Thursday, October 08, 2015

Whoops, I almost forgot WUNC-TV

Ed Myers at anchor desk WUNC-TV Channel 4
My first "anchor gig" was when I was in college at the University of North Carolina. I took over the anchor position on the 6 o'clock news for Channel 4 in Chapel Hill...that was WUNC-TV.

(I was using my real name back then, Ed Myers.  I didn't become "Lee Shephard" until I joined WTOP-TV in Washington in  1961 because of a "conflict" with another "Ed Myer" TV personality on a competeting station.)

I was the first student to do that job...prior to that in 1956 or perhaps it was 1957...professors did that. I was paid $1 a show.
It was great experience for me....that was my first anchor job...and I'm sure it played a role in getting my first commercial TV job at WSOC-TV Charlotte...anchoring the 11pm news on Channel 9.

WUNC-TV was located at that time in Swain Hall....the original Cafeteria Building for UNC.

Ed in Alexander Dorm UNC 1955
Speaking of that, there was a small snack shop next to Swain Hall...which also housed the University's FM radio station. I hung around there for a short time during my freshman year but I don't believe I ever did any work there. I got to know a few of the guys who did work there, mostly seniors I believe, and one of the upper classmen asked me to run next door and get him a "cup of choclate."

Chocolate what,?  I asked.

A CUP OF CHOCOLATE!.....You Damm Fool.  (He didn't say, "Damm Fool" but that was his tone.)

So, I went next door and asked the clerk behind the counter for a "cup of chocolate."

She replied, "A cup of chocolate what?

Damned if I know, he said you'd know.

So, she pumped out a cup of chocolate sauce and handed it to me.

I gave it to the aforementioned senior...who didn't seem happy at all.

You just can't please some people.

Snapshots of staff members.

1957 was a long time forgive me, but I can't remember the names of these outstanding staff members.

My guess on the left....producer John?..... and Van Trapp ? on the right.  Middle fellow?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ed Myers (aka Lee Shephard) Websites

 Perhaps you'll be interested in my other sites:

 My Current TV Shows

WTOP-TV site

Charlotte Central High School site for class of 1954

These are the sites that I update often..
-Ed Myers (AKA Lee Shephard)
12 25 09

Thursday, October 19, 2006

WGIV Radio in Charlotte NC in the 50s

Radio in the '50's. What a wonderful time it was! World War Two was finally over, we had come out of the Depression.........and one of the things that had informed and comforted us throughout it all..........was getting BIGGER... and more personal: RADIO!

And just think....15 year old Ed Myers....and lucky youngsters like him all over the country....were experiencing the thrill of having their voices magnified and sent to homes throughout their communities........

"There may be thrills greater than that, but I don't know of any of them." -Ed Myers/Lee Shephard

Ed Myers began his career in broadcasting in Charlotte, NC at of those many "independents" that popped up after WW2. Those were "go go years" for just about everything, particularly radio. There weren't enough Networks to go all those new stations started playing records...all day long. It was very "different" at the time....Imagine, music ALL DAY LONG! No soap operas, no dramas...."Music, wherever you go!"

Ed Myers

It wasn't long before DJ's began to rule the airwaves. Television was coming along then .....and that killed what was left of drama on radio. Playing records on radio....was very thats what everybody did during the 50's and 60's.

WGIV in 1951 The station was founded by Francis Fitzgerald. The call letters stood for We are GI Veterans.

Bernie Prewitt, Francis Fitzgerald, Ed Myers.

Francis Fitzgerald was a far sighted man who played an important role in many of the projects that were part of the fantastic growth of Charlotte during those first years of the post war period. WGIV's role in the good race relations enjoyed by the people of Charlotte during the 50's and 60's was VERY significant.

Mr. Fitz, as we all called him, was the kindest, most respected broadcast executive that I've ever known.
The morning hours in those years featured Genial Gene, Chatty Hattie, Eric Dehlin and Johnny Surratt. Ed Myers took over in the afternoon from 3pm til signoff (which was sundown since WGIV was a daytime station.)

