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Locals Anchor March Madness 

ACC-grown experts abound

If you've got the office pool in gear and "The Bracket" tacked on the fridge or cubby at work, then I don't have to tell you it's that time of year again, when radios are sneaked into work, and lunch spots with TVs will get a lingering (i.e., hooky-playing) crowd on Thursday and Friday. NCAA hoops is back.

And you think it isn't mad? A click over to the CBS Sports website offers pool types a free site called "Bracket Manager" which helpfully explains, "There's no need to spend hours organizing, running and scoring your group's brackets by hand when you can run your brackets online, for FREE, with Bracket Manager. It's easy to use and takes care of all the hard work automatically — so you don't have to!" OK, then.

Also, CBS is once again jam-packed with game analysts who sport ACC pedigrees. No less than six of them will work NCAA games, including Len Elmore, Jim Spanarkel. Dan Bonner, Billy Packer, Jay Bilas, and Mike Gminski. The latter three make their homes in Charlotte.

CBS is jam-packed with ACC-trained game analysts, three of whom - Billy Packer, Jay Bilas, and Mike Gminski - make their homes in our fair burg.

Lynn Wheeler's quick exit from WBTV last week happened after this column went to press, but let's look back at the hilarity. She quit after six months there, commenting in print and on radio that she was treated differently from other "reporters," and was called "deformed" by a manager there due to her slumped posture.

I'll pass on the "deformed" part, but for Wheeler to not have been held to a different standard would have been ridiculous, since she was basically a reporter-in-training on the air (which isn't being done anywhere except market #189 these days). To put it in plain terms, she wasn't good on the air, and it's a puzzle why the station featured her in that role instead of using her for political punditry.

The whole thing makes Wheeler look like a whiner (welcome to the news business, dear), and WBTV racks up another public gaffe, including bad hirings and firings like Michael Scott, Dave Stanley and a producer who ripped off sentences from the Charlotte Observer.

96.9 Kat Country's annual fundraiser, held this week, is quite the event, when you look at the bigger picture. WKKT was part of the "Country Cares for St. Jude's Kids" national radiothon, with proceeds going to the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Since it was launched in 1989, radio stations have pulled in more than $225 million in pledges.

"Country Cares" was started by Alabama singer Randy Owens. WKKT used a link to an e-Bay page to action off autographed memorabilia from country and NASCAR stars.

Stay tuned.

E-mail at Shannon.Reichley@cln.com.

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