"We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Big Al Weekley a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below. Big Al, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. We’d love to hear about when you first realized that you wanted to pursue a creative path professionally.Music made a huge impact on me at an early age. My Dad and my brother played old time music and played a variety of stringed instruments. I would often sit and listen at them. My Mom showed me three chords on the guitar, and I started sitting in with them as I learned. As a family, we would often sing songs together from a hymnal. I continued to learn chords and sing different vocal parts. When I was 13, my brother John, left his guitar for me so I could learn more about it. I would sit in the bedroom after school and play along with Hank Williams records. Even though I can’t read music, I can play the guitar. When I was 12 years old, my grandmother brought me a transistor radio. I fell asleep each night listening to that radio. I remember thinking about all the people who were listening to that DJ and wondering what they were doing. Every Sunday after church we regularly went to my grandma’s house to eat dinner. I remember on one particular Sunday; she had bought a brand-new stereo. It had an FM dial and I had never seen one of those in West Virginia. It was something new. As I turned that FM dial, I happened upon a man named Bill Monroe singing bluegrass music. That moment in time I feel was the beginning of my journey down a creative/artistic path. I didn’t know it at that time, but the very radio station on which I was listening to Bill Monroe on that particular day would be the very same radio station where I would start my broadcasting career some 11 years later. In moving forward those eleven years, we were asked by WOUB-FM to play a show on the radio station at Ohio University. After completing the show, I talked to the communications director. As we talked, I was watching the DJ spin records. My comment to the communications director was, “that looks like fun.” The Director said, “it is”. Then he asked, “Do you have any radio experience?” I said, “yeah, I just talked and sang on the radio for an hour.” We both laughed. He said, “Be here next Sunday I am going to train you to be a DJ.” I showed up the following Sunday and started a career which has now spanned almost four decades.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” For the last three decades, 36 years to be exact, my life has been enriched as a result of my contributions and service to Bluegrass, Classic Country and Gospel music both on a national and international level as a radio broadcaster. Radio, I feel, is the theatre of the mind. Each person will have their own experience with the music. I am a common man with deep feelings who has been rewarded with the opportunity to paint the picture for my listeners. As a result, I have established professional relationships, acquired many valued friends and formed a special connection with people. As a Broadcaster with many years of experience, I have always strived to present both an entertaining and professional program and present music the way I think it should be. The way I think it should be is a result of a lifetime of education and experience which I have gained “learning by doing.” When I go into the studio to host a program, I leave the problems outside the door. Thusly, creating a positive experience at all times for the listener. I consider an interview a cold word, I call it a conversation for both me, the artist and the listening audience. Currently, I have two live programs and a syndicated program. The syndicated program is three hours long and is called, “The Big Al & Sandy Show”. This program provides news on the Bluegrass Industry, Up-to-date music which is being released and Conversations with Artists. This program currently airs on Country Music News International Magazine & Radio in Germany, UK and the US. It also airs on the Bluegrass Jamboree.com and 92.1 FM WDIC in Clintwood, Virginia. One of the live shows is called “Overdrive’s Music to Truck By”, a three-hour show dedicated to the truck driver, the men and women behind the wheel It airs on The Bluegrass Jamboree.com and WDIC. Then the Big Al & Sandy Show Live on WDIC-FM. This is me and my wife where we let our hair down and have a cup of coffee with everyone on air. During my career I have been honored with a variety of nominations and awards and I am proud of those accomplishments which include International Bluegrass Special Award Nomination for Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year (2003,2014 and 2021); Induction to the Nebraska Country Music Hall of Fame (2013); Miles of Memories Country Music Festival, Hastings, NE. Recognition Award for Promotion of Local and Regional Artists (2013); Branson Gospel Singer Songwriter Association Honorary and Lifetime Membership Award (2009); Nebraska Navy Admiral Certificate Award, received from the Governor of Nebraska for the promotion of the state (2006); Performed with Elvis Presley’s Jordanaires in Holdrege, NE and also with James King Band (2006); Nebraska Veteran of Foreign Wars Memorial highway 83 Award (Veterans honor award for recognition of Veterans and Gold Star Families) (2006); and KNOP-TV Hometown hero Award, North Platte, NE (2004).