Johnny Surratt (L) and Eric Dehlin

JULIAN BARBER and ED MYERS interviewed on TV in the early 90's

Nationally known broadcaster OWEN SPANN who recently died, also worked for WGIV. He was there in the late '40s. His show was called, OWEN SPANN, THE MORNING MAN.

Ed AND Owen....were in high school when they worked for WGIV.

As this article from the Charlotte News of 1953 shows, Myers' days at Central High were quite busy.

WGIV's success was due to...not only the fact that it was the first and only independent station in Charlotte...and was playing music all day long (it was a daytimer....sign off was whenever the sun went down) but....WGIV was also the FIRST station to openly appeal to the blacks of the area. Genial Gene was a dynamic, natural showman.....who left his job as principal of Billingsville Elementary school to become the most popular morning radio personality in Charlotte. He was one of the "Original 13," the first group of full-time black radio announcers in the South. Once Genial Gene became established.....the future of WGIV was assured.
In the 50's WGIV's on air staff was totally integrated: half white, half black. Some of the names of the times were: Chattie Hattie, Joy Boy, Friendly Frank (that was Fitz..when he occasionaly filled in) Eric Dehlin, Johnny Surratt, Pete Toomey, Henry Poole, Julian Barber.....and of course, the chief engineer, Bill Lineberger.

GENIAL GENE (Samuel Eugene Potts)

The music being played then was of the standard variety....and WIDELY varied. In any half hour segment you might hear anything from "top pops" ("top forty" hadn't been heard of yet) to popular standards to rhythm and blues (the term "rock and roll" hadn't been coined yet either) an occasional hymn. Cleveland DJ Alan Freed is credited with popularizing the term "rock and roll," but it's unclear where the term came from. One of the best guesses, in my opinion, is that it's from a 1951 song called "60 Minute Man" by Billy Ward and His Dominoes; they sang, "I rock 'em, roll 'em all night long" get the drift. Similarly, the etymology of the word "Jazz".....also had it's roots deeply embeded in ...shall we say.....basic human desires and fantasies.
Remember, everything was still aimed at the "general" audience in America. The movie ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK...with Bill Haley....was the first movie that was aimed at a "target" market. That came out in 1954. Gene's selections leaned heavily in the rhythm and blues and gospel genre.

Chatty Hattie (Hattie Leeper) Now in the Black Radio Hall of Fame

AND................WGIV SIGNS OFF

AM stations have been struggling for a long time now...since FM began dominating the radio waves in the early 80's. Many have "bitten the dust," and the first of December, 2003.......WGIV signed off for the last time.

The Charlotte Observer paid tribute to WGIV's groundbreaking accomplishments in race relations and highlighted its importance to the entire community over its lifetime.

I was honored to be remembered along with two of my "heros" in the broadcasting industry, "Genial Gene" Potts and Julian a letter to the one of the outstanding leaders of the Charlotte community, Obie Oakley.

(May I digress for a moment...........)

The good folks in Charlotte, NC will immediately know what I'm talking about....provided they're old enough to have been around that town in the 40's...but for the rest of the world......

There was a hillbilly band that broadcast on WBT....called THE BRIARHOPPERS. Every afternoon at 4:30....a voice would ask....."Do you know what time hit is?"................"Hit's BRIARHOPPER time!" That would be followed by the band striking up "Wait til the sunshine's Nellie......and the clouds go drifting by........"

Briarhopper time is arguably the main reason for the great sucess of WBT in the golden years of radio. (The other reason was, of course, CBS.)

"Whitey and Hogan"......on guitar and mandolin.......were two of the primary mainstays of the Briarhoppers.....and at this writing....two of only three original Briarhoppers still living.

Personally, I fell in love with radio......listening to the Briarhoppers as a five year old, imagine the thrill I received when I happened to meet Whitey...(Roy Grant)...quite by accident recently.

I think part of me is still 5 years old. And I like it that way.

