In 1934, a potential advertiser called WBT's Charles Crutchfield to ask if the station had a hillbilly band to help advertise its products. Telling a fib, Crutch said "Yes," which led to the birth of the WBT Briarhoppers. The name comes from WBT announcer Bill Bivens who, during a hunting trip with Crutch, was startled by a rabbit jumping out of a thicket, and Bill yelled, "Look at that briarhopper!" At that moment, Crutch found the name for his hillbilly band. The original band members were Johnny McAllister, Big Bill Davis, Don White, Thorpe Westerfield, Clarence Etters, and Jane Bartlett. The last original 1934 Briarhopper, Don White, died in 2003. Billie Burton Daniel, who joined the group in 1936, is happy and well in Wilmington, NC.
Since that time, The WBT Briarhoppers' fans are/were Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs (who filled in on banjo a few times), Curly Seckler, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and many other entertainment stars. In keeping with the tradition, the band kept going through the years by adding new musicians to those who left the station or who died. Today, Fiddlin' Dwight Moody, Tom Warlick, Alana Flowers, Hannah Flowers, Dillon Flowers, and Little Ellie Flowers keep the band alive, with their stage show including the old Briarhopper songs, new songs, and the original scripted commercials of Peruna, Kolor-Bak, Zymole Trokeys, and Radio Girl Perfume! The band is in the WBT Hall of Fame, won the NC Folk Heritage Award, earned numerous awards from the NC Society of Historians, and won the Artists Music Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Go to www.wbtbriarhoppers.blogspot.com
for historic information, current events, and our future plans. Don't turn that dial...after 79 years, Hit's Briarhopper Time!