One of Charlotte's First Teen Idols

In 1936, an open audition at WBT yielded one of the first teen idols in the Metrolina area. Little Homer Drye became Homer A. Briarhopper on stage and was one of the most popular Briarhopper members ever. In 1940/1941, Homer left WBT to go to WPTF in Raleigh where he founded Homer A. Briarhoppers' Dixie Dudes. Homer remained in the Raleigh area and grew to be a famous entertainer in the Triad, befriending Elvis Presley, Eddy Arnold, among others. In 1954, Homer was named "Mr. Disc Jockey USA." He also opened several popular music clubs near Raleigh. Fiddlin' Dwight Moody worked with Homer many times on Homer's radio and TV shows. Homer refused three offers to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Homer died in 1983. Continuing the spirit, Homer's nephew, Larry Mangum, is a popular songwriter and musician based in the Jacksonville, FL, region. Homer's son, Tim, is retired from the Raleigh area police force.

No comments:

The Legendary Briarhoppers!

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 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 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, Alana Flowers and Tom Warlick head the band 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! Enjoy this site and learn about the Briarhoppers' storied past and the bright future that is ahead. Don't turn that dial...Hit's Briarhopper Time!