Friday, December 19, 2014

Discovery picks up Barrett-Jackson auction

Among the collector items to be offered in the Scottsdale auction is this four-cylinder,
1929 Indian 401 motorcycle from the Otis Chandler collection. Photo, Barrett-Jackson.
Chris Jacobs, from Velocity's "Overhaulin'," will be host of "Barrett-Jackson Live" when the automotive auction debuts on Discovery Channel and Velocity in January, the network announced Friday.

Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale, Ariz., auction will be begin at 6 p.m. Jan. 13 on Discovery Channel and continue through the weekend on Velocity. 

Barrett-Jackson televised auctions date back to 1996 when they were first carried by Speedvision, which was later acquired by Fox and relaunched from Charlotte as Speed Channel. Fox Sports finished the contract with Barrett-Jackson when Speed Channel became Fox Sports 1, and Discovery picked up the contract beginning next year.

Others who will be on the telecast in January include Ray Evernham, host of Velocity's "Americarna;" Rick Debruhl, a former NASCAR pit reporter for ESPN; Mike Joy, who does Sprint Cup coverage for Fox Sports; Steve Magnante, automotive author; and Cristy Lee, co-host of Velocity's "All Girls Garage."

It's Jay Thomas night on 'David Letterman'

Jay Thomas, left, and David Letterman taking shots at the meatball atop the tree. Photo by John Filo/CBS.

It's the last time around for former Charlotte radio host Jay Thomas on David Letterman's Christmas show.

Friday night, Thomas will make his annual appearance on the show to tell a funny story about driving around with Clayton Moore, the actor who played "The Lone Ranger," and to throw footballs at a meatball on top of Letterman's Christmas tree.

Both are rituals on the Yule show and date back to 1998 when Thomas was on the show with Vinny Testaverde and they got to hurling footballs at the tree-topping meatball. Testaverde's skill was exceeded by Thomas'. You may remember Thomas as the hilarious DJ on the old Big Ways in the '70s who went on TV roles on "Mork and Mindy" and "Murphy Brown" and later found work on Sirius/XM radio. You probably don't remember that he also played quarterback in the day for Central Piedmont Community College.

Anyway, he's back tonight for the last time. Letterman retires next year. It's on at 11:35 p.m. on WBTV (Channel 3).

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WBTV hires meteorologist from Roanoke

Lyndsay Tapases

WBTV (Channel 3) has hired Lyndsay Tapases for one of its forecasting openings. Tapases, who was at the ABC affiliate in Roanoke, Va., for four years, grew up in Westfield, Mass., and graduated from Penn State. 

At WBTV, she'll work with fellow Penn State alum Eric Thomas, Channel 3's chief meteorologist. Tapases will start the last week of December at WBTV, which recently lost Kelly Franson to the CBS affiliate in Seattle and Ashley Batey to the CBS affiliate in Tampa, Fla. 

Meanwhile, WJZY (Channel 46) has named Karen Koutsky news director beginning in January. Koutsky succeeds Geoff Roth, who returned to Fox’s Houston station in September after launching the news department at the Fox-owned station last January. 

Koutsky has been the news director at WGHP (Channel 8), the Fox affiliate in High Point and has worked as a TV news executive in Indianapolis, Toledo and Atlanta. In High Point, she worked under Karen Adams, who is now the general manager of WJZY.

"She’s a successful news manager in broadcast and digital media and the ideal person to lead our solid coverage of the Charlotte region,” Adams said in a statement.

"We have created strong news teams together in the past and we are both passionate about creating a news product with integrity and high journalism standards," Koutsky said in statement.

A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, Koutsky will be responsible for taking the station's new news division to a higher level on its morning, evening and 10 p.m. newscasts. WJZY currently is running last in all time periods and the 10 p.m. news has lost more than 40 percent of its audience from year-ago levels when the station broadcast a newscast created by Channel 3. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Charleston paper, Servatius in nasty exchange

Chris Haire, editor of the alternative weekly Charleston City Paper, chronicled Tara Servatius' departure from the city for a new job in Greenville, S.C., as the end of a "dark chapter in Charleston radio history." 

