For over four decades Larry Sprinkle has brought the weather every day to a growing Charlotte audience. He has been a consistent staple in our area in both radio and television.
Sprinkle is a regular at many charitable events in Charlotte and truly enjoys helping people while building long-term relationships. He averages 2-3 events weekly talking to schools, at fundraisers, civic groups, charity events, auctions and more. “I was given great advice early on in my career, your audience is out there, you must be involved in the community and make a difference. Get to know your audience, reach out, one to one, meet the real people and show them you truly care and appreciate them.”
He certainly has established a great relationship with the Town of Mint Hill and with Mike Cochrane for the past 25 years. Larry has done an outstanding job every year as the Master of Ceremonies at the town’s Annual Senior Christmas Party event.
The two gentlemen met and instantly connected to establish a good friendship. “It’s a great organization, community, who can turn down Mike. Furthermore, they have a special group of people in Mint Hill which makes me want to be there, it puts a smile on my face, a friendly, thankful and sharing community environment is created,” said Sprinkle.
When he was 9 years old, he visited a TV station in Winston-Salem, he met the local weatherman who gave Larry a tour of the station and said, “You know, son, if you stay in school, study, and you start learning about weather, you can have a job like this one day.” Larry became fascinated with the weather, but it really sparked his interest in broadcasting.
However, as a 10 year old he did read everything he could about weather in America. He focused on reading the entire encyclopedia that was weather related including all subject matters and topics on meteorology. After attending different colleges throughout his career he took meteorology courses at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Sprinkle’s broadcasting career in radio started by accident in Rutherford County, North Carolina. As a youngster and radio enthusiast, he was just 14 years of age in Junior High School at station WBBO ‘We Build Better Opportunities.” After school he visited the station and observed for three months or so. Then the station gave him the opportunity to have a 2 hour DJ gig, he began to learn the business while on the job. He was playing records geared toward the younger generation. His high pitched voice was noticeable, as it sounded as if he was talking on helium. Things went well, and he was on radio every day reaching his new youthful audience.
However, his new found career had a twist, his father who was a civil engineer, informed the family they would be moving to Ethopia. Larry thought he was going to the end of the world. But was mistaken, he landed an opportunity at age 16 at the government radio station “Radio Ethopia” as the only English language speaking station in the country. He was given his own DJ show in Addis Ababa playing Top 40 American music sounds.
The station broadcast all over East Africa to Cairo, Egypt, Beirut, Lebanon on short wave and on the government 100,000 watt AM signal radio station 24 hours daily. This experience gave him the opportunity to learn a great deal about the business.
The family returned back to Rutherford County, he would eventually attend East Carolina University, then relocate to Charlotte to join “Big Ways” radio WROQ morning show as a DJ. He worked with Jay Thomas and Robert Murphy who eventually transferred to Chicago for another station enhancing his career.
He also had another whole career in radio commercials before he got into the weather business. He was in theater group that traveled the globe. He worked on movies such as Firestarter with a young Drew Barrymore and with Ozzy Osbourne in a movie named Trick or Treat.
Then in 1976 he started his television career in Charlotte as a weatherman. He remains on the job today doing the early morning weather and is on the air at least 7-8 times per hour. He has become part of the fabric of our community throughout the Charlotte metropolitan area. He is a fixture and is well known and respected by many. His smooth voice, his creative Halloween characters, and his steady and even delivery are enjoyed by a great number of fans each and every day.
Larry was involved in a serious vehicle accident in May 2016, suffered multiple injuries confining him to a long rehabilitation program. He returned back on television in October 2016, and remains today vibrant and healthy. “It was a life changing experience, I learned that I need to slow down, cannot do everything. I learned life is very precious and we need to focus on what’s important to us, and be thankful for every moment your alive. You have to learn to smell the roses,” said Sprinkle.
Finally, this writer wanted to save this question for last, I asked the Charlotte weatherman, Is Larry Sprinkle your real name? “Absolutely, with a name like Sprinkle what else could I do?” I suppose he is right, he is a natural, he was born to be a weatherman.