Harold Johnson Biography
Harold Johnson best known as “The Big Guy”, was sports director for WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina for 26 years. During his as sports director for WSOC-TV, he won four Emmy Awards and was nominated for two others. Harold was the 2010 Republican nominee for North Carolina’s 8th congressional district.
Johnson went to Statesville Senior High School where he graduated from. He later joined Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, North Carolina where he attained his economics degree. Johnson has also served in the United States Marine Corps at Camp LeJeune.
Harold Johnson Career
Harold started his broadcast career at WSIC radio in Statesville, where he hosted a music program called “The HaJo Show”. While working for WSIC, he met Jim Thacker of WBTV, where he worked as a weekend sports anchor and later worked nights. He later started work at WBT where he was the morning co-host. He worked alongside Bob Lacey and the play-by-play announcer and pre-game host for the Charlotte Hornets of the World Football League. Johnson also covered the Masters Golf Tournament for ABC radio. Late in 1979, Harold moved to WSOC-TV and in 1980, he became the station’s sports director. He worked at WSOC-TV for 26 years and during his time there, he was able to cover the NBA Hornets and Bobcats, NASCAR, the NFL Carolina Panthers, and college basketball teams from North Carolina that reached the Final Four.
In 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1995, Harold was the recipient of the Outstanding Sportscasting Emmy. He was also nominated in 1997 and 1999. He also played a role in moving WSOC-TV from a distant second in the TV news ratings to first place. Harold attracted attention when he was the first to announce that Charlotte had its first NBA team, and he once had to break into regular programming to announce a regular news bulletin. In 2000, Sports Illustrated referred to Harold as “the dean of Charlotte sportscasters” who had become “an expert in broadcasting sports sorrow”. The magazine also listed the many tragedies he was known for reporting, including the deaths of Fred Lane, Adam Petty Kenny Irwin and Bobby Phills. Other events that Johnson was able to report included the sexual assault trial of George Shinn, the murder trial of Rae Carruth, and other legal troubles facing the area’s major sports figures. In 2006, Johnson retired from WSOC. He wanted to spend more time with his family. In 2009, Johnson was named as number one on the newspaper’s list of top sportscasters in Charlotte by The Charlotte Observer. Langston Wertz Jr. said, “His ‘big guy’ persona was ESPN before there was ESPN.”
In 2009 on 4th of December, at the age of 68, Johnson announced he would run against Democrat incumbent Larry Kissell in North Carolina’s 8th congressional district. Some of his reasons for running included high unemployment and numerous closed factories, as well as the overall state of the country. Johnson said, “I speak from the heart. … this isn’t the America I know.” He also said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led Democrats “off a cliff”. Horald also criticized “big government spending” and “absence of leadership”.
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