Tara Servatius
And then he got nasty.

"Servatius' show was a tightly run snuff film where reasoned debate was strangled by the DJ, who jumped from one topic to the next, spouting off often-unhinged, World Net Daily-esque rants while engaging in the radio-world equivalent of shaking her fist for three or four hours straight at the contrails in the sky or whatever right-wing bugaboo crawled up her butt that day," Haire wrote on the paper's web site Friday.

Servatius, who wrote for the old Leader weekly and Creative Loafing while in Charlotte, also wrote for a time for the Charleston City Paper at Haire's invitation while working at WTMA-AM (1250) in Charleston. Haire's version is that she departed after recycling material.  

"Servatius and the City Paper parted ways after she submitted a column that was not only nearly identical in parts to a previous column published by Creative Loafing, but contained several factual inaccuracies," Haire wrote.

Not so, replies Servatius. In the acerbic tone known to those in Charlotte who followed her show on WBT-AM (1110), she wrote in on the forum below Haire's story: 

"I quit because you were six months behind in paying me after 'losing' my tax documents twice and you were even more deranged to work for than you are in print. I will miss the unmedicated insanity of the City Paper. Better than the mental ward at the local insane asylum before the ACLU set them all free."

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ratings for key Charlotte newscasts

Estimated total viewers reached by key weekday newscasts during the November sweeps and percentage change from last November as measured by Nielsen.
6 A.M.
6 P.M.
10 P.M.
11 P.M.
*No comparisons available.

Mark Washburn's analysis

November’s sweeps saw the entry of Fox affiliate WJZY (Channel 46) into the early morning and the 6 p.m. news races for the first time and showed how much work is left to do to become competitive for the news operation, which has been without a full-time news director since September when Geoff Roth returned to Fox’s Houston station.

Fox Charlotte's morning show, launched in August and the most polished of its daily newscasts, averaged fewer than 1,000 viewers at 6 a.m. Some infomercials get better numbers. Its 6 p.m. newscast, launched in July, attracts 1 percent of the region’s news audience watching the four local news channels at that hour. It has lost half the audience it had at 6 p.m. when it ran reruns of “Two-and-a-Half Men,” though that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been profitable – political advertisers in the pre-election cycle were buying commercials avidly in local newscasts regardless of the ratings. 

More concerning to Fox is that the Time Warner Cable News Channel attracts more viewers by nearly a third in the hours it goes head-to-head with WJZY newscasts, and Time Warner’s penetration in the city is only about 50 percent of households and does not go to many of the 22 counties that WJZY’s broadcast signal reaches. 

WJZY has been tinkering with its formula. It de-emphasized the anchor role at first, but has now teamed Anthony Flores with Barbara Pinson. It once ignored routine crime, a prime staple of Charlotte TV news, and now features it. On its 10 p.m. broadcast on Nov. 6, for example, all but two stories in the first 12 minutes were crime or public-safety related (including one that was billed as a “car-jacking gone wrong”).

WBTV crested 100,000 in average viewers in its 6 p.m. newscast in November, the first time I can ever remember it getting that many without days of severe weather driving ratings.

In the 25-54 age demographic that advertisers aim for, WSOC (Channel 9) and sister station WAXN (Channel 64) won all the key newscasts except for noon, when WBTV was No. 1. 

Lynn Good, Duke CEO, on "60 Minutes" Sunday

Duke Energy’s CEO Lynn Good is scheduled to appear on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday to explain how the nation’s largest utility is dealing with the coal-ash disposal problem.

Lynn Good
Correspondent Lesley Stahl and a crew from the CBS news magazine were in Charlotte in September to interview Good and film two Duke plants with ash ponds in Gaston County, the decommissioned Riverbend plant and the Allen Steam Station, which uses modern emissions equipment to curb sulfur dioxide emissions.

In the interview, Good talks about how Duke’s 32 coal ash ponds built up over decades and defy any instant solution.

