The “main event” of the evening of the WBT 100 celebration, three new members were inducted into the WBT Hall of Fame – John Stokes, Jim Szoke, and Bob Lacey.
WBT Mid-Day Host Pete Kaliner and former News Director Jim Barroll inducted John Stokes into the WBT Hall of Fame. Kaliner and Barroll played off of each other in their comments about Stokes’ style, dedication to quality journalism and broadcasting, and his distinctive, authoritative voice which defined the sound of WBT news for three decades.
The Charlotte news legend relayed that it was his fascination with the Watergate scandal that pulled him away from a career path in architecture to journalism, but that he was too introverted for television and wanted to enjoy sports rather than “work” in sports. For thirty-two years, he strived to do the best job he could do, every day, for the listeners here in Charlotte.
Carolina Panthers play by play legends, Bill Rosinski and Mick Mixon, spoke about the second honoree of the night, WBT Sports Director, Jim Szoke.
Rosinski and Mixon spoke of Szoke’s razor-sharp wit and sense of humor, and how Szoke made their broadcast teams better. In his acceptance comments, Szoke recalled seizing on the opportunity of radio to jumpstart his career in sports broadcasting, and his tenure as the only member of the Carolina Panthers broadcast team to be a part of every game broadcast in the team’s history. Szoke, who has been a part of WBT for five decades from the late 1980s to the present, expressed that he listened to the station as a boy in Ohio, and is now honored to be inducted into its Hall of Fame.
2012 WBT Hall of Fame inductee H.A. Thompson spoke about the final inductee of the evening, Bob Lacey. They both had joined the air staff in the early 1970s during WBT’s Top 40 and Adult Contemporary eras.
Thompson recounted the exciting time it was to be on the air at WBT and how the station thrived at night with the groundbreaking nighttime talk show, “Lacey Listens,” and how that success lead to Lacey being moved to Mornings, where he dominated the airwaves through the end of the decade.
WBT Hall of Fame, Lacey thanked the many past executives in attendance and praised the ownership groups of his time at WBT for believing in and supporting the air talent at both WBT and WBTV, where he hosted “PM Magazine” in the 1980s before ultimately returning to radio.