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
The pandemic of 2020 brought difficult times and uncharted waters for many. Bluegrass artists were unable to travel, earn their wages and share their craft. Venues were locked and empty with the lights turned out. The radio station, WMMT, where I worked wouldn’t even let the DJ’s come in to do their programs. I found physical distancing from the things I enjoy and the people to be somewhat devastating. Even though I too suffered with the COVID virus, I started looking for an alternative with a positive outcome. The first thing I did was to build a professional broadcast studio in my home. Then I contacted WMMT and “the Big Al & Sandy Show”, the program I do with my wife, was back on the air with a 4-hour bluegrass show. I also offered the show to TheBluegrassJamboree.com and they eagerly accepted. I thought of stories my parents told me of a time when they would gather around the radio for entertainment. I remember thinking, “It’s time for that again.: The more I thought about it the more I recognized a win-win opportunity. Not just for me, but for the listeners, the artists, and the bluegrass music. I contacted Melanie Wilson, publicist for some of the artists, and said, “We need to get these bluegrass artists on the air and let the listeners know everything’s alright.” With Melanie’s help we gave the artists she represents and many more the platform to visit with listeners, share information on how to purchase their music and let them gain some bluegrass music history. Overall, the listeners knew bluegrass music is alive and well. In addition to the music, one or two interviews with the bluegrass artists and songwriters was featured nearly every week for over a year. When the momentum gets going, it is not time to slow down. I realized it was time to expand and offer bluegrass music to a larger audience. Being a truck driver for 44 years, my job and the job of other truckers is to keep the country supplied with everything. This became even more important during the pandemic. My thought about this, they need entertainment too. I contacted the largest magazine in the trucking industry, Overdrive. Overdrive Magazine, which was celebrating 60 years of trucking that particular year, was the voice of the American trucking industry with over 400,000 subscribers and over 400,000 face book followers. I proposed to Overdrive management a radio show for tuckers which would include bluegrass music. They were enthusiastic. I then contacted Annette Grady with TheBluegrassJamboree.com and arranged a two-hour time slot for the program. The initial agreement between all involved was a two-hour pilot show to see if the program would gain momentum. It did! At the conclusion of the second program aired, the number quadrupled. At the conclusion of the fourth pilot show, we all agreed to make the program permanent. The two-hour show airs each Friday and is called “Overdrive’s Music to Truck By.” It offers listeners new and classic trucking songs, interviews, truck news, and Bluegrass Music. It is also rewarding to see the word Bluegrass, TheBluegrassJamboree.com, and Bluegrass Artists featured on the cover page of the largest and most prestigious trucking industry magazine. This show is also offered on demand via podcast after it airs on TheBluegrassJamboree.com. In addition to furthering bluegrass music, I also had the opportunity to work on several TV shows featuring interviews with Bluegrass artist on ARC TV located in Norton, Virginia. Their potential Viewing audience is three million. In conclusion, I sailed through the uncharted waters of the pandemic and found the positive outcome for which I was looking. Is there a mission driving your creative journey?
As I said earlier, “Radio is a theatre of the mind, you have to the paint the picture.” I have enriched my life painting many pictures in new radio ventures both nationally and internationally.” I have been a lifelong learner who loves people and wants to share with others the experiences I have learned by making mistakes, but yet finding solutions and not giving up. Mistakes are almost as important as getting it right. When at your lowest point in life, one needs to realize it doesn’t last forever. Only death is forever. So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue on the journey. I have had a creative journey, but that journey is ongoing. The Lord has blessed me even though I have had many detours in my life. However, the greatest part is yet to come for I am not done yet.
