Morning Air Show
A burly frame houses the familiar deep voice and belly chuckle that gets area residents up and moving each morning. Eyes that shine with mischief find humor everywhere they look. Bantering on the air with sidekick Jeff Jeffries, he reminds us that everyday life doesn’t have to be such a serious thing.
Tuesday, QBE’s morning show king marks his 54th birthday.
"I grew up in Raleigh County. The first four years, we lived in a place that doesn’t exist anymore called Packsville, about four miles from Whitesville. When I was 4, we moved to Sophia. The high school I went to doesn’t exist anymore. The elementary school I went to doesn’t exist anymore. My dad was a mechanic for a Chevrolet dealership in Sophia that doesn’t exist anymore. My life is full of it’s-not-there-anymores.
"I had no idea what I was going to be. You should have a plan in high school. I had no plan. When I was in the 10th grade, a friend, Ray Catlett, did a little community affairs show on WWNR in Beckley. The show was for the vocational school and their VICA Club. I went with Ray maybe two times to record the show. In the summer of 1967, Ray called in the middle of the night and said he was moving and I had to take over the show. He couldn’t find anyone else to do it.
"All I knew was what I had seen him do twice. It was a half-hour show. You were supposed to have information about the VICA Club and what was going on at the school. But it was summer, and I didn’t go to vocational school, and I had no idea what they did. So I just played records and said I was there for the VICA Club. I didn’t know what I was doing. It would take a minimum of four to six hours to record this thing, take after take after take.
"But I decided radio was pretty cool, and I should go to vocational school if I intended to keep it up. They had a broadcasting class. Dick Calloway, who worked at WWNR, was the teacher. He would tell me to just be myself instead of trying to be a disc jockey. I was doing the fast-talking, screaming, everything-rhymes kind of stuff. Years later, it occurred to me that Dick Calloway was right. I wasn’t getting anywhere because I wasn’t being a real person.
"Vocational school was a two-pronged thing. There was an electronics part. A lot of entry-level jobs were at night, and you had to do these transmitter readings that you could only do with a certain license. I got real disenchanted with the electronics course. I wasn’t good at it for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that I’m color-blind and we had all this color-coded stuff that I was totally lost about.
"After I graduated, I worked briefly in Pineville at WWYO. I thought I was something, actually getting paid. I made $1.10 an hour. I found out about the Elkins Institute of Broadcasting, another thing that doesn’t exist anymore. This school in New Orleans would prepare you to pass the license test. My parents spent all this money to send me to that school, and all I really learned was how to splice tape.
"But I did get the license, which was really amazing, because I was 18, and you could go to the clubs when you were 18. I had the whole New Orleans experience, and coming from Raleigh County, it pretty much overwhelmed me. I don’t know how I made it through school.
"I worked at WJLS in Beckley about two years, then went to WWNR. I don’t think it exists anymore.
"When you’re young in the radio business, you live for advancing. I sent out tapes all the time and got a job at WKAZ, the Top 40 powerhouse in Charleston. I probably sent 50 tapes to WAYS in Charlotte, which also doesn’t exist anymore. The program director sent me encouraging letters. The program director at WMAK in Nashville asked him if he knew anybody looking for a job, and they hired me. I thought Nashville was just country, and I wasn’t thrilled about going. In seven years in Nashville, I never played the first country song.
"We did some crazy stuff at WLAC. We had a contest to go see Pink Floyd in concert. To win, you had to send in the most bizarre pink thing you could find. We got animal hearts and all kinds of crazy stuff. The woman who won came in wearing a pink body suit and riding a pink horse.
"When that station sold, they got rid of everybody. Bristol Broadcasting offered me a job on QBE. Living in Nashville, I had developed a taste for country. I thought I’d come back for a year or so. That was 1981.
"Until 1977, I did nights. Now I come on mornings, 6 until 10. I’m not a morning person. I’d like to stay up until 4 in the morning and go to work at 4 in the afternoon. For years when I did this show, lots of times I would crawl into the station and still be half shot when I went on the air. I can’t do that anymore. I have to get a full night’s sleep.
