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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Reid, James William

by William S. Powell, 1994

15 Sept. 1917–19 June 1972

A photograph of radio broadcaster James William "Jim" Reid published in 1957. Image from the Internet Archive.James William Reid, broadcaster, public relations officer, sports director, banker, and mayor, was born in Asheville, the son of Bessie Perkinson and William Ernest Reid. In the early 1900s Mrs. Reid's family lived across Woodfin Street in Asheville from the W. O. Wolfe home and is portrayed in Thomas Wolfe's novel, Look Homeward, Angel, as the Tarkinton family.

Young Reid attended Mars Hill Junior College and was graduated from Wake Forest College in 1937 with a degree in physics. Between 1938 and 1942 he was a staff announcer for radio stations in Asheville, Wilson, Greenville, S.C., and Raleigh. During World War II he served in the Aleutian Islands with the Naval Air Force for two years and afterwards was radar officer at Adak, Kokiak, and Attu, and finally with the Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C. He returned to radio station WPTF in Raleigh as staff announcer, sports director, and weather reporter; in 1958 he became manager of the Raleigh office of WTVD television station. From October 1960 until his death he was senior vice-president of Branch Banking and Trust Company in Raleigh. Reid also had a political career, serving on the Raleigh City Council, as mayor pro tem, and as mayor. In these municipal offices he actively supported improved race relations, library service, the construction of a new municipal building, and other causes.

It was as a radio and television personality, however, that Reid was best known. He won numerous awards, particularly in the field of sports broadcasting and for his thrice-daily weather programs. His interest in meteorology stemmed from his naval experience, and he was active in the North Carolina chapter of the American Meteorological Society, being the first nonprofessional to receive the national organization's Special Award. Reid served on countless boards, commissions, and committees at the local and state levels and rendered effective service in such diverse areas as rent control, airport development, community planning, youth fitness, and music.

Reid married Elizabeth Davis of Wadesboro and they were the parents of Michael E., Nancy K., and James W., Jr.


Documents in possession of Mrs. Elizabeth Reid Murray, Raleigh.

Raleigh Amateur Radio Society News, Issue 33 (July 1972).

Raleigh News and Observer, 23 June 1963, 20–21 June 1972.

Additional Resources:

"WPTF, One of Oldest, Went on the Air September 22, 1924." The E.S.C. Quarterly 15, nos. 3-4. (Summer-Fall 1957). 68-70. (accessed October 8, 2013).

Morton, Hugh. "WPTF Radio broadcaster Jim Reid, Master of Ceremonies, speaking at USS North Carolina Memorial Dedication. NC Governor Terry Sanford and Luther H. Hodges are seated on stage at right." Photograph. Hugh Morton Collection of Photographs and Films. North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives. Wilson Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed October 8, 2013).

Morton, Hugh. "Jim Reid (left) of WPTF Radio, Raleigh, interviewing Jake Wade, sports information director at UNC-Chapel Hill in the 1940s-1950s, about the UNC men's football team." Photograph. Hugh Morton Collection of Photographs and Films. North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives. Wilson Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed October 8, 2013).

Image Credits:

"WPTF staff announcers Bill Jackson, left and Jim Reid." Photograph. The E.S.C. Quarterly 15, nos. 3-4. (Summer-Fall 1957). 68. (accessed October 8, 2013).

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