Cole got listeners out of bed, farmers out of mud

On this day in 1952: Collier’s magazine profiles Grady Cole as “Mr. Dixie.” Cole, a homespun announcer who wakes up the Piedmont every morning on WBT, has been Charlotte’s premier celebrity since 1929.

“Cole says he’s still not a professional radio man,” Collier’s notes. “But he snows under all rivals, and his droll news and weather reports bring him $100,000 a year.” His share of the Charlotte audience: 71 percent.

Gov. Kerr Scott is credited with the state’s massive rural road-building program in the early ’50s, but it was Cole who generated popular support with his long-running “Get Farmers Out of the Mud” campaign.


Jonathan Daniels: Brickbats for Boswell

“If Harry Truman ever had a faithful Boswell, he was Jonathan Daniels, the even-voiced editor of the Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer (circ. 113,277). Daniels, briefly Truman’s press secretary in 1945, was always welcomed at the White House as a friendly reporter. The President read, and edited in galley proof, large chunks of Daniels’  ‘The Man of Independence.’

“Last week Presidential Press Secretary Joseph Short angrily denounced an article by Daniels in Collier’s which…  attributed to the President some recommendations for reforming Congress. Most notable: limiting tenure to 12 years. Daniels pointed out that such a limitation would lop off such Democratic pillars as Speaker Sam Rayburn….

” ‘That subject,’ said Short, reading from notes he and Truman had prepared together, ‘was mentioned a long time ago in a casual, joking way during a confidential conversation…. The President never has considered the subject seriously . . . The article is an entirely misleading distortion….’

“Stung at being called a bad reporter, Daniels snapped back: ‘I wish . . . Joe Short had consulted the White House files . . . Letters . . . will show that the article was not even undertaken until I had written the President, asked him if I could see him to get the story, and had a reply that he would be glad to see me . . .’ ”

— From Time magazine, April 16, 1951