Way back when, the Company gave out service pins—in five-year increments. Is it true, that someone figured out that it would be more cost effective to buy only WBTV pins, then, if the recipient worked in WBT radio, just snap off the "V"?

What's New

1/7/18 Added, on the In Memoriam page, the name and link to the obituary of Harvey Hood, who for 45 years was an engineer at WBTV. He died on Dec. 30, 2017 at age 86.

For years we've partially relied on news clippings for the history of our station's people and events. And the Charlotte Observer has been graciously cooperative in letting us republish their old and not-too-recent stories. Until now. Now I'm told they have a new policy. Another company now handles their permissions, and the cost per story STARTS at around $500.
It seems to me those stories we might have republished, if they're buried in the Observer's archive, might never again see the light of day, and one would think the paper would welcome any opportunity to keep their brand in the public's awareness. —RB
12/08/17 In the Whimsey category (under Articles) you'll find a trio of true stories—episodes from my youth. They are obviously slices of a life B.W. (Before WBT), but each involves either movies, radio or television, so surely they could be considered precursors to a life of crime in broadcasting. This new collective is titled "Did I ever tell you..." I use the term “collective,” to infer that another story or two may be forthcoming, and here's where I'll park them.
11/18/17 On the In Memoriam page, added the name and obituary for Robert D. Raiford, one-time announcer at WBT, most recently (for the past few decades) a personality on the John Boy & Billy show on WRFX.
09/26/17 On the In Memoriam page, added the name and obituary for Phillip Morris Smith, known on WBTV as "Cap'n Phil" on several kids' shows, and as "Dr. Evil," the scary host for the Friday night Horror Theater.


A few days ago, we emailed our BT Memories Network list with an appeal for donations to cover future years' costs for domain name and hosting fees (about $230 per annum).

We explained how, since 2004, BT Memories had been piggy-backing "rent free" with our other site, Remember Cliffside, a historical society project.

But now, the other site has moved away, no longer covering those costs. Since your webmaster is a good deal less than rich, he needs help in footing the bills.

Also, he is in the early stages of octogenarianism and is not expected to live forever. The plan is to raise enough money to prepay these costs for years to come, hopefully well beyond his actuarial expectations.

If you're so inclined, please send a contribution to Reno Bailey, 10612 Round Rock Road, Charlotte NC, 28277.


(See thank you note.)

08/14/17 Way back on May 31, 1985, Don Russell of WBT's 2-6pm time slot became the new host of Channel 3's Star Trek reruns (Friday midnights). It was in the paper.
08/13/17 Added names and obit links to the In Memoriam page of Jack Waynick and Gregg Pell, the most recent of our colleagues who have passed away.
04/25/17 Added photo gallery of JPC former employees luncheon held on 4/18/17 at WCCB (hosted by Jim Babb and John Hutchinson). About 200 attended, many of whom were photographed by Ken Koontz, Don McDaniel, Patty Perkins and Carol Wonsavage, who shared the pics with BT Memories. Thanks, guys!
03/26/17 Added names to In Memoriam page of Ed Wade, formerly a director at WBTW, WBTV and Jefferson Productions (see photos on his son's Facebook page); and Jerry McSwain, formerly a division manager at Jefferson-Pilot Data Services (his obituary is included).


Added name to In Memorium page. Richard Waters was once a WBTV newsman. Just today learned he died "a few years ago."

Also posted the name and obituary of Emerson Lawson, formerly an engineer at Jefferson Productions.

12/13/16 On In Memorium added Rich Mortenson's name. He was Assistant News Editor at WBTV.
7/5/16 On In Memorium added names and obituary links for Coline "Fuzzy" Walker, Jean Crocker, Doug Bell and Ron DePaolis.
10/24/15 Added name and obituary link for Doug Mayes on In Memorium page.


A new gallery: Michael Nabicht has contributed 45 photos taken during WBTV's 1972 Boys Town Auction, a very big event.

Don McDaniel searched some musty, forgotten folders and found a trove of 145 WBTV and JP photos from the 1950s and '60s. They're presented in four galleries.

In 1960 WBTV premiered an ambitious series called "Spearhead." Don sent photos and news clippings about one show of the series he helped film, "Target: Charlotte," showing we were protected by the Strategic Air Command and the NC Air National Guard.

We've developed a story around another of Don's photos, about a place in the building few staffers likely ever saw: The Film Room.

Dana Tucker sent us an exceptional photo of his dad, Nat Tucker, then a young cameraman in Channel 3's fledgling news department.