“I cannot immediately move 100 million tons of ash,” Good says. “It’s not a response that makes any sense. As much as I’d love to tell you there’s a simple solution, it’s one that requires study, it’s one that requires time to complete.”

Duke has announced plans to move ash at five plants in the Carolinas since a Feb. 2 spill into North Carolina’s Dan River.

Coal ash is a national problem with more than 1,000 ash ponds in the United States, some with heavy metals associated with cancer, like mercury and cadmium, that environmentalists fear can leach into soil and water supplies.

“60 Minutes” will air 7 p.m. Sunday on WBTV (Channel 3). 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Servatius, Coakley team for mornings in Greenville

Tara Servatius

 Two former WBT-AM (1110) talk show hosts have landed daily shows at Greenville, S.C., talk-news station WYRD-FM ("WORD" 106.3).

Vince Coakley and Tara Servatius, both of whom held the afternoon drive-time shift at WBT, will start Monday at the Greenville station. 

Servatius, a graduate of Charlotte Catholic High School and the UNC Chapel Hill journalism school, started her career writing for alternative weeklies in Charlotte as "Citizen Servatius." She joined WBT as late-night host in June 2007 and replaced Jeff Katz in the afternoon slot when he left in December 2008. 

Vince Coakley
Her contract wasn't renewed by WBT's parent company, Massachusetts-based Greater Media, in 2011, and Coakley took over the afternoon shift. Coakley, a Cincinnati native, is best known for his 18 years at WSOC (Channel 9) where he succeeded Bill Walker as prime anchor in 2005. He ran unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina's 12th District this fall. 

Coakley had been doing a Sunday afternoon show at WYRD after leaving WBT in 2012.

Beginning Monday, Servatius will do the morning show on WYRD and Coakley will follow her in the mid-mornings. Before the move to the Greenville station, Servatius had worked in Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

“We are energizing morning radio with the launch of these vibrant, live, and local talk shows,” Steve Sinicropi, market manager for Entercom Communications' Greenville radio cluster, said in a statement. "Both Tara and Vince will deliver fresh and thought-provoking commentary on the issues and news our community cares about most."

Monday, December 1, 2014

Who remembers "To Serve Man"?

Richard Keil as the maneating alien on "To Serve Man"
Or "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet?" Or "Time Enough at Last"?

Fans of the old "Twilight Zone" series remember them as some of the best episodes ever of the Rod Sterling science-fiction series that ran for five years on CBS beginning in 1959.

On Monday, the Syfy network announced it will air a "Twilight Zone" marathon beginning at 8 a.m. Dec. 31 and continuing through New Year's Day.

Syfy also announced it will air its original movie "Christmas Icetastrophe" at 9 p.m. Dec. 20 about an asteroid strike that threatens to freeze the planet during the holidays.

At AMC, there will be marathons of the network's popular "Breaking Bad" beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 28, followed by a marathon of "The Walking Dead" beginning 9 a.m. Dec. 30.

At the National Geographic Channel, it will be nostalgia for the new year. An 18-hour marathon of its "'80s: Decade That Made Us" and "'90s: Last Great Decade?" will air beginning at 9 a.m. Dec. 31. And to start the year with a bummer, National Geo will air a marathon of "Locked Up Abroad" beginning at 9 a.m. Jan. 1.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Media lineup set for Novant Thanksgiving Parade

For the first time, the Novant Health Thanksgiving parade will be broadcast live on radio.

Ramona Holloway
Beginning at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, WBT-AM (1110) will carry the parade with Ramona Holloway describing the action. 

Holloway said Wednesday that she's never broadcast a parade before and has studied the script in preparation for describing the action to her listeners. She plans to bring both the visual interpretation and the spirit of the event.

Holloway will be on the broadcast with her mom, Louise “Wheezy” Holloway, and Brent “Bandy Boo” O’Brien, her producer on the "Matt and Ramona Show" on WLNK-FM (107.9).

At 4 p.m. Thursday, WBTV will broadcast a tape-delay version of the parade hosted by Paul Cameron, Maureen O’Boyle and Kristen Hampton. 

