Longtime WPTF announcer dies

Posted December 28, 2011

Longtime North Carolina radio personality Harry Barclay Ritner Jr. died of complications from cancer on Wednesday. He was 76.

Ritner worked for 39 years at WPTF-AM, hosting "Open Line," one of the first radio call-in and interview programs.

"Bart was a true pioneer. 'Open Line' was one of the nation's first daily two-way talk programs," Don Curtis, chairman and chief executive of WPTF owner Curtis Media Group, said in a statement. "Bart will always be remembered as one of North Carolina's most innovative and talented personalities in talk radio."

A native of Rocky Mount, Ritner first got into broadcasting as cameraman and director for WNCT-TV's local news in Greenville while attending East Carolina University. He later moved into radio at WCEC-AM in Rocky Mount and WRAL-FM in Raleigh before landing at WPTF.

During his career, Ritner's interviews included President Lyndon Johnson, North Carolina Govs. Terry Sanford, Dan Moore and Jim Hunt, state Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham, television star Andy Griffith, U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and singer Jimmy Dean.

Funeral arrangements are being finalized by Brown Wynne in Raleigh. Services will be held in the Brown Wynne Chapel on St. Mary's Street, and he will be buried with military honors in the family plot at Pineview Cemetery in Rocky Mount.

In lieu of flowers, people are asked to donate to the North Carolina Wildlife Federation.


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  • gingerlynn Dec 29, 2011

    RIP Bart. I have been listening to you since I moved here in 1972.

  • jackklompus1 Dec 29, 2011

    I remember those ads for the Aluminum company of NC the most.

  • miketroll3572 Dec 29, 2011

    Rest in peace Bart.

  • maybelle Dec 29, 2011

    Listening to Bart and then Gary Dornback you did not get any better than that.

  • durham4sale Dec 29, 2011

    A classic AM voice.

  • lost in translation Dec 29, 2011

    This guy was classic......he will be missed. Radio didn't get any better than this......

  • davidgnews Dec 29, 2011

    What a great talent, and he will be greatly missed. No one could be more plain-spoken, friendly, and welcoming on radio than Bart Ritner. He was a giant in his field.

  • luvbailey Dec 28, 2011

    Enjoyed listening to Bart on the radio when I was in the car. Sometmes he was an "unusual bird" but most of the time just a good guy. There was a guy who called in from Kings Mt, I think. His said his name was "The Judge", I think. He could get Bart worked up sometimes. But all the other callers he handled with grace. He was a class act.

  • SubwayScoundrel Dec 28, 2011

    Had heard he was sick. One of the last old Raleigh radio voices.

  • awomnsptofview Dec 28, 2011

    Another "good one : gone too soon. Prayers for the family.