Tonight WBTV in Charlotte is bringing back and old anchor...and when we say old, we're not kidding.
Doug Mayes, who launched Charlotte’s first television newscast 61 years ago is returning to the anchor chair at WBTV tonight.
Mayes, 91, will sit in for the vacationing Paul Cameron on the 11 p.m. newscast. Their job-share grew out of a lunch they had a few weeks ago at a restaurant in Denver, on the western shore of Lake Norman, where Mayes has a lakefront home named Station Break.
Cameron, who started in WBTV’s sports department in 1981 while Mayes was in news, took a picture of the two of them together and posted it on the station’s Facebook page. “It got tens of thousands of hits,” says WBTV news director Dennis Milligan, an extraordinary volume.
WBTV thought it would be fun to invite Mayes back for a victory lap. “He took about five milliseconds to agree,” Milligan says.
“It made me feel good,” says Mayes, “and very humble.”
Last week, he went by the studios to practice reading the teleprompter.
“It took him about a minute of reading to get used to it,” says Milligan. “You could tell when the old news guy kicked in, kaboom. He had full command.”
Mayes also sat in on the station’s news meeting, where the police shooting of an unarmed man was the key topic.
“He knew every detail,” says Molly Grantham, who will be his co-anchor Friday night. “He had great questions to ask. He was still the newsman, even at 91. That was when I was sure this is such a great idea.”
Mayes was the anchor of WBTV's first newscast when it hit the air in 1952. It is likely that all the people working with Mayes on Tonight's show, we're even born when he anchored the first newscast.
The only problem we see with this....why didn't the station save this stunt for the November book?