Media Scene

WFAE’s new morning host may have a familiar ring

Forgive yourself if you think the local host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” is an echo of the past. Because the local host thinks he is, too.

Marshall Terry was an intern fresh out of Appalachian State University when he came to Charlotte’s WFAE-FM (NPR, 90.7) in 2007. His shift started at 9 a.m. weekdays, but he got to the University City studios far earlier to hang out with then-morning host Scott Graf.

He and Graf – who left WFAE in 2012 to join Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, where he is now news director – became friends, and Graf turned into something of a mentor to the new kid. After Terry got a full-time job at WFAE, he became Graf’s producer in the wee hours before dawn when the show comes together.

After Graf departed, Terry sat in as interim host. He did the same after Duncan McFadyen left the morning duty to do reporting at WFAE and host the weekend edition of “Morning Edition,” and when Kevin Kniestedt left the post after a year before returning to his native Pacific Northwest.

Now Terry, 29, is the fourth local host of “Morning Edition” in two years, one of the station’s most prominent positions. And he credits Graf, who hosted the show for eight years, with developing his sense of style and execution.

“His influence is heavy,” says Terry. “I tend to do the show the way he did it. I’m sort of a Scott Graf clone.”

Terry was born in Fayetteville, grew up in Concord and first worked in radio at the App State station in Boone, WASU-FM (90.5), where he did a jazz show. He admits being a music snob.

One of his favorite stories grew out of that interest. He saw a highway marker in uptown one day that made reference to the old studios where Bill Monroe pioneered bluegrass music back in the 1930s. That led to a broadcast about Charlotte’s forgotten history of being a leader in the recording business, which it lost to Nashville, Tenn.

Then there was the story about Albert Chaffoo. When Terry found out Salisbury had its own symphony, he had to know how it got started. That led him to Chaffoo, an Iraqi who formed the Baghdad Symphony and then went around America setting up orchestras. He was, Terry says, sort of a Johnny Appleseed of symphonies, and Salisbury got one of his plantings.

When Terry was offered the morning show two months ago, he had to take some time to think it over, he says. It would be a major promotion and make him a high-profile player at the station.

“But the hours are a killer,” Terry says. “It affects your relationships and lifestyle.”

In the end, he decided to take the job, with its 3:30 a.m. wake-up call.

He’s been coached to pretend he’s talking to someone in the room when he’s talking to motorists in the morning, but he says he has trouble doing that. He just tries to connect through his voice, conveying a relaxed tone and remembering that NPR listeners expect and appreciate sly humor.

One recent “Morning Edition” story with a connection to Elizabethan England finished with the national host’s end tag, “Thou art listening to NPR.”

With that, Terry was supposed to say, “And you’re listening to WFAE.” But he couldn’t resist. “And thou art listening to WFAE,” he said.

Media Movers

Laurabree Monday, news director of Comporium Communications’ CN2 in Rock Hill, has joined the board of directors for the Charlotte branch of the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas. … After 30 years at the Observer, associate editor Fannie Flono retires this week as editorial writer, columnist and one of the state’s foremost journalistic voices. …

Warped tie-in or clever marketing? WJZY (Channel 46) tweets a teaser to its 10 p.m. newscast for a story by Joe Bruno about “the untold stories behind N.C.’s unidentified bodies,” noting that it follows the season debut of “Bones.” …

Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, said to be the inspiration for Mayberry in his 1960s sitcom, will celebrate its 25th annual Mayberry Days festival this weekend with former “Andy Griffith Show” actors including Betty Lynn, who played Barney Fife’s girlfriend Thelma Lou; Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling; James Best, who played Jim Lindsey; Morgan Brittany, who played Opie’s girlfriend Mary Alice Carter; Jackie Joseph, who played Sweet Romena; and Joy Ellison, a child actor who had multiple roles. …

WSOC (Channel 9) will air episodes of the magazine show “Carolina Connection” 1:30 p.m. Saturday produced by students from the Carolina School of Broadcasting including Jay Harwick, now with Clear Channel Radio; Jason Schrader, now with the Carolina Railhawks; Amanda O’Hara, now with Fox46; and Kendall Lewis, now Pheiffer University sports announcer. Another episode will air on Channel 9 at 1 p.m. Oct. 5 with Brandon McCarty, now with Traffic Network; Stephanie Glover, now with Fox46; and Keith Kilpatrick, now with WCCB (Channel 18). For both episodes, Chris Tyndell of Carolina School of Broadcasting served as production coordinator and freelancer Chip White was supervising producer and Jay Rich was supervising editor.

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