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That WBT radio gig was lucrative for McCrory
Pay as part-time morning host was more than his salary as governor, new financial records show
This article originally appeared in the Aug. 18, 2021, edition of The Charlotte Ledger, a morning e-newsletter that delivers original local news and insights.
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Radio exec says Republican Senate candidate ‘clearly has a job in broadcast’ if politics doesn’t work out
by Jim Morrill
For a two-hour-a-day job, the Pat McCrory Show was a lucrative gig for its host.
In fact, it paid a lot more than his last job — governing the state.
Reports filed this month for McCrory’s U.S. Senate campaign show he earned $286,000 from radio station WBT from the start of 2020 until he left in mid-April to run for the Senate.
That compares to his annual salary of about $141,000 as governor from 2013-2017.
“Gov. McCrory enjoyed a successful run on the radio,” campaign advisor Jordan Shaw said in a statement. “But there’s a difference between talking about the issues and actually doing something about them. Gov. McCrory is a doer, not a talker, and that’s why he was willing to walk away from what would have been a very successful radio career to run for the United States Senate.”
But McCrory’s compensation raised eyebrows among some Charlotte radio professionals. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a radio host in the city is $97,581.
McCrory, who co-hosted the show with Bo Thompson, was never known to do much, if any, preparation. He sometimes broadcast from his home in Charlotte or from his house on Lake James, where the station installed a special studio.
Former WBT General Manager Matt Hanlon, who hired McCrory, said the former governor was worth every penny.
“He’s probably the most underpaid radio person in Charlotte,” Hanlon told The Ledger. “And if he ever decides to come back, they’ll probably have to pay him double. He was incredibly successful on the radio. The guy was Number 1 with a bullet.”
Ratings decline after signing off: It’s not immediately clear whether McCrory’s show was ever the top-rated in Charlotte. But since his departure, ratings for the time slot have fallen. According to sources, the two-hour window that attracted 72,100 listeners from May through June 2020 drew 67,400 over the same period this year despite a slight bump up in May. WBT is owned by Urban One, a Maryland-based media conglomerate that operates stations that primarily serve Black audiences.
“After Governor McCrory left WBT in April 2021, the weekly May audience in his time slot was significantly larger than it had been in May of 2020, when McCrory was there,” said Nancy Haynes, a strategic media planner. “Because that audience decreased in June, I believe that thousands of new listeners tried out WBT right after McCrory left, but they might have decided not to stick around.”
Hanlon, the former general manager, said McCrory could have a future in radio.
“The guy found a rhythm in radio,” he said. “If it doesn’t work out in politics, he clearly has a job in broadcast.”
Jim Morrill covered politics and government for the Charlotte Observer for 38 years before retiring in December. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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