Most radio hosts prepare for their shows in an office. Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire, whose afternoon show on WBT-AM (1110) started last month, do it in a car.
Both still live near Greensboro, where their show used to be based. As they car pool to Charlotte, they kick ideas around for the day.
Krantz is well-known in Charlotte for his four years on WBT as half of the Spires & Krantz team with Richard Spires. Whitmire is a newcomer, but he used to dip into Spires & Krantz, doing imitations of Strom Thurmond and Bob Hope.
Once, when he was between jobs, he tried to get on one of the Greensboro stations but was having no luck. He visited his friend Krantz, who was still at WBT.
I came down once and everyone in the hall at WBT was whispering, Thats the Bob Hope guy. I cant get anyone in Greensboro to return my calls, and at WBT Im Elvis.
Whitmire grew up in rural Transylvania County, high in the Blue Ridge. He started in radio at small local station, hosting afternoons while still a high school student. He was attending college at UNC Greensboro when he met Krantz, who was doing mornings there on the rock station.
Whitmires career took him to stations all over coastal North Carolina.
He always thought he and Krantz would make a good team and in 2004, they got paired at a Greensboro FM station. After a format change there last year, their show got switched to AM stations in Raleigh and Winston-Salem. They moved to WBT on July 2.
Krantz thinks they have good chemistry because theyre so different. Whitmire doesnt disagree.
I dont think theres a whole lot the same about us. Hes from up north, Im down south. Hes Jewish and Im not. Hes a Johnny Carson guy and Im a David Letterman guy. Thats kind of how we were oriented to the world.
With Britt & Brett, WBT is beginning to move away from the political focus it has maintained for more than a decade.
Whitmire, who turns 42 on Monday, says their show is about two guys trying to make sense of the world rather than the conservative focus of WBTs former afternoon hosts, Tara Servatius and Vince Coakley.
WBT has been on a right-wing harangue for a long time, and it was successful, Whitmire says. But over time, you alienated a lot of consumers. Back in its day, WBT was the neighbor, a Hey, lets talk over the back fence like John Hancock does. I think thats what people are looking for. There are fans for conservative talk but its a small audience. Talk radio in general needs to be available to a larger audience
I want people to listen to our show on WBT and not be able to predict what the first four seconds are going to be about, not something about how bad Obama is. You got to come to the party with a little more than that, he says.
No two people have ever come on to WBT with a greater understanding of what this station has meant to Charlotte and the region over the years, says Krantz. For people who feel theyve been dislodged or robbed of something, we only ask for a little bit of time. And youll love us.
Talk host Jim Celania is expected back next week at WFNZ-AM (Fan 610). Listeners and co-workers had noticed his voice lacked the usual energy and encouraged him to get checked out. He was treated after his electrolytes were found to be low. Charlotte Morning News co-host Stacey Simms hopes to return to WBT this month after a series of health problems this summer, most recently a gastro-intestinal problem in July that landed her in the hospital for nearly two weeks.
Drew Gregory of Charlotte, professional kayaker and bass fishing expert, will be featured on Off the Hook: Extreme Catches, debuting 9 p.m. Monday on Discovery Channel. Theresa Liberatore takes over as producer of Fox News Rising at WCCB (Channel 18). UNC-TV says former UNC system president William Friday has signed on to host North Carolina People, which airs 9 p.m. Fridays, for another year. It will be the shows 42nd season.
Tasnim Shamma joins WFAE-FM (NPR, 90.7) as a reporter on Aug. 20. Shamma, a Princeton University graduate, is finishing an intership at NPR. Program director Dale Spear says WFAE intends to continue carrying Car Talk after hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi retire this fall and the show begins airing classic episodes. Though ratings have fallen in a little in recent years, he says, it remains one of the stations most popular weekend shows.
Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge will be featured in All You Can Meat, 10 p.m. Aug. 12 on Travel Channel. Ballantyne resident etiquette expert, food and beverage supervisor Carl Libonati, gives host Chuey Martinez pointers about proper etiquette at afternoon tea.