WCHL Chapel Hill North Carolina

WCHL was one year old when Ed joined the staff in 1955. He replaced Charles Kuralt...who decided to devote all his spare time to the DAILY TAR HEEL.....the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina. He had become editor....and as Kuralt stated in one of his books....being editor of that small paper...and watching it roll off the press each night....was the happiest time of his life. Ed joined Charlie at the DTH as a reporter.

CHARLES KURALT at the editor's desk of UNC's DAILY TARHEEL

WCHL was a rather exceptional local radio station...mainly because of the large pool of talent available from the huge student population in the town of Chapel Hill. Sandy McClamroch owned the station and was known for his kindness to everyone who ever worked for him. Sandy was always one of the most respected business owners in Chapel Hill, and later served several terms as Mayor.

Ty Boyd, Barry Clark, Hank _________, Big John, Ed Myers, Patsy Owens (above)

Ty Boyd later replaced the legendary Grady Cole as Morning Host at WBT in Charlotte. Ty went on to become one of the country's leading motivational speakers and media trainers. (Photo courtesy of Alexa Press, publisher of VISIONS by Ty Boyd)


Ty and his wife Pat are still teaching..and motivating....many top executives...and future the Excellence in Speaking Institute in Charlotte. Boyd's new book is called, Million Dollar Toolbox

Andy Griffith and Ed in Chapel Hill.......1958

WSOC-TV Charlotte 1958

Ed was the first regular11pm news anchor for WSOC-TV. (Prior to Ed's arrival, the duty was shared by various announcers.) After at least a 10 year head start, WBTV (word on the street was it was given those call letters instead of WBT-TV because saying "TT" was not considered proper in mixed company) WSOC-TV, an NBC affiliate, admittedly played second fiddle in the ratings. The first president of the station was Larry Walker who was well known as a pianist....for several popular musical of which was the Johnson Family Singers who were mainstays on WBT's golden days of radio....along with the Briarhoppers and Arthur Smith.
Bob Provence came down from Cinncinatti as program director. An announcer named Brooks Lindsey dressed up as "Joey the Clown".......and became perhaps the best loved children's performer in the country. Jimmy Kilgo, who had a huge audience of young people when he was with WIST radio in Charlotte, brought his act to TV and was an immediate hit on local TV.

In 1961 Ed Myers joined

WTOP Radio and TV

..................................and became


From United States Air Force's Serenade in Blue album jacket....1965

Be sure to take a look at the archives (in the box in the upper right hand corner of this page) and click on other related topics .

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


John Alexander is probably the leading authority on the Ghost stories of Washington, DC.....of which there are many. John has a great ear for a good story, so naturally I was flattered that he would ask me to participate in a book he was writing. (This goes back a long was the 70's, I believe). I became John's official photographer for the book. What a hoot! We walked over 100 miles of Capitol landmarks.....wandered through old abandaned building and houses....and cemetaries....searching the National archives......doing research and taking pictures.

Life is GOOD.....when you have interesting friends like John Alexander.

Anyway........the book became a fantastic success. It was, and probably still is, being sold at most National Parks nationwide.

A lot of people have asked me about the picture on the Cover of John's book. It's a very dramatic picture.........and not one that's easy to forget. It is of a tombstone in an old cemetary in Georgetown......(part of DC). John and I were looking for a particular tomb....when I came upon that sad face.....with the one hundred and fifty year old weather beaten raindrop/tears.

I can only imagine the sadness suffered by the family of the little boy..........the name last name was "Randall".....I did a little research....and discovered that the father was a reporter for one of the New York papers....and he lived at the "Arlington House.."

That's about all I learned. I didn't even need to know that.

To's just a reminder...that life is full of great happiness................and great sadness.

Remind me to tell you about the Lincoln that same cemetary.....which is Oak Hill......near Dunbarton Oaks in Georgetown.


I've always had a special love for photography. As a kid, I remember thinking what a miracle it was that you could capture a moment in such a way.