3/8/15 On the In Memoriam page, added names and links to an obituary or memorial profile for Bill Ballard and Dick Taylor, both longtime colleagues at WBTV.
1/29/15 Added name of Brad Stafford to In Memoriam list.
12/02/14 Included in Reunions a slideshow of photos taken at the birthday luncheon held on Oct. 6, for Fuzzy Prevatte Walker.
7/25/14 Added The Warren Archives, 273 photos and dozens of news articles, promotional pieces and clippings mostly from the 1940s and '50s. In 14 photo galleries. Hank Warren's son, Roy, allowed us to scan them.
6/27/14 Added June Meadows (Gallup), who was a writer in WBT's Promotion Department in the early '60s, to the In Memoriam list.
6/26/14 Added names and obituaries of Marion Costner, Fred Barber and Wayne Haas to In Memoriam list.
4/6/14 Added name of Arthur Smith to In Memoriam list. Click his name to display obituary.
3/31/14 Two prominent figures in the company's history were Bob Bean and Harold Hinson. See articles on both under History/People.
3/24/14 Added Al Munn's name to the In Memoriam page. Al worked at the stations in the early Fifties.
2/20/14 Bob Dycus spent all his working life as an engineer at WBT, WBTV and Jefferson Productions. His name and obituary is now on the In Memoriam page.
1/15/14 Added obituary for Bob Bean, former announcer at WBT, to the In Memoriam list
10/30/13 Added Richard Mertz, former chief engineer at WBT, to the In Memoriam list.
10/19/13 Who's that cowpoke? With any luck we all get old, even the rich and famous.
08/12/13 Added the obituary of Ted Bryan to the In Memoriam page. Ted worked in WBT's engineering department.


There's much more on BT's brightest star, Fred Kirby. We've posted a gallery called Diane's Scrapbook, a collection of keepsakes that Fred's daughter, Diane Kirby Robinson, has saved over the years. There are photos, artifacts and news stories, all highlighting Fred's life and career.

A fan of BT Memories, Gordon Goulding, writes that his mother, Elizabeth "Libby" Hahn, worked at WBT in the 1940s, and shares several photos from her collection. We've included them and Gordon's email on a First Person page.

Al Munn, who worked at WBTV in the fifties, long dreamed of publishing the story and diary of his older brother, Dalton, a Navy Gunner's Mate in the earliest days of World War II. Al reached out for the help of two old friends, also WBTV alumni, and the dream has become a reality. Read about his new book.

H.A. Thompson sent us a colorful bit of nostalgia, a sketch of BT's on-air bunch from that wonderful year, 1977. It's on the front page.

Compare Charlotte's square (at Trade and Tryon Streets) in the 1950s—with its big WBTV/WBT sign—with the same spot today.

We've updated the Alan Newcomb page, under Articles/People, with a profile article from the 50's, written by someone named Jim Babb.

In the Pictures Worth 1000 Words gallery, there's a photo of Big Bill Ward in his natural habitat, at ringside for Championship Wrestling. And recollections of Mark de Castrique, of his days as director of the show.

The In Memoriam page now contains the names of Tommi Long Jones, Bob Johnson, Charlie and Bill Monroe, Bob Hice, Martin Beck and Maybelle, Helen and June Carter.


Under Articles/ Departments/ Jefferson Productions, you'll find a lot to read and view in our survey of JP's Making Commercials success. We've chosen 11 representative spots to illustrate it's 25 years of outstanding work.

Remember when WBT's drivetime skies were the domain of Jeff Pilot? Did even Marty Lambert's wife call him Jeff? His story is behind the Articles/ People link.

And in the Articles/ First Person/ link there's a half dozen delightful stories of Rob Veerman's experiences as a WBTV News photographer.

We've scoured through a stack of old issues and harvested a most interesting compilation of Jeffcaster Snippets.

Our esteemed leader, Charles H. Crutchfield, retired on the last day of 1977. In honor of the occasion, someone created an eight-page tabloid, The Crutchfield Chronicle, a tribute to Mr. C.'s long career in broadcasting.

It's one thing to read about WBTV's history, but it's better to see it. Here are four 60-min. shows celebrating the 10th, 20th, 30th and 40th anniversaries of the station. Also there's a program marking the death of Clyde McLean and an farewell interview with Charles H. Crutchfield as he retires from his long career in broadcasting.

05/20/12 Added the obituary of Jerry Wilson to the In Memoriam page. Jerry worked in video and film production at WBTV and Jefferson Productions
04/20/12 Added the obituary of Eileen Corpening, long-time secretary in "the corner office" to a succession of executive vice presidents. To read, click on her name on the In Memoriam page.


