Thursday, February 19, 2009

Top 5 all-time Charlotte television sportscasters


Our list of the top television sportscasters in Charlotte history:

5. Mike Solarte, News 14: The best thing going right now. Solarte does a 30-minute sports show almost daily -- and effectively -- like an N.C. “SportsCenter.”

4. Chuck Howard, WCNC: Came in from Buffalo and was a local whiz kid. He was polished and knowledgeable and broke a lot of news. He was major network good.

3. Jim Thacker, WBTV: I remember him as much for calling ACC basketball with Billy Packer as I do the local sports, but he was awful good at both.

2. Paul Cameron, WBTV: Fair and balanced, Cameron came across like your favorite uncle. His “Football Friday Night” high school show is one of the best local TV creations of all time.

1. Harold Johnson, WSOC: He was once as a big a celebrity locally as many of the people he interviewed. His “Big Guy” persona was ESPN before there was ESPN.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where is the "Big Guy" now? What's he up to these days?

keith said...

Does anyone remember Bill Currie. Talented and funny. Also voice of the Tar Heels.
Keith

Anonymous said...

Jim Celania!

Anonymous said...

I agree. Where's Jim Celania???

Anonymous said...

Where are the really good sportscasters these days??
Where are the really good newscasters these days??

Anonymous said...

I guess Langston did not put too much weight into Mark Packer's brilliant 30 second commentaries on WAXN or whatever channel he's on.

Celania gets my vote and probably the sympathy vote as well, based on who he has to work with now.

Anonymous said...

CHUCK HOWARD is the most overrated sports personality this town has ever seen. I can say from first hand experience this guy is a pure jerk. Never seen a guy "THINK" they are a celebrity like this guy does. It is the, "you don't know who I am" mentality. Will Hampton should have been promoted to Sports Director at WNCN years ago. WSOC TV has all but losy thier sports department. I think Kelly Bartik does a better job than anyone WSOC has on staff and actually rates up there with the other stations. But CHUCK HOWARD, not on my list...Oh Sh** Chuck, someone out here does not like you. And the restaurant that you act like you own but only have a 5% ownership sucks! I guess your fellow Buffalonians like you.

Anonymous said...

Celania is only legend.

Anonymous said...

I thought Chrid Justice was real good.

Anonymous said...

Celenia was the best

Anonymous said...

Chris, you are right. If you are really saying "best in Charlotte history" then Bill Currie was by far the best of them all. And even Terry Chick was better than Chuck Howard.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 9:20 AM is right on the money. Will Hampton was very good. I recently heard him in Indianapolis and he's still doing a great job. Kelly Bartik is a helluva lot better than the other guy on WCCB Bruce whatever his name is. ("Seeeeeeeeeeee yahhhh" is getting old, Bruce.)

Hannah Storm has probably had more success than anyone.

Anonymous said...

viva la Celania!!!!

Anonymous said...

Impeach Perdue.

Jim Celania for Governor.

Kingward said...

Big Bill Ward set the stage for all of them in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

There is only one word to describe anyone who thinks QCB is a racist....THUG.

Anonymous said...

Even though professional wrestling is not a true sport as a kid I enjoyed Bob Coudle & Jim Crockett of Mid-Atlantic Championship wrestling......

Anonymous said...

How did QCB get into the mix? He's not a racist, just another reason not to listen to WFNZ.

Anonymous said...

Better list than the radio one, but I'd definitely put Chris Justice somewhere on there.

Anonymous said...

To the very angry guy ranting about Chuck Howard. Obviously has never spent anytime with Chuck. Does the guy lack in the confidence department? No he doesn't. Does he/did he come off opinionated on tv or on his radio show? Of course, that is what you want out of a sports guy. To do what these guys do and be successful you've got to have confidence and it sounds like the guy who wrote this has some insecurity issues of his/your own.
Chuck has spoken at my church several times and I know he has donated his free time to other cuases around town for over a decade. I've not gotten to know him personally but has always been gracious and in person never acted as if everybody was supposed to know him. As for his sportscasting abilities, the market has never been the same since WCNC's inane move 2-3 years ago. Don't know how much of an ownership stake Chuck has in the Lake Norman Bar but regardless of how much he has he is still an owner. Seems like a pretty smart move by the assumed majority owners becuase you are talking about it. I did like Will Hampton but wasn't of Chuck's caliber.

