Doug Enlow, Bill Benton and Charlie Benton, hosts of “Good Morning Columbia,” got to say, well, “good morning” to their listeners again after weeks of silence.
On Monday, “Good Morning Columbia” began broadcasting on WWNU-FM Carolina 92.1. For more than a decade, the news and talk program was broadcast on WISW-AM 1320. The show was a casualty of a station shakeup locally by Cumulus Media Inc., the corporate owner of WISW and four other properties in the market.
In November Enlow was let go, and about five weeks ago the Bentons were replaced by Woody Windham.
Tim Miller, the general manager of Carolina 92.1, said the station, which has a history of flipping formats, will become solidified in the community with the addition of “GMC.” The show will air from 6-9 a.m. Monday through Friday.
“This show is the gold standard of morning shows,” he said. “All the great Columbia broadcasters have been a part of ‘Good Morning Columbia.’ ”
There was a lot of traffic at Double O Radio Group’s offices — Carolina 92.1’s owner — off Gervais Street in the Vista Monday morning. Fans and friends stopped by to welcome the trio back. There was a table with biscuits, donuts, cake and coffee. Many more people called into the show.
“The phones have been blowing up all morning,” Miller said. “It’s so much a part of their life.”
Katie Herbkersman has never listened to Carolina 92.1, a soft adult contemporary station, but said she would because of “GMC.”
“It’s almost like you start your day with them. It was like a ritual,” she said. “You feel like they’re family after all these years. I enjoy Bill’s laugh when he gets laughing. He can’t stop.”
As usual, the topics were broad on the show. They talked about Charleston Thug Life, a website that purports to out Lowcountry gangsters; University of Kentucky basketball; “Agent 146,” the autobiography of a German spy sent by Hitler to sabotage the United States’ atomic program; and long camping-trip lists.
“Neither one of us smoke, but we always bring cigars on the trips,” Charlie Benton, Bill’s son, said.
Bill Benton has been in radio for more than half a century. “In almost 60 years in broadcasting, I’ve never been off for more than two weeks,” he said.
That was until leaving WISW. Enlow and Bill Benton talked about the situation in jest. “If we get run off again, next stop New York,” Bill Benton said.
Toward the end of the broadcast, Enlow remarked that it was nice to work for a general manager who “knows what it is to be on the radio.” He also mentioned the strength of Carolina 92.1’s signal, which is three times stronger than WISW’s, according to Miller.
Enlow and the Bentons wore matching ties featuring the palmetto and crescent moon of the state flag, a gift from Brittons, the Devine Street clothing store.
“We’ve just been thrilled with the response,” Charlie Benton said.