But, like most of my hobbies, I ran hot and cold....and never had much of a plan, or over the years, I got a few good shots.....and missed a whole lot of great I run across some that I like, I'll post a few. These are from my many trips to NY City in the 80's:

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Brooks Lindsay

Levis Brooks Lindsay

Levis Brooks Lindsay, of Charlotte died Monday April 28, 2003. Born on June 7, 1925, Mr. Lindsay attended Central High School in Charlotte, served in the Navy in WWII and was an Erskine College Graduate.
Mr. Lindsay had a long and notable career in local radio and television and was widely known for his twelve-year children's program, "Joey the Clown". He was a long time member of Trinity Presbyterian Church and also spent a short but memorable time as a member of First Presbyterian Church of Monroe. He was an active member of the US Power Squadron and a founding member of the Lake Norman Marine Commission. He served as a volunteer with countless charitable organizations and continued to work with the public after his retirement as an information agent at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. He was a revered member of the Elwood P. Dowd Society.
He was the husband of the late Shirley Kennedy Lindsay and is survived by daughters, Janice and Cynthia Lindsay and his son, Brooks Lindsay.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 2nd, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlotte with visitation following immediately in the church parlor.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the J.D.F./Diabetic Research, 10724 Park Road, Suite 301, Charlotte, NC 28210-6496
Published in the Charlotte Observer on 4/30/2003.

RIP, Brooks.

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WGIV Signs Off

Black radio dynamo fades away
WGIV's sound transformed from R&B to gospel to silence
TV/Radio Writer

One of the South's most admired voices fell silent this week at age 56, snuffed out by the flick of a switch.

In life, Charlotte's WGIV radio became one of the nation's powerhouse black radio stations, captivated teens of both races and hatched the careers of radio greats like "Chatty Hattie" and "Rockin' Ray" Gooding. Once it even captured a killer.

Sunday, the station went silent at 11:59 p.m., the victim of low listenership and changing demographic tastes, says its owner, New York-based Infinity Broadcasting.

"We're all saddened by the station going dark," said Terri Avery, operations director for Infinity's WPEG-FM ("Power 98" 97.9), WBAV-FM, ("V" 101.9) and the late WGIV (1600 AM).

"But it's kind of like a sign of the times with the way business goes these days. ... It hadn't received much in the way of ratings, which equals listenership, which equals revenue."

WGIV was a product of the postwar baby boom and came of age in the turbulent era of Southern integration. In midlife, it struggled against powerful competitive currents in the ever-changing radio industry and spent its last days in the harness of religion, radiating the power of Southern gospel music.

WGIV was born in a two-car garage in 1947, one of the first broadcast licenses issued after World War II. The call letters stood for "We're G.I. Veterans."

Its founder was Francis Fitzgerald, who had an uncanny knack for finding talent. His first discovery was "Genial Gene" Potts -- never just "Gene," not on the air anyway.

In 1948, he sent Potts to host a broadcast from the old Excelsior Club featuring a vocal group named the Calypso Four.

Potts nailed the gig and was soon hosting gospel and soul programs, then became the station's morning announcer, a shift to showcase his ability to chatter in verse.

"We're setting the pace for others to trace," Potts would ad-lib. "This is Genial Gene on the air; have you got 15 minutes to spare?"

Potts took to rhyming in order to overcome a stammer that vexed him. He collected synonyms to replace words that would not come and his rapping became his trademark.

He would go on to join the Original 13, the first group of full-time black radio announcers in the South.

Once, a man sought for killing a police officer strolled into WGIV. He proposed a deal: Play a song for my mama and I'll surrender. Potts played it, then dialed the cops. The man went peacefully.

Attracted blacks, whites

WGIV rippled the segregationist fabric of the 1950s and '60s when white teenagers started tuning in to hear Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, Ray Charles, James Brown and other influences of the emerging -- some grown-ups called it corrupting -- rhythm and blues movement.At its heart, WGIV reverberated with personality.

There was William B. Sanders, who started out running errands for Potts and was so eternally optimistic that Potts nicknamed him "Joy Boy."

Potts teamed "Joy Boy" with "Hot Scott" Hubbs on the morning show in the early 1960s. Sanders was black; Hubbs white. They became the first integrated morning radio show in the South and for a while, the hottest show in town.

