Tuesday, September 30, 2014

UNC's Kenny Smith to star in family reality show

Kenny Smith, a standout for the UNC Tar Heels in the 1980s, will be the star of a new TBS reality series called "The Smiths."

Smith and his wife, Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith, will be the focus of the series that chronicles the hectic lifestyle of their household, TBS announced Tuesday. It will be shot in Atlanta and Los Angeles and is expected to debut in the spring.

Gwen and Kenny Smith with their five children.
 TBS photo.

In announcing the series, TBS said that Kenny and Gwen Smith "probably never would have guessed when they got married that their conflicting parenting styles, whirlwind schedules and family chemistry would turn their quiet home into an absolute mad house – albeit a loving one."

Osborne-Smith, who was born in the UK and works as a model on "The Price Is Right," married Smith in 2006 and they share a family of five children ranging in age from 2 to 20. 

Smith, a native of Queens, N.Y., who played for the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks after college, works as a television basketball analyst mostly for Turner Sports.

TBS has ordered six episodes of "The Smiths."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

DirecTV, Raycom agree on a price, dispute ends

Raycom Media and DirecTV reached an agreement over the weekend on the rates the satellite provider will pay to carry the company’s local stations, restoring the signal of WBTV (Channel 3) Sunday to thousands of viewers in the Charlotte area.

Neither side revealed the terms of the agreement, expected to be signed this week.

DirecTV viewers had been without the Charlotte CBS affiliate since Sept. 1 when the satellite provider pulled the plug on Channel 3 because its contract with Raycom had expired. Each side blamed the other in the dispute – Raycom saying that fees for network programming increase every year and DirecTV saying that it was working to keep the cost to its subscribers in check.

Such disputes have become common in recent years as stations try to raise ever more revenue from retransmission fees, or the money charged to cable and satellite services to carry their signal. 

This dispute, coming at the beginning of fall programming and with the resumption of the NFL season – traditionally the most-watched programming on television – brought frustration to viewers and broadcasters. 

One of DirecTV’s biggest competitors, Dish, took advantage of the dispute for market gain. It took out a full-page ad in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer reminding readers that it still carried WBTV and offered same-day installation. About a third of households in the 22-county Charlotte market are believed to be served by satellite services.

“We appreciate our viewer’s patience,” Paul McTear, Raycom’s president, said in a statement Sunday. “We apologize for the inconvenience and thank them for their loyalty to their local stations throughout this process.”

Raycom, based in Montgomery, Ala., operates 53 TV stations in 18 states as well as Raycom Sports based in Charlotte. In the Carolinas, Raycom also operates stations in Wilmington, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Paul Schadt double-nominated for CMA honor

Paul Schadt, longtime morning host on WKKT-FM ("Kat" 96.9), has been nominated again for Country Music Association honors, only this time he's been nominated twice, a rare feat.

Paul Schadt

When the CMA announced its finalists for this year's broadcast awards Wednesday morning, Schadt was a nominee on two lists: Broadcast Personality of the Year and Major Market Personality.

In the first category, for syndicated personalities, Schadt is nominated with partner Cathy Martindale for their work on "ZMAX Racing Country," which is carried by the Concord-based Performance Racing Network.

In the second category, he is nominated for his "Kat Country" morning show, "Paul Schadt & Meg In the Morning" with partners Meg Butterly and Geof Knight

Winners will be announced when ABC broadcasts the 48th Annual CMA Awards on Nov. 5.

In other Carolina connections, Raleigh powerhouse country station WQDR-FM is one of five nominees as Large Market Station of the Year and Asheville's WKSF-FM is one of five nominees for Small Market Station of the Year. WQDR's Lisa McKay is nominated for Large Market Personality of the Year.

Schadt had a harvest of industry honors in February. In a single day, he was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame and his morning show won the Academy of Country Music's national radio award.

He's been nominated before -- repeatedly, in fact -- for the CMA's top market personality award.

"I am 0-for-6 with the CMAs," Shadt said Wednesday, though maybe getting nominated for two will change his luck.

Schadt has been WKKT's morning host since he joined the station in 1998. He has been a country mainstay in Charlotte radio for decades, marking his 33rd year last month.

I've profiled Schadt a few times over the years. Here's the most recent story, from August 27, 2011:

This month,  WKKT-FM ("Kat" 96.9) is celebrating a milestone in Charlotte broadcasting -- the 30 years of Paul Schadt  being on the air.

In a town where a decade on the air is considered a long run,  Schadt has been at it for three decades,  longer than WKKT -- 14 years old next week -- has existed.

"It comes from being somewhat successful from time to time,  being nice to people and being a little bit lucky," says Schadt,  51. 

WKKT is replaying some classic Schadt bits this month and a website,  www.paul30.com,  has been created with pictures from over the years and video from recording artists wishing him a happy anniversary.

Schadt took a right turn into radio. In the late 1970s,  he was taking law enforcement courses at CPCC,  hoping for a spot on the Charlotte police force.

One day,  driving up Independence Boulevard and listening to Jeff Wicker on the old WBCY-FM,  he was struck by an odd thought - it'd be cool to be in radio.

He pulled into a shopping center and called the station from a pay phone. He got Wicker and asked for advice for breaking into the business.

Wicker said he had gotten into radio by working at the station at UNC Charlotte,  then got a job at a Salisbury station,  then got a gig in Charlotte. Schadt figured that was a good blueprint and followed it,  step by step.

He volunteered at WFAE-FM (90.7),  which the university ran at that time,  doing a jazz show. Then he got a weekend job at WSTP-AM (1140) in Salisbury. Then he landed a part-time job at WSOC-FM (103.7) in Charlotte.

A year later,  at age 21,  he got a full-time job on the overnight shift. By late 1997,  Schadt had the morning show at WSOC and was in negotiations for a new contract. Talks with the station didn't seem to be going anywhere,  and the newborn WKKT began wooing him aggressively on the side.

On Christmas Eve 1997,  Schadt told his bosses at WSOC he made a difficult decision: After 16 years with the station,  he wouldn't be returning after the new year. He had accepted a job at rival WKKT.

It immediately gave WKKT a boost and kicked off the long-running battle for country radio in Charlotte,  now the No. 1 music format in town,  with 16 percent of the audience. WKKT currently leads over WSOC,  the city's No. 2 station.

Among those Schadt has been paired with over the years are Bill Dollar,  Cindy O'Day,  Claire B. Lang,  Sarah Waters and most recently Meg Butterly and Geof Knight.

Does he ever regret not going into police work? "Not at all," says Schadt. "I'm having too good a time."