several time slots in the broadcast day but was most prominently the "morning man," hosting the AM drive time show. He spoke last into a WBT mic in February 2017. "I'm retiring from WBT," he said, "But not from broadcasting."

Photo courtesy James K. Flynn

Programs | Startrek Redux

Don Russell Beaming Up to Host "Star Treck" Reruns

From the Charlotte Observer, Saturday, May 18, 1985

Beaming onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise is Don Russell, a WBT (1110 AM) TV/Radio  - Jeff Bordenradio personality chosen to host the reruns of "Star Trek" on WBTV (channel 3).

"I'm so happy to do It," Russell said "This is really a piece of television Americana. I couldn't be happier."

Russell. who debuts at midnight May 31, replaces Alan Ryan, who hosted the show for about a year. Ryan, also channel 3's weekend weathercaster, is leaving the station at the end of the month. Ryan and WBTV executives were unable to work out a new contract that satisfied all parties.

"Don has filled in on many occasions on 'Star Trek' and he used to host our oldies show, 'Those Were the Days.' And people will know him through his program on WBT," said Marion Meginniss, program manager of channel 3.

Russell, 38, will continue as a disc jockey at WBT from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. He also has worked at channel 3 (which, like WBT, is owned by Jefferson-Pilot Broadcasting Co.) as an announcer, substitute weatherman and, of course, a fill-in Trekkie.

In his most recent appearance on "Star Trek" a couple of weeks ago, Russell appeared with pointed ears and upturned eyebrows like those of the Vulcan officer, Mr. Spock. "We'll continue the tradi-
tion of the ears and we'll come up with something from the low-budget costume shop." he said.

Fans of "Star Trek" should note that the National Basketball Association will invade the galaxy with its playoff games on consecutive Saturdays. "Star Trek" will be seen

at midnight today and at 11:45 p.m. next Saturday. It will return to Its normal midnight Friday slot on May 31. Meantime, channel 3 executives continue the search for a weekend weather forecaster.

'Larry King' Going To WBT

"The Larry King Show," which has been on WSOC (930 AM) since it began some eight years ago, will move to WBT June 24. It will air from midnight to 5 a.m. nightly.

"It's something we thought would be right for WBT and, finally, here it is," Dave Bishop, program director at WBT, said. "We made a pitch for the King show about 2 1/2 years ago, but at the time, Mutual (Broadcasting System Inc.) felt the show should stay where It was. It's a valuable property, and if you had to pick an obvious choice for a Charlotte radio station to carry It, you'd have to pick WBT."

King, considered the premiere radio talk show host, broadcasts from Washington. His show is heard on 250 radio stations and has an estimated nightly audience of three to four million listeners.

The program will follow WBT's locally-produced talk show "Hello Henry," with Henry Boggan, which airs weekdays from 8 p.m. to midnight. WBT also is picking up Mutual's "America in the Morning" show, a half-hour run down of news and sports. It will air at 5 a.m.

Don Bell, WSOC operations manager, said his station will fill the time vacated by King with a satellite-delivered program from Nashville called "The Music Country Radio Network." Hosted by Charlie Douglas and Bill Berlin. it airs every weeknight from the Opryland Hotel and features music. Interviews and call-in segments aimed at the country music fan.