According to Mark Washburn who stays on top of all things media related for the "Local Paper" Pete Kaliner will sign off from his WBT night host spot on March 31ending a two-year run in late evenings.
Mark's story is here.
To those in the under 30 crowd, even those of you in the media business there is not much point in reading the rest of this post. There is no way you can appreciate radio the way your older neighbors do, its just not in your twitter, text and google news DNA.
But the word from Mark is that Pete will be replaced with syndicated radio show, which makes the news troubling. This is not just a change for the sake of change, or to build ratings or because Pete wasn't a draw, its the end of an era.
Mention WBT after nine PM to anyone who has lived in the Carolina's for more than 40 years and the first person they will think of is "Hello Henry" Boggan who passed away in 2006. Henry hosted the nighttime spot on WBT from 1979 to 1996 and Pete is one of many hosts including Tara Servatius and others who have had the honor of following in Henry's footsteps.
I think Pete did an excellent job, and the blame for the death of WBT hosting a late night call in show should not fall on Pete Kaliner and it doesn't.
I suppose it was just a matter of time, and I should have seen this coming. The days of Wolfman Jack and Casey Kasem have long ago faded into the past. Radio isn't what it used to be, I'm not really sure what it is anymore.
But there was a time before texting and twitter, a time before email, a time when even talk radio was new. A time when Henry was talk radio before talk radio became the Rush Limbaugh style of opinionated and abrasive hang up on you talk radio. Henry Boggan and WBT at one time was a place where your opinion mattered and I think Pete honored that tradition.
To understand why this is something more than just another budgetary cut back you have to understand what AM radio at 50,000 watts is all about, and why WBT's signal which reached from Miami to Maine was such a big deal.
WBT Radio Towers
So here's a fact, or so I think its a fact:
I've been told that back, I mean way back in the day Piedmont Airline pilots would fly from New York to Charlotte using an ADF radio receiver tuned to WBT at night. While the VOR signal would take them right to the airport, following the WBT signal put them on the south side of the airport, right over Nations Ford Road and pretty much lined up with runway 36 and it also allowed them to listen to "Hello Henry" while en route.
Anyway this is a big deal, not just for Pete Kaliner but for anyone who ever tuned into WBT from the Outerbanks during the summer while fishing, or while on a late night road trip back from a Carolina basketball game. And for anyone from Charlotte who served in the military from Maine to Miami, when WBT at night was a nice way to cure a bad case of homesickness.
More about Henry Boggan is here at BT Memories.