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,,  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."