Another Great Photo

Here is a picture that Billie Burton Daniel emailed to us.  At about 16 years old, you can see why she was the Sweetheart of the Briarhoppers!  Billie joined the BHoppers in 1936, left the group in 1940 to pursue a career in jazz, befriended Billie Holliday (!) whilst in San Francisco, and came back to NC to perform for many years.  Today, she is the longest-lived Briarhopper residing in Wilmington, NC, with her dog, Rambo.  The high point during the writing of the Briarhopper book was to meet and get to know Billie.  She wrote a book, "Sweetheart of the Carolinas," which covers her great career.  She is a great link to WBT Radio's storied past!

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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!