Added stories, photos and artifacts on Ken Tredwell, former company vice-president.

Added a bunch of emails to Feedback for this year and last.

01/21/12 We've created a YouTube channel called BTMemories, on which you'll find hours of historic material. There are anniversary shows, tributes, goodbyes and news clips to enjoy. Maybe you'll even see yourself.
12/14/11 Jerry Wilson (again!) sent us more than 120 photos made by Hank Warren in the 1940s and '50s. They were proof sheets in a box Hank had squirreled away. As he neared retirement, Hank thought someone might just have an interest in them. They're all here, in seven galleries, showing some of the people you may have worked with, or enjoyed hearing or seeing on WBT or WBTV.
10/28/11 Good ol' Jerry Wilson, who filled a number of positions at Jefferson Productions back in the day—cameraman, director, etc., sent us a bunch of production stills from the 1970s. They remind us how much Jerry added to the fun we had at JP.
03/16/11 Added names of Tom Desio, Buster Richardson, Bob Hilker, Russ Hodges, Sandy Becker and Charles Kuralt to In Memoriam.
03/15/11 Added the obituary of David Deese, one time banjo player for the Crackerjacks and Briarhoppers. To read, click on his name on the In Memoriam page.
03/13/11 A significant expansion—WBT in the Early 1930's. It's an era that no one living experienced or remembers. In these 100 pages you'll learn the history of the station, and be amazed at the station's regional popularity and national reputation.

The Studio Clock” tells of the Johnson Family Singers' 11 years at WBT, from 1940 to 1951. This is an adaptation of a chapter from Ken ("Booger Red") Johnson's book "We Sang For Our Supper."

And in the Sound Vault, under Programs of Yesterday, listen to six of the Johnson Family's songs.

Also in the Vault, there's a section called "Hillbilly Tunes" where you can listen to old recordings by several singers and groups. They include Fred Kirby, Claude Casey, the Carolina Playboys, the Briarhoppers, Cecil Campbell, Shannon Grayson and J.E. and Wade Mainer.

We've added Larry James' name to In Memoriam. We're told he died on Dec. 26, 2010 in Columbus, Georgia.

Fans of our 'First Person' accounts, in which some of us talk about our personal experiences at the Company, will like 'Rear View.' We gleaned this collection of reflections from a blizzard of emails that blew across the Net awhile back.

Drill down into Articles, People and you'll run across a couple of profiles of Bill Curry and Rich Pauley, two of WBT's DJs in the late 60's.

Under History, we've added a story called "Connections," so called becaused it connects a railroad to a broadcast company, and reveals the background of two of Jefferson Standard Broadcasting's most prominent founders.

11/07/10 Added Warren Wilson 's name to In Memoriam.

Added to our Artifacts collection a 1980's print ad for the Hello Henry show.

And to the same collection, a game devised in 1937 by the Columbia Broadcasting System to promote their 101 member stations.

10/25/10 Added the names of Roy "Whitey" Grant and Johnny Jacobs to In Memoriam.

In the First Person files there's a new memoir of WBT in the 1950's by Bailey Hobgood, who was program director for about four of those years.

Added an addendum (what else can you do with one?) to the Feeding The Beast story. Mike Henderson also fed the beast. He remembers it well.

Added two new "books" to the Artifacts section, part of a Sonny's Scrap Book, and The Hello Henry Book from 1984.

Created a page on Spencer Mountain Today. We thought the old WBTV tower had been thoroughly dismantled. Not so. It's still in use, as we learn from reader Scott Weaver.

We've updated the Feedback page, including some write-ins we had overlooked from the summer of 2009

08/19/10 Read the story of WBT-FM's first (and perhaps only) automation system. It's "Feeding the Beast," under Articles, First Person.

Meet the first full-time staff of Jefferson Productions.

On JP's "home page," in the right column, added a pull-down with recollections of Don McDaniel in producing the Arthur Smith Show. Click "The Producer Remembers."

Added to Artifacts two large ads for WBT placed in Variety in 1942 and '43. One features Charlotte's economic vitality; the other touts the Tennessee Ramblers.


In Articles, People, added two stories on and the obituary of Gilbert Winchester, also known as "Captain Windy." His was a familiar face on WBTV in the early '60s.

In Photos, Entertainers, Pickers & Singers, inserted (at #10) a 1939 photo of Whitey & Hogan, then known as The Efird Boys.