Anonymous said...

Solarte should be higher! First of all he is a class act from A to Z. Second, he clearly doesn't need any shtick to make his show go like HJ did. Don't get me wrong, all of these guys are or were pretty good, but more than any of the others, Solarte comes across as an approachable guy that you'd just like to go hang out, have a beer and watch a game with. That in itself puts him at least a couple notches higher on the list in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Paul Cameron?

Are you kidding me? That clod is without a doubt the biggest shitheel who has ever been on TV around here.

Anonymous said...

Chuck Howard is unbearable. That is why he bombed on WCNC and on WFNZ. Go back to Buffalo Chuck.Terry Chick was even better than Howard.
If you really include all in Charlotte history then Bill Currie is on the top of the list.

Anonymous said...

Tiffany Wright should be on this list! She is a wonderful replacement for Harold Johnson and the best Sportscaster in Charlotte today! She brings life to sports and makes it easy for everyone to understand! Where did these votes come from anyway???????

Russ from Atlanta said...

Ok, let me add two you missed that should be near the top with a quote from both.

Bill Currie, WSOC tv/radio, in describing Davidson guard Barry Teague, "more gears than a Mack Truck".

Big Bill Ward of WBTV signed off with this every single night -- "If you can't play a sport then be one".

Anonymous said...

Solarte should be higher on this list as I've seen the guy shooting his own material too. How many guys/gals out there are out shooting their own highlights - running up and down the field at high school football & Panther games. I'm sure he shoots more than that, but all I know is he's not just some guy behind the desk reading the screen. He's not afraid to do the work like some of the people behind the desk these days. Congratulations, Mike. You deserve it.

JoeJack said...

I liked that Sorensen guy that was on 36 last year sometime or another. Ron or maybe Tom or something. real good... slick, very memorable.. yeah

Anonymous said...

Chuck Howard talking at your church? hum....not the same Chuck I see out on the town. But then again this world is full of hypocrites.

As for local sports guys/gals....how can you judge given the 90 to 120 seconds they get is dificult.

The young girl at WBTV has a chance to go far. She needs to quit some of her silly ways but her passion and knowledge seem to be better than some of the guys.

No love for Delano?

Anonymous said...

Mike ROCKS! Great guy. Nice to see one of the hardest working guys in sports get some mad props!

Anonymous said...

What happened to Kricket Morton at WBTV???

Bob Dace said...

For anyone with any knowledge of Charlotte sports, you have to include Bill Currie and Big Bill Ward. It would be like listing weathermen without mentioning "Cloudy" McLean.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, this list is totally incomplete without Bill Currie, "The Mouth of the South". Back in the day, I watched WSOC jsut for Currie. Other than him, I preferred to watch WBTV.

And good call on Jim Thacker. A real professional and great play-by-play guy.

Anonymous said...

All you youngsters are forgetting Bob Taylor, who did mostly weekends on WBTV. He was witty and used phrasing that wasn't in vogue until much later on SportsCenter. And Tiffany Wright now is light years better than Chuck Howard ever was.

Anonymous said...

You must add Bill Currie to this list. Either Bill Currie or Jim Thacker were #1...Too hard for me to pich between the two. Thacker, may have edged Currie because of ACC basketball. The best called games of all time were called by, Jim Thacker, Billy Packer and Horace "Bones" McKinney. oops, I just basically told my age.

Anonymous said...

Greg Bailey is the best thing we've had in town for a long time. I just hope he stays and doesn't jump to a bigger market.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Bailey is really good.

Anonymous said...

Greg Bailey is a PRO! Rock on Greg, but then again it was wasy to replace a showboat!