There was F.P. Toomey who went from broadcasting sock hops in the 1950s to a spot on the Charlotte police force.

And there was "Rockin' Ray" Gooding, who worked at WGIV from 1960 to 1968 and went on to WBT-AM to host the old "Sunday Night Hall of Fame."

Chatty Hattie's rise

Perhaps best known to this day is Hattie Leeper, who went to work for Potts as a high school student in the mid-1950s, doing odd jobs. Potts had her before the microphone before long and soon she was a regular part of WGIV's schedule known as "Chatty Hattie."

After the death of Fitzgerald in 1967, the station was sold, the first of many ownership changes. Facing foreclosure in 1982, the station went up for auction.

In a single decade, AM radio had lost half its listeners to the powerful and clearer FM. WGIV's influence was ebbing.

By the early '80s, WPEG-FM dumped its disco format and started down the path to primacy in the Charlotte market with its mix of jazz, rock and rhythm and blues, effectively stealing WGIV's core audience.

WGIV eventually adopted a gospel format and became indispensable to Charlotte's black religious matrix. With personalities like Altheresa Goode-Howard and Beatrice Thompson, it forged a powerful bond with listeners.

Listener misses WGIV

Avery said she was notified Nov. 24 that Infinity intended to pull the plug at WGIV. A 10,000-watt license the station held for the frequency at 1660 AM was salvaged and activated Monday to provide a second transmitter for Infinity's sports-talk station WFNZ (610 and 1660 AM).

"It was sad to just see it go so fast," said James Barnett, who came to Charlotte in the 1960s and knew the station at the apex of its influence. Barnett wondered why Infinity couldn't sell it to someone who would keep it on the air.

"I think those in the black community should be asking some questions," he said.

"As a church musician, I depended on WGIV as my cup-of-coffee radio station in the mornings," Tony McNeill, music minister at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church said Tuesday.

"It made it bearable to sit in traffic."



..and a couple of personal notes

My old friend from Central High School, Obie Oakley told me about the demise of WGIV. He was kind enough to write the Observer to tell them that they had left out a couple of things:

Here's what he wrote:

As a teenager growing up in Charlotte during the early 50’s, I have very fond memories of WGIV and especially “Genial Gene”, so I view the station’s signing off as the passing of an era.

However, in addition to the personalities cited in the article, I feel there are two other WGIV alumni who deserve mention. Ed Myers, Central High student leader and Shrine Bowl quarterback, was an “on air” DJ who went on to make a name for himself in broadcasting in the Washington, DC Area.

Julian Barber was the station’s news director in the early 50’s and he later became a top rated TV news anchor who won 3 Emmys.

WGIV can be proud of its service to the Charlotte community.

s/ Osborne Oakley

Charlotte, NC

Very nice, Obie. Thank you.

Everytime Julian and I got together...we would talk about those days.....for hours. He never forgot anything! He could even name all the little urchins...who lived out there on Toomey Ave (next to the dump) who used to hang around the station. (My daddy used to bring those kids presents on Christmas. He'd go by Stanleys on Christmas eve....and whatever toys old Doc Stanley hadn't sold....he'd let my Dad have them at he could give them to those kids. He carried on that tradition for a number of years, even after I had left for college. My dad's favorite was a little fellow they called "Little Bill."

My Dad passed away on Chrismas Eve, 1957. Around noontime the next day, there was a phone call......... from Little Bill....wanting to know where Mr. Myers was.

I regret that I didn't have the presence of mind that day to try to somehow get some toys to those kids....and carry on my father's tradition.

But most of my memories of WGIV are happy ones! If you ever see any old WGIV memorabilia for sale.....let me know.

Thanks for letting the Observer know that there was more to WGIV...than what they wrote about.


(I just went on the internet and ordered 2 cases of Cheerwine.....and when it arrives....I'm going to drink myself silly toasting ....and saying goodbye WGIV!)

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Three time Emmy Award winning Washington, DC anchorman, Julian Barber, died of congestive heart failure at his home in Alexandria Wednesday, November 12. He was 75.

