This sign was at the intersection of Trade and Tryon during the mid 1950s.

This sign was at the intersection of Trade and Tryon during the mid-1950s.

The TV station WBTV & WBT radio was owned for many years by Jefferson Pilot Insurance Company. The radio station went on the air in Charlotte in 1922. Movies were silent back then. WBTV went on the air in Charlotte in 1949. The two stations moved to the present West Morehead Street location in 1955. These two stations were at the top for many years. People stood in line to get a job at either station; when you got one, you cherished it for a long time. It was the place to be in broadcasting in the Carolinas. The TV and radio stations that mattered in Charlotte, you could count on one hand.

Sometime in the 1980’s, when early Jefferson Pilot employees started retiring, they carried on the friendships they developed at the workplace. Two or three times a year they gathered for a luncheon to reminisce about the good old days. It’s a tradition now. They still do it. There are not as many as there used to be, but they still gather and laugh and carry on, and are proud to have worn the call letters.

The most recent wing-ding was at the Golden Corral. We don’t like the word seniors…golden-agers…or old timers. We prefer ‘Pioneers.’ In a sense, we were pioneers in the industry and all those early birds earned it. These are troopers who won’t let them tear down the stage built by those who have passed like Charles Crutchfield, Grady Cole, Pine Terrace’s Mary Kelly, Jim Patterson, Pat Lee, Betty Feezor, Jim Thacker, Bill Ballard, Clyde McLean, Fred Kirby, Arthur Smith, C.J. Underwood and many others.

Enjoy these bright but seasoned faces. The year after their name is the year they were hired and started their careers at WBTV  a   l o n g   t i m e   a g o.  Smilebox slideshow:

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