Is there a mission driving your creative journey?As I said earlier, “Radio is a theatre of the mind, you have to the paint the picture.” I have enriched my life painting many pictures in new radio ventures both nationally and internationally.” I have been a lifelong learner who loves people and wants to share with others the experiences I have learned by making mistakes, but yet finding solutions and not giving up. Mistakes are almost as important as getting it right. When at your lowest point in life, one needs to realize it doesn’t last forever. Only death is forever. So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue on the journey. I have had a creative journey, but that journey is ongoing. The Lord has blessed me even though I have had many detours in my life. However, the greatest part is yet to come for I am not done yet. Contact Info:
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/big-al-weekley-43060445/Is there a mission driving your creative journey?As I said earlier, “Radio is a theatre of the mind, you have to the paint the picture.” I have enriched my life painting many pictures in new radio ventures both nationally and internationally.” I have been a lifelong learner who loves people and wants to share with others the experiences I have learned by making mistakes, but yet finding solutions and not giving up. Mistakes are almost as important as getting it right. When at your lowest point in life, one needs to realize it doesn’t last forever. Only death is forever. So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue on the journey. I have had a creative journey, but that journey is ongoing. The Lord has blessed me even though I have had many detours in my life. However, the greatest part is yet to come for I am not done yet." Contact Info:
Country Music News International established in the USA! CMNI Radio Show now on FM and AM!
The Germany-based online magazine, Country Music News International, with its associated radio shows, is now available not only online, but also on FM and AM in the US. One of the largest radio stations, WDIC 92.1, from Virginia, has been presenting the successful 3 hour CMNI radio show since the beginning of 2022. The show, presented by Al Weekley, features the best of bluegrass music. Furthermore, interviews with the stars of country music and bluegrass music are presented in each show. About Al Weekley: 3 time Nominee IBMA DJ Of The Year 2003, 2014, 2021 and member Nebraska Country Music Hall Of Fame. About WDIC 92.1: WDIC 92.1 was originally an AM/ FM station that began July 2, 1989 that played Classic Hits. June 15, 2021 the station changed to Classic Country. Today they have a different line up of music throughout the week: Country Music, Classic Rock, Oldies, Bluegrass, and Southern Gospel Music. About Country Music News International: Country Music News International Magazine: https://countrymusicnewsinternational.com/ Country Music News International Radio Shows on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday for Country Music and Bluegrass Music: https://countrymusicnewsinternational.com/radio-show/ Since March 2011 Country Music News International online magazine has grown to more than 4 million readers (December 31. 2021). Country Music News International has a high ranking at Google.de when you search for Country Music News in Germany. So we offer a large audience of dedicated country music fans. Most of our readers are from America, Germany, UK and Russia. Our online and FM Radio Shows, where we present each week country music and interviews with stars from yesterday, today and tomrrow, reach each year several hundred thounsand of listeners. Current the shows are present in English and German. Our writers comes from all over the world. USA, Germany, India just to name some of the country where they from. Our weekly Newsletter, published on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Email … is a must to sign to be up to date with country music. Because we reach millions of music lovers. Country Music News International is the place where you find country music news, interviews, cd reviews and many more. Keep up to date with your favorite country star by reading each day Country Music News International. Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show Editor / Publisher Christian Lamitschka An der Pfingstweide 28 61118 Bad Vilbel Germany Info@CountryMusicNewsInternational.com Office: +49 171 6903352 Fax: +49 6101 544622 https://countrymusicnewsinternational.com/