08/06/10 Added artifact: Sonny's Scrap Book
07/21/10 Uploaded redesigned site with new menu system and more content.


Added Joyce Rhyne's name to the In Memoriam page. Joyce was killed in an auto accident on Nov. 30.


In an Observer interview on WBTV's 35th anniversary (in 1984), Norman Prevatte, our first producer-director remembers the first days of TV: how production was by trial and error, and how the programs were received by the public.

Alan Newcomb's sudden death in October of 1966 was a shock to all of us. We shared such a sense of loss, and wonderment at how such a man as he could be struck down at age 45. Here is the first report from the press, an editorial from the Observer praising Alan's character and abilities, and some photos from his public and private life.

For a little whimsy, we take you now to downtown Dodge City, as envisioned by Warner Bros., where a gunfight ensues in a street so full of movie extras it would be hard, if one were wounded, to find the space to fall down.

We've expanded Fred Kirby's page with more photos and press clippings of his public appearances.

Some very talented members of Jefferson Productions' staff spent several weeks in Hollywood in 1978, making a couple of very expensive commercials for Ford's 75th anniversary. One of them featured Bill Cosby, Ford's spokesman at the time, standing atop a 40-foot-high birthday cake....well, you'll just have to read the story.


We've found in our files a script of WBTV’s 20th Anniversary show, which ran on July 15, 1969. The videotape no longer exists (as far as we know), so the script will have to suffice. Also you may enjoy notes on the show’s production. See the links on the Articles & Artifacts page.


Another Get-together: The quarterly meeting of "old timers" occurred again (April 2009) for lunch and reminiscing. Some new faces appeared this time, who we haven't seen in decades. We snapped away, and here are the results.


Added the name of Mary Kelly to our In Memoriam page, and a link to her obituary.

Also, on the side navigation panel of our front page, added a link to In Memoriam.


Once in a while a photograph comes along that scales the barricades of oedipal expectancy, or exceeds the limits of anxietal anticipation, or implodes the constancy of human cognition, or ... zzzzz ... where was I? This is not one of those photos, but it surely will impact your inherant spongiform encephalopathy in a positive way. Not to mention, it will tickle your innards.

We get letters. Lots and lots of letters. On our Feedback page you'll find 14 new must-read entries. You'll love them.

And, if you haven't heard, the retirees and former employees of Jefferson are having lunch next Tuesday, April 21, and—if you qualify—you're invited.


Don't miss our collection of photos and articles on Tommy Faile, for 30 years a member of Arthur Smith's Crackerjacks, and a soloist and songwriter in a separate career. You'll learn things you didn't know about the tall, good-natured singer's early years. And, on the "His Music" tab, you can listen to his two biggest hits.

And you'll enjoy a page of several Crackerjack photos from the fifties to the seventies.


Sadly, there are two more names added to the In Memoriam page. Gordon Copeland, once a WBTV salesman in the 1960s, passed away some time ago, and, more recently, Wally Gosnell has died. Click Wally's name to read his obituary published just today.

Can you imagine what Charlotte radio was like exactly 64 years ago—other than the fact that there were only three (!) stations in town? We found, in Jim Scancarelli's collection of artifacts, the schedule for Sunday, March 25, 1945. How many remember those great old programs?


Who was watching on that first day, when WBTV began broadcasting? Probably everyone who had a set, but they were few. For example, there were only 15 set owners in Salisbury. Risky business, that television.


A gaggle of BT graduates congregated one day at a local bistro to compare wrinkles, aches and pains. (The results were mixed). But we managed a laugh or two, and several almost-tearful hugs occurred. It was good for the soul, and a great time was had by all. Snapshots were snapped to preserve the moment.

Often Jefferson Productions produced its programs or commercials where no power was available for our lights and electronic gear. In such cases we needed a generator—this one. If you thought it had long ago been smashed up and shipped to China, you couldn't be more wrong. You won't believe where it is today!

Here's how this Feedback thing works. I get a couple of emails a week, and I forget to post them on the Web site, and one day, maybe eight or nine months later, I run across them and finally get them on BT Memories. Sorry 'bout that; I'll try to do better. Anyway, there are about a dozen reader responses from, like, April.

Like a Frank Lloyd Wright creation, WBTV's first transmitter site jutted out over the crest of Spencer Mountain, about 20 miles west of Charlotte. For over 30 years a succession of transmitters here beamed WBTV's sights and sounds into millions of Carolina homes. In the '80s a new site was established further west, where a taller tower was erected. The Spencer Mountain installation was dismantled. And so it goes.