NEWS ON THE HILL
From local news to sports updates, music, entertaining guests and more, there’s always something to look forward to on News on the Hill! For your daily dose of Orange County news, make sure you’re listening to News on the Hill with Brighton McConnell every weekday afternoon.
Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.on 97.9 The Hill WCHL
Speaking of Schools
Stroman on Sports
Conversations with the Mayors
Chatham County Roundup
Ever since Brighton McConnell joined the team at 97.9 The Hill his junior year, the local news has been busier than ever.
“We’ve had an incredible series of events, whether it’s with UNC, local government or development news, really since 2017,” UNC alum McConnell said. “I feel like we’ve just hit the gas pedal and it has been kind of nonstop.”
In 2019, McConnell moved from part-time employee to his current roles as news director and host of his own brand-new show, News on The Hill. Former afternoon WCHL host Aaron Keck took over the morning slot after the retirement of local radio icon Ron Stutts in December 2020.
News on The Hill runs every weekday afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m., with each hour covering a variety of local news topics. Contrary to the name, McConnell’s show covers news from Chapel Hill to Hillsborough, creating connections between all Orange County residents.
“We strive to make sure that we’re covering news in all of Orange County,” McConnell said. “We are trying to fill the space as a news organization that can let everybody know what is going on in these regions.”
While taking the afternoon slot and filling Keck’s shoes was a daunting task, McConnell was up to the challenge. When designing News on the Hill, McConnell started from the ground up and built around his own strengths and preferences.
“It’s a little bit more news-heavy than Aaron’s show was for the many years that he did it,” McConnell said. “But it is very much in the same vein.”
News on the Hill’s goal is for anyone tuning in to be caught up on the local news for the day. While McConnell ensures that no one ever leaves uninformed, he also includes topics of interest for loyal listeners, like UNC sports.
“My goal is just to talk to the folks who are listening, which I know is a really dedicated community who have listened to 97.9 The Hill for a long time,” McConnell said. “But I also try to inform somebody who might just be tuning into the dial.”
Each week, McConnell brings in a regular rotation of guests.
“We have a conversation with the mayors series that I carried over from Aaron’s show into mine, which I think is one of the greatest things we have in terms of programming,” McConnell said. “We have an opportunity to ask them direct questions that other people have and talk about topics they’re interested in, so the community can hear it straight from the leaders' mouths.”
While McConnell has a background in radio reporting, live shows have been a challenging but rewarding experience for him. McConnell prioritizes the listeners, focusing on engaging and informing them.
“It’s been very crazy, but I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can,” McConnell said. “I’m still trying to learn every day while also making sure that our audience stays informed.”
McConnell hopes to continue growing as a radio reporter and making the show better with each broadcast. With so much happening all the time, he doesn’t want listeners to miss out on anything.
“I want the audience to feel comfortable and feel like they can trust getting their news from me,” McConnell said. “I want to be a voice that they know they can trust whenever they tune in to give them news that is important to the community.”