Steve Crump, beloved WBTV reporter for nearly 40 years, dies following cancer battle

While at WBTV, Steve gave us plenty of memorable moments.
He started telling the stories of Charlotte in April of 1984.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 12:01 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2023 at 2:26 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Steve Crump, a beloved member of the WBTV family who was the conscience of a newsroom he loved and a community he served, passed away early Thursday morning following a battle with cancer.

“Our hearts are breaking as we share the news of the passing of our beloved Steve. He was determined to share the truth and broadcasting became the chosen vehicle. His true passion was being a part of the lives of the people in his community and sharing their truths. We will remain steadfast and never forget his passion.” - Cathy Crump, Steve’s beloved wife

“It is with great sadness that WBTV announces the passing of Steve Crump. Steve was a devoted newsman who spent decades passionately telling the stories of the greater Charlotte community. He was also a cherished colleague, friend and mentor to many, both in the WBTV newsroom and throughout the country. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s wife, Cathy, and with his many friends who will be touched by his loss,” a WBTV statement read.

Steve recently reflected on the five years following his cancer diagnosis, and how his WBTV colleagues of nearly 40 years were with him every step of the way.

A native of Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood, he graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1980 and worked for Lexington’s WKYT and several other news stations around the country before joining WBTV.

While at WBTV, Steve gave us plenty of memorable moments. He started telling the stories of Charlotte in April of 1984. His work includes covering a multitude of historical events, from Hurricane Hugo to the Rae Carruth trial.

Steve was also around for the Jim Bakker trial and many other stories. He has been able to see Charlotte go through several changes throughout his career.

It was a storied career that included a multitude of awards, such as being named Educator of the Year by the Charlotte Post Foundation, receiving the City of Charlotte’s Martin Luther King Junior Medallion Award and being honored with the 2021 Mosaic Award by the Public Relations Society of America Charlotte Chapter.

Steve was the second-ever recipient of the Mosaic Award in Charlotte. One of Steve’s highest journalism accolades came in 2016 when he was recognized with the first-ever Journalist of the Year Award by the National Association of Black Journalists.

He’s also produced documentaries and dozens of films in his career, including his Emmy-winning “Orangeburg 50 Years Later,” a documentary remembering the tragic events of the Orangeburg Massacre in South Carolina.

Steve told the stories that needed to be told. And he seemingly knew everybody. His memory for names and old stories knew no bounds. He championed diversity and fairness. He sought humanity and understanding in every story he told and he had a way of tying the events of the present to our history.

It combines quotes, artwork, photography and more to highlight these American trailblazers.

He not only shared the stories of Charlotte, but his own. Steve opened up to his WBTV colleagues and the viewers he so loved about his battle with colon cancer.

Steve was shaped by a desire to understand where he came from. A descendent of slaves, the son of parents who insisted education was the way to shape a life’s course.

Steve hated the thought of racism, but never stopped trying to understand the reasons behind it. More than once he volunteered to take it on face-to-face, including meeting a Klansman on an isolated road in the middle of nowhere North Carolina.

What he did love? Mostly his wife Cathy, but also his friendships and his old Kentucky home. On the first Saturday in May, you’d find him back in Louisville reporting from Churchill Downs.

But his lasting legacy will be in the lessons he taught, the reminders he gave us by telling the stories he insisted we never forget.

He won awards and accolades. He was honored and recognized. But now, he’s being remembered and missed for the life he lived, the work he shared, and the conscience he gave us all.