Darla Thomas to join WLNK as program director

Darla Thomas
Darla Thomas will be taking over as program director at WLNK-FM ("Link" 107.9) in January.

Thomas came to Charlotte in 2010 as program director and afternoon host on WLKO-FM ("Lake" 102.9) and left that job last year. Before that, she worked in Tucson, Omaha and Seattle.

She replaces Anthony Michaels, who left WLNK-FM this fall after 13 years. Her first job will be to find a new midday host to replace Kelly McKay, who is departing in December after five years to run her own business.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

WSOC names new morning anchor

Stephanie Maxwell
Stephanie Maxwell will replace Peter Daut on WSOC's (Channel 9) morning newscasts beginning in January, news director Julie Szulczewski announced Tuesday.

Maxwell, a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, has spent the last five years at the ABC affiliate in Jackson, Miss. Earlier in her career, she was an anchor and reporter in Greenville, S.C., and New Bern. Maxwell is a native of Cincinnati and grew up in Atlanta. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Woody Durham back at the microphone

Woody Durham records a segment in a studio at WNCW. 
 Woody Durham, who spent four decades as the sports voice of the Carolina Tar Heels before retiring in 2011, will be heard on the airwaves once more.

Durham will do Woody Durham’s Great Moments in Sports History”  on WNCW-FM (88.7 Spindale; 99.1, 100.3 Charlotte) during NPR’s “Morning Edition” beginning Monday.

His minute-long spots will focus on a historic sports anniversary for that day. 

 “I am enjoying the research and the spots hold a lot of memories for us all,” said Durham, 73, in a statement.

Durham started in radio at age 16 at WZKY-AM (1580) in his hometown of Albemarle. Durham graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 1963 with a communications degree.

Durham recorded multiple radio spots earlier this week at WNCW-FM, which is operated by Isothermal Community College. 

Al Gardner signs off sports station

Longtime Charlotte radio personality Al Gardner is leaving WZGV-AM ("ESPN" 730) after a year, and leaving Charlotte as well.

Al Gardner

Gardner, who will be 68 in December but still puts in his hours boxing at the gym, said Friday he and his wife Robin have sold their home and are moving to a place with a view of the Intracoastal Waterway in Little River, S.C., just outside Myrtle Beach.

"Robin really missed the beach," Gardner said Friday, "so we're moving down there." 

Gardner, who for 15 years was the morning host on "Charlotte's Morning News" on WBT-AM (1110), joined WZGV-AM last December with co-host Lanny Ford. Since June, he has been paired with former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney on a 1 p.m. daily show, "Hurney and Gardner." Friday was his last day.

"It's been a fun year at 730," Gardner said. "I'll miss all the folks there."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Showtime picks up 'Homeland" for another season

Claire Danes in "Homeland"
Showtime announced Monday that its spy thriller "Homeland," filmed in Charlotte for its first three seasons, will be renewed next year.

Also getting a renewal is the freshman drama "The Affair" starring Ruth Wilson, Joshua Jackson, Dominic West and Maura Tierney.

Charlotte stood in for Washington for the first three seasons of "Homeland," then it moved away when Claire Danes' character was moved to the Mideast. Her CIA assignment takes her to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. Showtime expects to make 10 to 12 episodes of "Homeland" for the next season.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Country, urban music top latest local radio rankings