"I’ve been through about eight different partners, including Randy Johnson, the funniest radio man in Charleston. Jeff Jeffries is my partner now. He keeps me I check. It’s good chemistry.
"When that shopping center opened in Teays Valley, they told me I was going to throw out cash from an airplane. They didn’t tell me it was an ultralight. All they’re made of is aluminum tubing, fabric wings, a Volkswagen engine and a big propeller. Mine was an experimental two-seater model. I was absolutely terrified. The pilot yelled at me to lean way out when I threw the money or it would get caught in the prop and we would go down. Now that scared me to death. I just threw out the whole sack.
"When we got back to the strip, two actual ultralights landed first. The first one crashed into a tree. The guy wasn’t hurt but the plane was destroyed. I saw this before I came in. When I got back to the station, I told them never to mention me and an airplane in the same sentence
"When I first got into radio, we had 45 rpm records and 33 rpm albums with turntables. The times of the records were written on the labels and were notoriously wrong. If you timed into the news using three songs and that block worked, you had a real sense of accomplishment because it wasn’t all mapped out for you by computers.
"My parents wanted to send me to law school. I don’t think I would have been a very good lawyer. If it hadn’t been for Ray Catlett asking me to take over that radio show, I don’t know what I would have done. If you’re reading this, Ray, I owe you an ass-kicking.
"But I’ve had a big time. I’ve met all kinds of stars. I got to go to Hawaii because of this job. And our station does so many things for the community. I think, what have I ever done for people? But if anyone laughs on the way to work, or got to work safe and on time because of Bob Hamilton’s traffic report, any little thing like that means a great deal to me.
"My youngest son was trying to explain to my daughter what I do. Tyler said, ‘He plays some records, talks about the weather, gives stuff away and plays some more records.’ He pretty much summed it all up.
"This is not a job for someone who wants a stable family life. I gave up on that a long time ago. My marriages? Let’s say I’ve been married more than four times but less than the 12 that Jeff always says. I’ve got four children. Radio pays OK, but not if you’re divorced and paying child support. So I got this extra job selling sporting goods at Wal-Mart. When people come by and talk to me, they expect me to be like I am on radio. I’m always mystified by what they want me to say.”
Geared up for his sunrise shift in the hilltop studios of WQBE, popular radio personality Al Woody gets Charleston ready for the day as co-host of the "Morning Air Show,” his broadcasting assignment since 1983.
"I thought I was something, actually getting paid,” Al Woody says. "I made $1.10 an hour.”
"I wasn’t getting anywhere because I wasn’t being a real person.”
"In seven years in Nashville, I never played the first country song.”
Working at WKAZ-AM in 1973, Al Woody (second from right) was part of a broadcasting team that included (from left) Rick Robinson, Eric Mason, Al Sahley, Frank George and Charlie Cooper (center).
At 9 years old, future radio star Al Woody had no idea what he wanted to be when he grew up.
This publicity photo of Woody was taken in 1975 during his seven-year stint as a Nashville DJ.
To contact staff writer Sandy Wells, call 348-5173 or e-mail email@example.com.
"IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT!"
"I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture, here in the USA. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely comprised of descendants of immigrants. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America, being a multi-cultural community, has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.
We speak ENGLISH , not Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language! ENGLISH. "In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, of Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is and always will be part of our culture. If the Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. Remember, "Delta is ready when you are and they can have you there by nightfall". This is OUR COUNTRY , our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But, once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other great American freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE."
Charlie Daniels on Mexicans
by Charlie Daniels
I don't know how everybody else feels about it, but to me I think Hispanic people in this country, legally or illegally, made a huge public relations mistake with their recent demonstrations.
I don't blame anybody in the world for wanting to come to the United States of America, as it is a truly wonderful place. But when the first thing you do when you set foot on American soil is illegal it is flat out wrong and I don't care how many lala land left heads come out of the woodwork and start trying to give me sensitivity lessons.
