Nine communications professionals and an educator will be inducted into the N.C. Journalism and Advertising Halls of Fame and the N.C. Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame on April 2. The halls are based in UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The five journalism honorees will be Bob Allen and the late Peggy Allen, former owners of the Wake Weekly in Wake Forest; Jack Betts ’68, associate editor of The Charlotte Observer; Hugh Stevens ’65, a lawyer with the Raleigh firm of Everett, Gaskins & Hancock who also earned his law degree from UNC in 1968; and Louis Austin, late editor and publisher of the Carolina Times in Durham.
The advertising honoree will be Jim Mullen, an emeritus faculty member of the UNC school.
The four new broadcast members will be Henry Boggan, a talk radio pioneer in Charlotte; Ralph Epperson, owner of Blue Ridge Radio Inc. in Mount Airy; Maurice “Maury” O’Dell, host of the morning radio program on WPTF-AM in Raleigh for more than 25 years; and Roy Underhill of Williamsburg, Va., host of the PBS series “The Woodwright’s Shop.”
The new members will bring total memberships in the halls of fame to 111 in journalism, 17 in advertising and 89 in broadcasting. The halls were founded in 1970 (broadcasting), 1981 (journalism) and 1988 (advertising).
The journalism and advertising halls of fame recognize individuals 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.
The statewide broadcasting association represents more than 300 broadcasting executives and business managers in industries that support broadcasting operations.
The Allens established a family tradition at the Wake Weekly after they bought the paper in the early 1950s. Bob Allen sold advertising and managed the paper’s business activities; Peggy Allen managed the paper’s editorial activities. During their tenure, the weekly was consistently recognized as one of the best community newspapers in North Carolina. The couple’s son, Greg, and his wife, Janet, now run the paper. Peggy Allen died in 2005.
Betts has been on the Charlotte Observer’s editorial board since 1992. He writes daily columns on public policy issues and a weekly column on politics and public affairs. A lifelong North Carolina journalist, Betts has received four first-place awards for editorials from the N.C. Press Association since 1993.
He previously was a reporter and correspondent for the Greensboro Daily News and the News & Record in Greensboro and editor of North Carolina Insight magazine. Betts is an analyst for N.C. Public Television. Betts is a former member of the GAA Board of Directors and has contributed articles to the Carolina Alumni Review.
Stevens was general counsel for the N.C. Press Association from 1979 to 2002 and continues as general counsel for the N.C. Press Foundation. He has represented newspapers and other media in cases in state and federal courts.
Stevens is credited with helping strengthen the state’s open meetings and public records laws. He also helped craft the state’s shield law, which protects reporters from being drawn into litigation.
The N.C. Press Association honored Stevens with its William C. Lassiter Award in 2003, recognizing Stevens’ efforts to defend the First Amendment and the public’s right to know.
Austin bought the Carolina Times, an African-American newspaper in Durham, in 1927. He edited and published the paper until his death in 1971. Austin and the Carolina Times were vocal champions for the rights of blacks.
Austin was the president of the Durham branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and helped found the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs. A graduate of the National Training School – now N.C. Central University – Austin worked for the N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Co. before starting his journalism career. His daughter, Vivian Austin Edmonds, was inducted to the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame in 1988.
Mullen moved to Chapel Hill and the University in 1959 to establish the advertising sequence in the journalism school. Four students took the sequence that year. Today, the advertising sequence is the school’s second largest.
Mullen’s colleagues credit him with growth of the school’s prominence in advertising. He retired in 1986. A veteran of World War II, Mullen holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from Harvard.
A 40-year veteran of the broadcast industry, Boggan was a talk radio host before it was the popular genre it is today. In 1979, Boggan became the evening show host for WBT radio in Charlotte, where he stayed for almost 20 years.
Every weekday, from 8 p.m. to midnight, people from Florida to Canada would call to be a part of his show, “Hello Henry.” He has been described as the nighttime voice of the Eastern Seaboard.
Epperson has spent nearly 60 years preserving and broadcasting the native music of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the foothills of North Carolina and Virginia. In 1948, he founded WPAQ in Mount Airy. To this date, WPAQ operates the third-longest-running live radio show of its type in the country, just behind the “Grand Ole Opry.”
Epperson acquired several radio stations and formed Blue Ridge Radio Inc. He emphasized balanced formats suitable for family listening and focused on preserving the musical heritage of the communities served by his stations.
For more than 25 years, Maury O’Dell hosted the morning radio program on WPTF-AM in Raleigh. He has interviewed presidents, governors, pundits, authors, sports legends, musicians, actors, crooners, artists and comedians.
O’Dell broke into the broadcasting business in 1954 at age 17, worked his way up at stations in the South and settled at WPTF in 1976, where he quickly became a familiar and trusted voice for more than a generation of Triangle-area listeners.
Host of the PBS series “The Woodwright’s Shop,” Roy Underhill just celebrated the show’s 25th year on PBS, making it one of the longest-running of all PBS “how-to” programs. Underhill hosts, writes and co-produces the show he created more than a quarter century ago.
Nearly 325 episodes later, “The Woodwright’s Shop” still reaches millions of public television viewers in more than 200 markets around the nation and has taped in 11 states and seven foreign countries.
The ceremony will be at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:45 p.m.