WVOT (Radio Station: Wilson, N.C.) Collection

Manuscript Collection #1177
WVOT (Radio station : Wilson, Wilson County, N.C.)
Physical description
0.5 Cubic Feet, 1 box containing a scrapbook, consisting of a scrapbook, photographs and clippings.
Preferred Citation
WVOT (Radio Station: Wilson, N.C.) Collection (#1177), Special Collections Department, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

The WVOT (Radio Station: Wilson, N.C.) Collection is a scrapbook (1947-1948) containing identified photographs and newspaper clippings documenting the organization and early development of a private radio station in Wilson, N.C. At the time, Wilson was well-known for its tobacco warehouses. The photographs depict the station's founders and special events involving the radio station as well as views of Wilson and its tobacco warehouses and business district.

Biographical/historical information

Tommy Williams, Ted Leeper, Joel Lawhon, and Nick Pieler had worked for many different radio stations before they all ended up at WPTF, an NBC outlet in Raleigh, North Carolina. All four men had a similar dream of starting their own radio station and in May 1947 they started to plan. The team wanted to stay in the area so they looked at towns around southern Virginia, North Carolina, and northern South Carolina. Eventually they settled on Wilson, North Carolina, as the destination for their new station. It was chosen because it was a trading area and it had very little radio coverage already. They decided to partner with a local business man, H. W. Anderson, to help them set up the business. The application for the radio station was made to the F.C.C. on July 3, 1947, and was granted on November 13, 1947. Construction on the new facilities started the next spring and the first broadcasting was on June 3, 1948.

The Station was 1420AM and used 1 kilowatt non-directional during the day and 500 watts directional during the night. The radio station managed to last a long time with The Taylor Group, Inc., acquiring it in 1997 with the new location at 103 N. Jackson St. in Wilson. By that time they had changed to mostly 1970's music with news programing 25 hours a week. In 2017 the F.C.C received a report that the radio station had not been broadcasting for the last 6 years. When the F.C.C. looked into the matter they got no response from anyone connected to the radio station in their files, and the station officially had its license cancelled on December 19, 2017.


Directory of Radio. American Radio History, 1999, www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/1999/D-Radio-NE-Ter-BC-YB-1999..pdf. Accessed 19 September 2018.

Operational Status Inquiry. Federal Communications Commission, 2017, http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/getimportletter_exh.cgi?import_letter_id=80326. Accessed 19 September 2018.

Public Notice. Federal Communications Commission, 2017, https://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db1222/DOC-348385A1.pdf. Accessed 19 September 2018.

Scope and arrangement

The scrapbook is a large, two feet by one and a half feet, shoelace-bound book with the words "The Story of WVOT Wilson's Voice of Tobacco Land" written across a depiction of a tobacco leaf on the cardboard cover. It contains a total of thirty-four pages, with most displaying two each of the fifty-eight photos in the scrapbook, and others displaying some of the fifteen newspaper clippings in the book. There is also a booklet of the Wilson, North Carolina, Economic Survey from 1948 included. All the photographss have captions, but there are two photographss missing.

This scrapbook tells the story of WVOT from the planning stages to the first year of broadcasting. The first two pages of the scrapbook have a short history on the founding of the radio station. The next few pages have photographs of the founders planning the new radio station, photographs showing some of the notable areas in Wilson, and newspaper clippings showing Wilson life, including its important tobacco industry. There are a few pictures showing the construction of the new radio station building and many newspaper clippings of ads taken out to congratulate the new station. Several photographs show the staff of the station including, Nick Pieler (Chief Engineer), Tommy Williams (General Manager), Ted Leeper (Farm Director), Joel Lawhon (Program Director), Gene Sink (Sports Director), Bob Brunson (Commercial Manager), Durham Moore, Al Harrington (Traffic), Dan Williams (Engineer), Jackie Daniel (Secretary), Charlie Raines (Staff Photographer), Guy Cox (Staff Photographer), and Hobb W. Anderson (Partner and Business Manager). Many of the remaining photographs illustrate staff interviewing groups in Wilson at the Sears Robbuck Catalogue store, at the Army-Navy store, at groceries, and bike contests. There are photographs of the tobacco market showing interviews with farmers and tobacco sales. Some photographs depict some of the radio equipment and the interior of the radio station while interviews were being done. Sepia Serenade's quartet contest is also pictured in the scrapbook.

Administrative information
Source of acquisition

Gift of Becky Callison

Processing information

Processing completed September 19, 2018.

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.