I don't need sensitivity lessons, in fact I don't have anything against Mexicans! I just have something against criminals and anybody who comes into this country illegally is a criminal and if you don't believe it try coming into America from a foreign country without a passport and see how far you get.
What disturbs me about the demonstrations is that it's tantamount to saying, "I am going to come into your country even if it means breaking your laws and there's nothing you can do about it."
It's an "in your face" action and speaking just for me I don't like it one little bit and if there were a half dozen pairs of gonads in Washington bigger than English peas it wouldn't be happening.
Where are you, you bunch of lilly livered, pantywaist, forked tongued, sorry excuses for defenders of The Constitution? Have you been drinking the water out of the Potomac again?
And even if you pass a bill on immigration it will probably be so pork laden and watered down that it won't mean anything anyway. Besides, what good is an other law going to do when you won't enforce the ones on the books now?
And what ever happened to the polls guys? I thought you folks were the quintessential finger wetters. Well you sure ain't paying any attention to the polls this time because somewhere around eighty percent of Americans want something done about this mess, and mess it is and getting bigger everyday.
This is no longer a problem, it is a dilemma and headed for being a tragedy. Do you honestly think that what happened in France with the Muslims can't happen here when the businesses who hire these people finally run out of jobs and a few million disillusioned Hispanics take to the streets?
If you, Mr. President, Congressmen and Senators, knuckle under on this and refuse to do something meaningful it means that you care nothing for the kind of country your children and grandchildren will inherit.
But I guess that doesn't matter as long as you get re-elected. Shame on you.
One of the big problems in America today is that if you have the nerve to say anything derogatory about any group of people (except Christians) you are going to be screamed at by the media and called a racist, a bigot and anything else they can think of to call you.
Well I've been pounded by the media before and I'm still rockin' and rollin' and when it comes to speaking the truth I fear not. And the truth is that the gutless, gonadless, milksop politicians are just about to sell out the United States of America because they don't have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the face reality.
And reality is that we would never allow any other group of people to have 12 million illegals in this country and turn around and say, "Oh it's ok, ya'll can stay here if you'll just allow us to slap your wrist."
And I know that some of you who read this column are saying "Well what's wrong with that?"
I'll tell you what's wrong with it. These people could be from Mars as far as we know. We don't know who they are, where they are or what they're up to and the way the Congress is going we're not going to.
Does this make sense? Labor force you say? We already subsidize corporate agriculture as it is, must we subsidize their labor as well?
If these people were from Haiti would we be so fast to turn a blind eye to them or if they were from Somalia or Afghanistan? I think not.
All the media shows us are pictures of hard working Hispanics who have crossed the border just to try to better their life. They don't show you pictures of the Feds rounding up members of MS 13, the violent gang who came across the same way the decent folks did. They don't tell you about the living conditions of the Mexican illegals some fat cat hired to pick his crop.
I want to make two predictions. No. 1: This situation is going to grow and fester until it erupts in violence on our streets while the wimps in Washington drag their toes in the dirt and try to figure how many tons of political hay they can make to the acre.
No 2: Somebody is going to cross that border with some kind of weapon of mass destruction and set it off in a major American city after which there will be a backlash such as this country has never experienced and the Capitol building in Washington will probably tilt as Congressmen and Senators rush to the other side of the issue.
I don't know about you but I would love to see just one major politician stand up and say, "I don't care who I make mad and I don't care how many votes I lose, this is a desperate situation and I'm going to lead the fight to get it straightened out."
I don't blame anybody for wanting to come to America, but if you don't respect our immigration laws why should you respect any others.
And by the way, this is America and our flag has stars and stripes. Please get that other one out of my face.
Pray for our troops
What do you think?
God Bless America Charlie Daniels April 10, 2006
INTERESTING BASED ON TODAY'S DISCUSSIONS ABOUT IMMIGRANTS.
Every American Citizen needs to read this!
Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
- Theodore Roosevelt 1907