Barber was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and began his broadcasting career in 1949 at WSTS in Southern Pines, North Carolina. From there he went to WAYS in Charlotte.

From 1950 to 1952, he served in the Korean War as an Army war correspondent for the Far East Network. In that capacity, Mr. Barber broadcast the first official messages on behalf of General Matthew Ridgeway to enemy Korean forces during the UN armistice negotiations.

After receiving an Honorable Discharge, he accepted the job as news director of WGIV in Charlotte, NC and then moved up to a position as an anchorman at WSJS-TV in Winston-Salem, NC.

He came to Washington in 1956 and began a 15-year career as a television correspondent and anchor at WTOP-TV (channel 9) and WRC- TV (channel 4).

For 11 years Julian Barber was the top-rated TV news anchor in the Nation's Capital. He hosted Washington's first hour-long TV news program as well as hosting weekly interview programs, special event programming, documentaries, and political debates. He also made numerous personal appearances as Washington's most outstanding and best-known television personality.

Julian Barber received three Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as top anchor.

After leaving Washington in 1971, he continued his work as a correspondent and anchor at WBBM-TV in Chicago. He returned to Washington in 1974 as an anchor for the Mutual Broadcasting System.

He served as Senator Harrison "Jack" Schmitt's (R-NM) press secretary from 1979-1983, then as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense until 1990.

Barber retired from the Small Business Administration in 1995.

He is survived by five children, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

. A memorial service will be held on Friday, November 21 at 2pm at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1301 Collingwood Rd, Alexandria VA. He will be buried at Arlington Cemetary at a later date. Julian's children are: Robert Barber, Marguerite Barber, Melanie Fagan, Tamatha Hickman and Justin Barber.

Julian (R) at Thurmont in 1999

He was one of the first and finest TV newsmen in the country. He was also the funniest man I ever knew.

By Lee Shephard

I first met Julian in 1953. He had just returned from serving in the Army in Korea. Prior to being drafted into service he was an up and coming announcer/dj at WAYS in Charlotte, North Carolina. Julian's evening record show was extremely popular among Charlotte's teenagers, because it was a "dedication" show...something new at the time. (You know, "this one goes out to Ann.....from Ed......who thinks she's cute...." etc.......)

When he returned from the war, WAYS..........said they didn't have a job for him anymore. (I think that was illegal, but Julian didn't fight it, he simply went to another station in Charlotte, WGIV, and got hired there as the "news director." (WGIV was started right after WW2 by a couple of Army veterans. The call letters stood for WE ARE GI VETERANS. So the little station was a perfect match at the time for Julian.

WGIV "sounded" big on the air, but it was a very small station, a thousand watt day-timer. The only place where there was room for the AP wire (remember those old clunky teletype machines?) was in the bathroom. So that's where they put it. Julian often said that It gave new meaning to "And now, a bulletin from the WGIV NEWSROOM.


It's not often that you get to meet your hero, much less work with him and get to know him. I was the high school DJ at WGIV when Julian joined the staff as news director. I had admired him from afar for quite some time, but to be in the same studio and watch him work, was a thrill this 15 year old radio wannabe....will never forget. My father got to know Julian too, because since I was underage I had to be driven back and forth to work. My dad once said to me that I would meet all kinds of people in the radio business, but that I wouldn't go wrong if I patterned myself after Julian Barber. And he wasn't just talking about broadcasting. Julian was a man of great character. And of great humor! It was rare when he didn't greet you with some kind of truly humorous story, or a laugh out loud slant on some mundane subject. And he was NEVER at a loss for words. I have seen him eloquently praise people he thought deserved it, totally off the cuff, bringing the audience almost to tears...without using a single note. Last time I saw him I told him that he was my hero when I was 15 years old.....and frankly, he still was. Julian's response was, "well that just proves that you don't have any better sense now, than you did 50 years ago."

Julian once told me that his love for broadcasting began when he was a young boy and his uncle let him sit in the press box at a baseball game.........while he broadcast the game. His uncle was a pretty good broadcaster too. His name was Red Barber.

-Lee Shephard

To be continued.............

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