03/07/04 — Broadcasters from Goldsboro named to hall of fame

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Broadcasters from Goldsboro named to hall of fame

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 7, 2004 2:03 AM

Two Goldsboro natives will be inducted into the N.C. Broadcasters Hall of Fame next month.

Carl Kasell, broadcaster for National Public Radio, and Vassie Balkcum, former president of WGBR radio station, are among new members who will be inducted on April 4.

The hall of fame recognizes people who have made outstanding, career-long contributions to their field. Honorees must be native North Carolinians or those born elsewhere who have become distinctly identified with the state.

Balkcum started in the broadcast industry as an announcer, rising rapidly in the early 1950s to program director and general manager before becoming president of the former Eastern Carolina Broadcasting Co., which owned WGBR radio station in Goldsboro.

He was presented the N.C. Association of Broadcasters' Distinguished Service Award in 1992. He has also been honored by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and has served in various civic organizations and leadership positions. He has since retired and lives in Goldsboro.

Kasell, a 1956 UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus, joined WUNC-FM as program host and newscaster while still in college. Before joining NPR, he worked at WAVA in Arlington, Va., and WGBR in Goldsboro. In 1975, he became a part-time broadcaster for NPR's "Weekend All Things Considered."

"Morning Edition" debuted in 1979 with Kasell as its full-time newscaster. He prepares and delivers news reports at the top of every hour during the program. Recent reports rank "Morning Edition" as the second most listened-to radio show in the country.

Kasell joined "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" in 1998. He won the Public Radio Regional Organization Award in 1991 and the Leo C. Lee Friend of Public Radio News Award in 1996.

Other honorees from the journalism field are William F. McIlwain, former senior editor of the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group, award-winning writer Ellen Scarborough, and Lawrence "Jeep" Hunter, former photographer for The Charlotte News.

Other inductees into the hall of fame are Woody Durham, longtime play-by-play announcer for UNC-Chapel Hill men's basketball and football; Carl Lamm, vice president and general manager of WMPM-AM in Smithfield; and Cullie Tarleton, former general manager for WBT-WBTV and WCCB in Charlotte.

The public relations honoree is H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. The advertising recipient is Donald H. Williams, president and chief operating officer of Lewis Advertising in Rocky Mount.

The ceremony will be at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Admission is $65. Reservations may be made by calling 919-962-1204 before March 22.