The idea has been kicked around for a few years as a way to acknowledge and honor the many great professionals in the broadcast industry. The idea and concept finally came to life this year.
On Friday, Central Piedmont Community College released the inaugural inductees list:
Grady Cole, WBT(AM)
Charles Crutchfield, WBT(AM/TV)
Betty Feezor, WBT(TV)
Earle Gluck, WBT(AM)
Rev. Billy Graham, a native of Charlotte
Stan & Sis Kaplan, WROQ(FM)
Charles Kuralt, WBT(AM)
Doug Mayes, WBT(AM/TV), WSOC(TV)
Larry Sprinkle, WROQ(FM)/WCNC(TV)
Bill Walker, WSOC(TV)
Certainly an impressive list, having worked for the Kaplans years ago I was pleased to see both of them honored, though Stan didn't do much of anything but smoke cigars that spilled onto his black turtle neck sweaters and across his ever increasing girth.
But within hours complaints surfaced that not one African-American was named to the Hall of Fame.
“I was very shocked, surprised and dumbfounded,” said WBTV reporter and regional Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Steve Crump, who has worked in the market for more than 30 years. “Understanding what they went through so people of my generation would have a better day, for them to be left off the list or at least a level of recognition is most disappointing."
Crump wasn't alone, "In the era of Oprah Winfrey and Lester Holt, the Charlotte Broadcast Hall Of Fame has NO person of color to be inducted in their inaugural class on August 21, 2015," said Colette Forrest.
"I can not begin to imagine the indignities our Trailblazing Broadcasters of Color faced when getting 'the story'," Forest continued. "We cannot allow their legacy and contribution to be ignored!"
The Broadcast Hall of Fame organizers called the lack of African-Americans an "unintentional misstep and an error of omission," saying the committee was "deeply sorry."
A spokesman for the committee added "the selection committee and its procedures will be "examined more critically" and the number of inaugural inductees will soon be expanded to be more inclusive."
CP's Take: I would imagine that names including several African Americans were considered and voted on in a ballot format. Now the Broadcast Hall of Fame in order to submit to the P/C Police will include a "special category" African American Broadcasters.
"The indignities our Trailblazing Broadcasters of Color faced" ? Seriously? The ink isn't even dry the ceremony not yet held and some ding dong wants to make it a race issue.
The trouble is the list of inaugural inductees was too long to begin with and adding another four names presumably African Americans further dilutes the exclusivity of the honor.
Sadly the Charlotte Broadcast Hall Of Fame idea has quickly become a joke. Membership not based on achievement or character but rather meeting a skin color quota so that no one is offended.
And let me be clear there are many many talented individuals who should be honored. I'm surprised to see Larry Sprinkle listed and not Bob Lacey or Jay Thomas. Bea Thompson comes to mind as does Stacey Sims. But color should not be a prerequisite nor should the list be forced to include persons of color.