Charles Kuralt Shared Stories of Backroads America

By | January 11, 2022

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Television broadcaster Charles Kuralt poses for a photograph with his film crew while traveling in the Pacific Northwest. (© Doug Wilson/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Around the time that Charles Kuralt began his broadcasting career, the world was embroiled in conflict, which would only increase throughout his early years in the news. He took a different approach, creating his "On the Road" segments which Time Magazine called “Two-minute cease-fires.”

Kuralt got an early start in the news. When he was a boy growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina, he wrote a story for a children’s sports writing contest at a local newspaper. This story, about a dog that was running loose on the field during a baseball game, was Kuralt’s first award win. In 1945, after his father moved the family to Charleston, into a house that was the only structure in the area, which was 10 miles south of the city. Here, Kuralt became one of the youngest radio announcers in the country. At the age of 14, he was one of four National Voice of Democracy winners, for which he won a $500 scholarship. Then, in 1951, he was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in his graduating class.

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Source: (Discogs).

Getting His Start At CBS

He went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for college. While there, he was the editor of The Daily Tar Heel. He also had a starring role in American Adventure: A Study of Man in the New World, a radio program. After graduation, as a reporter for the Charlotte News, he wrote “Charles Kuralt’s People.” The column won him an Ernie Pyle Award. In 1957, he started working for CBS as a writer and hosted the Eyewitness to History series. As a journalist for CBS, he traveled the world and had stints as the Chief Latin American Correspondent and as the Chief West Coast Correspondent. In 1967, he created the documentary To the Top of the World when he accompanied Ralph Plaisted during his attempt to reach the North Pole by snowmobile.