Of all the experiences Paul Schadt has had in 36 years on the air in Charlotte, he says two stand out: 1) His induction into the Country Radio Hall of Fame, in 2014; and 2) the call he received a few months earlier informing him of his selection to said Hall of Fame.
“The Kat” morning-show co-host starts the story: “I’ve known Tim (McGraw) since the beginning, and one morning they said Tim was calling in. ... Then they said they wanted to videotape it for sales to make a presentation out of it. I thought that was a little bit weird. If I’m doing an interview, I’d rather just concentrate on that and not have somebody videotaping you, so I wasn’t too high on that. But I said alright.”
Co-host Meg Butterly continues: “So Tim’s just rambling on with Paul. Normally, when we have these interviews with somebody as big as Tim McGraw, you might only get 4 or 5 minutes. But he kept going on and on ... to the point where finally, Paul’s like, ‘Meg, do you have any questions for him?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’ve got a question: Tim, do you remember the first time you won that major award, what it was like, and who it was that presented you with that award?’ ”
That gave the country singer the opening to end the charade and give the country radio personality the big news.
“It really, really stunned me,” Schadt says. “I can usually pick up on if somebody’s doing something, and I had no idea.”
Schadt’s career has been full of surprises. In the late 1970s, when he was taking law enforcement courses at CPCC, he wouldn’t have guessed his next stop would be volunteering at WFAE – doing a jazz show. In the ’80s, as a jock at country station WSOC, he wouldn’t have guessed his next stop would be rival WKKT.
Other things he couldn’t have predicted:
▪ His nephew, DJ Stout, becoming program director and operations manager at WSOC, Schadt’s former employer and now (friendly) rival.
▪ His son becoming a co-worker. Adam Schadt, 25 years old this month, started working in WKKT’s sales department this year.
▪ His resume growing to include a slew of Country Music Award nominations and several Academy of Country Music award nominations, as a radio personality.
▪ His list of former co-hosts, which includes the late Bill Dollar and Claire B. Lang.
Current partner Butterly has endeared herself to Schadt and their listeners with her bubbly presence since moving to Charlotte from West Palm Beach, Fla., where she also was a morning co-host on a country station.
On Sept. 1 she’ll celebrate eight years with Schadt, and – speaking of anniversaries – it’s been almost exactly a year since a benign tumor the size of a golf ball was found on her brain. (Butterly had surgery to remove it last Oct. 7; 10 days later, she was back in the studio, much to the disbelief – and frustration – of her doctor.)
Butterly also helped Schadt win a Academy of Country Music award, which they shared with producer Geof Knight in 2014.
Funny story about that, by the way: Schadt hasn’t seen his trophy yet ... because it’s still sealed in a cardboard box, in a bedroom in his family’s Mint Hill home.
When the package was delivered, he thought he’d videotape himself opening it, to show people. But when he still hadn’t gotten around to itt a week later, he thought: “ ‘Ah, people don’t want to watch it now.’ So I thought, ‘You know what? I’m not gonna open the box.’
“When I’m finished from my last day doing the morning show – whenever that is – I’m gonna head home and that’s the first thing I’m gonna do ... I’m just hoping when I open the box they spelled my name right, because I don’t know if they’ll take it back a bunch of years later.”
Meet more personalities behind Charlotte’s top morning-radio shows
Paul Schadt & Meg
Co-hosts: Paul Schadt, 57, and Meg Butterly, 46.
Station: 96.9 WKKT-FM, aka “The Kat.” (Country; owned by iHeart Media.)
Schadt’s been on the air in Charlotte since: June 1981. When he and Butterly were teamed up on WKKT: September 2009.
Producer: Geof Knight.