Radio Ratings
Here are the rankings of Charlotte radio stations as measured by Nielsen. Stations that do not subscribe to the ratings service, like WXRC-FM (“Ride” 95.7), are not listed.
1. WSOC-FM, 103.7Country7.7%
2. WPEG-FM, “Power 98” 97.9Hip-hop7.6%
3. WLKO-FM, “Lake” 102.9Variety7.4%
4. WRFX-FM, “Fox” 99.7 Rock6.8%
5. WKKT-FM, “Kat” 96.9Country6.4%
6. WBAV-FM, “V” 101.9R&B6.0%
7. WKQC-FM, “K” 104.7Hits4.9%
8. WOSF-FM, “Old School,” 106.1Urban oldies4.7%
9. WNKS-FM, “Kiss” 95.1Pop4.3%
10. WPZS-FM, “Praise” 100.9Gospel4.2%
11. WHQC-FM, “Channel” 96.1Pop4.1%
12. WLNK-FM, “Link” 107.9Contemporary3.6%
13. WEND-FM, “End” 106.5Alternative2.9%
14. WFAE-FM, NPR 90.7News/talk2.6%
15. WBT-AM, 1110News/talk2.5%
15. WRCM-FM, “New Life” 91.9Christian2.5%
17. WDAV-FM, 89.9Classical1.0%
17. WFNZ-AM, “Fan” 610Sports1.0%
19. WMIT-FM “Light” 106.9Christian0.9%
20. WBCN-AMSports0.3%
20. WNSC-FM, NPR 88.9News/talk0.3%
WASHBURN’S ANALYSIS: WSOC-FM and WPEG-FM regain their top ranking after late-summer dips. WLKO-FM, the music-intensive classic hits station, continues to run hot with its third consecutive top 3 finish.
In news/talk, WBT-AM has rebounded from a historic low in August but finishes a hair behind WFAE-FM for the second month in a row as both stations rise out of their annual summer troughs. Sports stations WFNZ-AM and WBCN-AM remain flat as the Panthers season opens.
Market share by company: CBS Radio 32%; iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel) 28%; Radio One 9%; Greater Media 6%. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

'60 Minutes' looks into coal ash issue at Duke Energy

Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good is expected to be featured on a “60 Minutes” report, possibly airing as early as next month, about coal ash.

Correspondent Leslie Stahl and a crew from the CBS newsmagazine were in Charlotte Sept. 18 and 19 to interview Good and film two Duke plants with ash ponds in Gaston County, the decommissioned Riverbend plant and the Allen Steam Station, which uses modern emissions equip
Lynn Good
ment to curb sulfur dioxide emissions.

Duke spokeswoman Paige Layne said Monday that the utility agreed to be part of the story because, with at least 670 ash basins across the country, coal ash is a national issue, and Duke Energy is a massive player in the industry.

Duke has announced plans to move ash at five plants in the Carolinas since a Feb. 2 spill into North Carolina’s Dan River.

“Given that ‘60 Minutes’ is doing a story on ash basins, including the capture and disposal of coal ash, we felt it was important to join the conversation,” Good said in a message to Duke employees Monday. 

“We felt it was important that ‘60 Minutes’ hear our perspective on our coal ash management practices, how we’ve responded to the Dan River accident and our plans to close our ash basins.”

“60 Minutes” spokesman Kevin Tedesco said the network has not set an air date for the segment.

more here:

Charlotte's contemporary Christian station sold

Charlotte’s contemporary Christian radio station WRCM-FM (“New Life” 91.9) is to be taken over by a California religious broadcaster under an agreement announced Monday.

Columbia International University, which holds the license for WRCM and sister-station WMHK-FM (89.7) in Columbia, said it agreed to transfer the stations to Educational Media Foundation, a Rocklin, Calif., non-profit which operates the K-LOVE Radio Network serving about 450 stations across the country. Price of the transaction: $10.5 million.

WRCM's entire staff of nine will be laid off  later this fall as will seven in Columbia and the stations will carry the K-LOVE syndicated programming, said Joe Paulo, "New Life" general manager.

Columbia began operating WRCM in 1993 as a non-profit station dependent on donations from listeners. Earlier this year, Columbia added a transmitter for the station, WRZM at 88.3 FM, in Boiling Springs.

“K-LOVE has partnered with and been supportive of WMHK, WRCM, and WRZM for years and has seen their impact in the communities they serve,” Educational Media president Mike Novak said in a statement. “We look forward to working hard to continue the tradition, while bringing what we have to offer to listeners throughout the Carolinas.”

In the Charlotte area, K-LOVE also broadcasts its nationally syndicated format on WWLV-FM (94.1) in Lexington.

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,,  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."