Grand Ole Opry Star Doug Mayes

Yes, you are reading the title correctly. The Dean of News Anchors, Doug Mayes also has an impressive musical vitae. On March 6, 1968, WBTV News issued a press release recalling Doug's musical history. From the release: ...Doug was 13 years old, about the right age to be riding his bike down a Tennessee dirt road...Then fate stepped in...or popped up. The bike suddenly assumed a position other than upright, and Doug Mayes became the owner or a badly injured ankle.

Sometime during Doug's long bout in bed with the bad ankle, his cousin came around with a punchboard, one of those now-illegal cards from which you could punch numbered chances at prizes...The prize Doug won was a guitar, worth, in those days, about three dollars. Naturally, he began to master it.

By the time he was 16, Doug had also learned to play the bass fiddle. He and his sister joined a "country" vaudeville act travelling through Tennessee...After high school Doug joined up with the Grand Ole Opry. "There wasn't much money in this, at the time...but I got to play with many big stars, such as Bill Monroe, Uncle Dave Macon, Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, and many others."

It was during this time that Doug got exposed to radio announcing at WKPT in Kingsport in 1941. After serving in the Navy's War Orientation Office, Doug went to High Point College and then to Northwestern University. Then, he returned to Tennessee and got a job at Nashville's WSIX. In 1952, Doug joined WBT and WBTV. Doug also was one of the first announcers to interview Grand Ole Opry stars behind the stage at the Opry. He also hosted and MC'ed the Grand Ole Opry shows as they came through Charlotte.

Mr. Mayes filled in many times for the WBT Briarhoppers during the years.

After being named to a Hall of Fame or two, Doug still enjoys getting out his guitar and bass and play with whoever is around. We are really proud to have Doug in the Briarhopper family!

The photo is from Tom Briarhopper's files. Thanks to David Eades for 2002 WBT book that contained the 1968 press release.

To read about Doug's Country Radio Hall of Fame induction, go to .

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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!