Anonymous said...

Jerks? Bill Currie is at the top of that list. I introduced myself to him at a Carolina game at William and Mary. I was in the service at the time and he would not give me the time of day.

Anonymous said...

Same thing with Chuck Howard....Jerk. The company I worked for had him scheduled for a remote broadcast. He failed to show.

Anonymous said...

Greg Bailey is terrific! Where was he on the list?? Never heard such a professional & fun sportscaster who really seems to enjoy his job!!

Kristin said...

It is absolutely unbelievable that WBTV Sports Anchor Delano Little has been left off your so-called "Top 5" list. Mr. Little heads the #1 high school sports program, Football Friday Night, and is extremely admired by his collegues and viewers. I guess talent and dedication weren't taken into consideration. No offense to the others mentioned. I simply believe one very talented sportscaster was left off the list.

Anonymous said...

Delano was great before he had surgery to remove his neck.

Anonymous said...

Anybody remember Bob Lamey and Bob Hice? Lamey had a face for radio and went to Indy where he still may be the voice of the Pacers. Hice went into NASCAR PR and may be retired by now. I got to buck the guy who blasted Paul Cameron. He is a great guy that has done many unreported deeds for local charity. Same with Harold Johnson.

Anonymous said...

Didn't do sports for WBTV but was longtime PA man for Charlotte Orioles/O's baseball club at Crockett Park. C.J. Underwood -- R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

Currie was a Carolina bum. Thacker was the man.

Anonymous said...

Currie taught Woody Durham how to suck the Carolina weenie.

playa said...

My nigga Solarte is the shit!!!!

Anonymous said...

Cloudy McLean was the best sportscaster ever for WBTV and he was the weatherman by trade !!!!

Anonymous said...

I would rather watch Fred Kirby do the sports as Paul Cameron or Delano Little!

David Crabb said...

I never pay attention to what Danielle Trotta says, but I like watching her say it! Too many others posting here haven't been in CLT long enough. I was a kid when Jim Thacker was the man, and thought he was great, very savvy with the delivery w/o the schtick that the "Big Guy" had to have.

Anonymous said...

When I first moved here two years ago the first sports cast I saw was Mike Solarte. I've tried others since but I still go back to his program.

Mike is the guy next door and the one you want to help you pick your fanasty team.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that our culture (and this blog post) celebrates the loud and stupid, especially in the person of Harold Johnson.

In addition, the post has about a 10-year perspective. There has been sportscasting (both radio and television) for a hell of a lot longer in Charlotte than this columnist's perspective.

Maybe Mr. Wertz could put down his video games and do a little reporting next time.

chris said...

I hope Chris McClain's baby is still born.

Anonymous said...

Chris @ 8:50 that is really really low. Not the least bit funny. I just placed a spell on you. Bad things are going to happen. About 3:20am this morning you will have difficulty breathing.

Anonymous said...

Kristin said...
"It is absolutely unbelievable that WBTV Sports Anchor Delano Little has been left off your so-called "Top 5" list. Mr. Little head the #1 high school sports program,"

Delano absolutely does not have a little head.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and cast your votes, but there is a sportcaster in the making now named "Dukey" that will blow all the above mentioned away!

Anonymous said...

I'd say Mike Solarte and Greg Bailey are clearly the best of the guys on the air now. Other than those two guys it's pretty slim pickings. Channel 3 has slipped terribly since Kricket Morton left. Channel 9 is unwatchable, especially that Bill Voth guy they got on the weekends. I've never seen anybody so obnoxious in my life. I like Kelli Bartik on Fox, but the Wookie she works with is probably the worst of the worst.

Anonymous said...

how can the list be inclusive without Currie, Paul Butler, Kelli Bartik, Celania and Jerry V....all in the who's who of any sports fan

Anonymous said...

Someone above mentioned Bob Lamey. He is still in Indianapolis and has been the voice of the Indianapolis Colts (NFL) since they moved to town in 1983 - except for two seasons in the middle of that time.