CHARLOTTE, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Charlotte radio station is celebrating a century on the air. The station continues to be a source of on-the-go news, despite having more digital options than ever before.
WBT Radio first signed on in March 1922. It was the third radio station to be licensed not only in the United States, but also worldwide.
The studio’s location in Queen City changed several times, moving from Uptown to West Charlotte. Through all the changes, WBT Radio continues to call Charlotte home.
When WBT Radio signed on in 1922, listeners heard signature names like Grady Cole delivering the news. 100 years later, the station continues to provide valuable information.
“The digital age and satellite radio and all those things, we have a lot more competition with us right now,” said morning host Bo Thompson.
Even with all the new options, around 90% of adults say they still listen to free live radio in the car.
Bo Thompson is a familiar voice on WBT in the morning. Today, listeners can hear it in the car or through a radio app.
“Around the year 2000, we went from analogue to digital. It’s the biggest thing I can remember and I was here this weekend when we had to make that transition,” Thompson said.
Thompson has been with WBT for 25 years. He started at the station at the age of 16.
“This room that we’re sitting in, the room that we’re broadcasting the show from, I used to do my homework on Sunday nights in high school,” Thompson said.
Thompson has heard and seen many big stories, including 9/11.and and natural disasters in the Carolinas.
“There are stories, like Hurricane Hugo, where the power went out for much of this town. Back then, in the late 80s, the only connection to the outside world was not the cellphone, it wasn’t the internet. Those things didn’t exist. It was a battery-powered radio,” Thompson said.
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Transmitting important information is why Thompson and the rest of the WBT Radio crew have stayed at the station for years. They are not there for notoriety in the community.
“I can talk to thousands of people every morning and walk out the door and nobody will know who this guy is walking down the street, I kinda like that,” Thompson said.
WBT celebrates Saturday by inducting three new members into the Hall of Fame. Other special guests will also be present and this event is open to the public.
Event ticket information can be found here.