Thad Holt

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Thaddeus Goode Holt (born September 23, 1898; died September 24, 1984 in Washington D.C.) was a New Deal administrator and radio and television executive.

Holt was crowned King at the 1927 Mardi-Gras ball at Municipal Auditorium, held under the auspices of the Linly Heflin Unit as a charity benefit. His queen was Dorothy Kettig.

From 1932 to 1936, at the depth of the Great Depression, Holt served as Alabama state director of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Works Progress Administration, the Civil Works Administration and the National Youth Administration.

He supported efforts by the Birmingham Kiwanis Club, the Birmingham City Commission and the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board to develop Vulcan Park as a prominent setting for the Vulcan statue, then languishing at the Alabama State Fairgrounds. He was promoted to assistant national administrator of the WPA in 1936 and served for a little over a year.

On August 1, 1937 Holt and Ed Norton bought the lease for WAPI-AM's station and sold 45% interest to the CBS network, using the investment to boost its broadcast signal to 50,000 Watts. His and Norton's "Voice of Alabama" venture expanded to WAFM-FM in 1947, and to WAFM-TV, the city's first television station, in 1949. The company was reincorporated as The Television Corporation in 1961.

Holt was one of the founders of Alabama Educational Television, a predecessor of Alabama Public Television. In 1956 he was hired as a special consultant on overseas television projects for the United States Information Agency.

Holt was a member of the board of the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Birmingham Civic Ballet. He also helped create Operation New Birmingham.

Holt was married to the former Sarah Oliver and had two sons, Thaddeus Jr and Samuel. He died in 1984, one day after his 86th birthday. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.

Holt was inducted into the Birmingham Gallery of Distinguished Citizens the year that he died.


  • "Thad Holt of Birmingham, 86; Former Broadcast Executive." obituary (October 4, 1984) The New York Times

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