The first class of the Charlotte Broadcast Hall of Fame will be expanded after the committee choosing the inductees chose 11 white people on Friday.
“The Charlotte Broadcast Hall of Fame made an unintentional misstep and an error of omission in selecting the inaugural group of inductees – and for that we’re deeply sorry,” said Amy Burkett, gm of PBS station WTVI.
The Hall of Fame will be housed at Central Piedmont Community College. The Charlotte Observer reports on Monday the CEO of the Urban League wrote to CPCC president Tony Zeiss asking that minorities be considered.
“That is a huge oversight,” Cassandra Wynn, a Charlotte native and journalism professor told the Charlotte Post. “With all this talk of black lives matter, it’s hard to see, given the context of what has happened in the country the last year or two with racial issues …it’s hard to think people would make decisions and not look at diversity.”
The class of 2015 includes the likes of evangelist Billy Graham, WCNC meteorologist Larry Sprinkle, retired TV anchors Bill Walker (WSOC) and Doug Mayes (WBT, WBTV and WSOC) and former CBS News anchor Charles Kuralt. Among those passed over are African American broadcast legends Hattie Leeper and Gene Potts of WGIV radio; Ray Gooding of WGIV and WBT radio and former television anchors Ken Koontz (WBTV) and Beatrice Thompson (WBTV and WCNC). Koontz was the first black anchor in Charlotte’s TV market; Thompson was its first black woman reporter. The class will be inducted August 21.
“We’ve heard the thoughtful and concerned input from community members and have quickly recognized that the first slate of inductees for the Charlotte Broadcast Hall of Fame was not fully representative of Charlotte’s diverse broadcasting history,” Burkett said. “We want to make certain that this prestigious honor is determined and awarded in a manner that is inclusive of all of those who make up the breadth of Charlotte’s rich broadcasting heritage.”
Burkett added, “Upon closer examination, the selection process was unintentionally flawed. In an effort to fix it, 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.”