FEBRUARY 28, 2022 THE BIG AL & SANDY RADIO SHOW
GRUNDY, VA - BIG NEWS FOR "BIG AL" WEEKLEY THIS WEEK AS HE GEARS UP TO INTRODUCE HIS EXTENSIVELY FOLLOWED RADIO PROGRAM, "THE BIG AL AND SANDY RADIO SHOW," TO A BRAND NEW INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE. BIG AL FANS TUNE IN FOR HIS STAND-ALONE RADIO VOICE ON WDIC 92.1 IN CLINTWOOD, VA. THROUGHOUT THE WEEK WITH SEVERAL PROGRAM OPTIONS, AS WELL AS ON THE BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE, ONE OF THE LARGEST AND LONGEST-RUNNING INTERNET STREAMING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. FANS LOVE HIS SHOWS THAT INCLUDE HIS WIFE AND SINGER-SONGWRITER, SANDY SHORTRIDGE, AS WELL AS IN-DEPTH AND ENTERTAINING INTERVIEWS WITH CURRENT AND LEGENDARY BLUEGRASS, AMERICANA AND COUNTRY MUSIC ARTISTS. ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2ND, THE THREE-TIME IBMA (INTERNATIONAL BLUEGRASS MUSIC ASSOCIATION) NOMINATED BROADCASTER OF THE YEAR TAKES HIS SHOW INTERNATIONAL WITH COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS INTERNATIONAL RADIO, WITH AIR TIMES IN GERMANY, THE U.K. AND AN ADDITIONAL SPOT IN THE US. BIG AL SAID HE IS "VERY EXCITED TO ADD COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS INTERNATIONAL RADIO TO HIS SHOW FOR MANY REASONS. NOT ONLY DOES IT THRILL ME TO BE ABLE TO SHARE THE MUSIC AND ARTISTS WITH OVER A MILLION MORE LISTENERS, BUT I AM HAPPY TO ADD A STRONG BLUEGRASS ELEMENT TO THE STATION. THESE ARE GREAT PEOPLE THAT HAVE WORKED REALLY HARD AND BUILT AN INCREDIBLE VEHICLE FOR MUSIC AND I CAN'T WAIT TO PROVIDE THEM WITH THE BLUEGRASS TO HELP FURTHER OUR GENRE ACROSS THE POND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE." IN ADDITION TO WEEKLEY'S BLUEGRASS SHOW, HE HOSTS A SUNDAY MORNING GOSPEL SHOW ON WDIC FM, AND OVERDRIVE MAGAZINE'S "MUSIC TO TRUCK BY", WHERE HE HAS ALSO SUCCEEDED IN INTRODUCING BLUEGRASS MUSIC TO A LARGE NEW MUSIC AUDIENCE OVER THE PAST YEAR WITH LONG HAUL TRUCKERS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. BIG AL WEEKLEY HAS HAD A LONG TIME RADIO CAREER IN ADDITION TO BEING A LONG HAUL TRUCKER AND MUSICIAN. HE HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR THE IBMA BROADCASTER OF THE YEAR AWARD THREE TIMES IN 2003, 2014, AND 2021, INDUCTED INTO THE NEBRASKA COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME, IS A RECIPIENT OF THE PRESIDENT'S AWARD FROM THE NEBRASKA COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION, IS A KENTUCKY COLONEL, A LIFETIME MEMBER BRANSON GOSPEL SINGER ASSOCIATION, A PROUD IBMA LEADERSHIP BLUEGRASS GRADUATE - CLASS OF 2000, AND HAS RECEIVED MANY MORE ACCOLADES THROUGHOUT HIS TENURE BEHIND THE MIC. TUNE IN IF YOU CAN TO HELP WELCOME THE BIG AL AND SANDY RADIO SHOW TO COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS INTERNATIONAL RADIO ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2ND, AND YOU CAN FOLLOW HIS GROWING SCHEDULE THROUGHOUT THE WEEK AT THE AIRTIMES BELOW: THE BIG AL & SANDY SHOW: WDIC FM 92.1 CLINTWOOD VA SATURDAYS 8 AM - 12 PM (LIVE) THE BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE MONDAYS 10 AM - 1 PM COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS INTERNATIONAL, MAGAZINE & RADIO SHOW CHANNEL 58 WEDNESDAYS 4 PM - 7 PM (U.K.) / 5 PM - 8 PM (GERMANY) AND 10 AM - 1 PM (USA) THE BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE FRIDAYS 2 AM - 5 AM (REPLAY) OVERDRIVE'S MUSIC TO TRUCK BY: BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE & WDIC FM 92.1 FRIDAY MORNINGS 10 AM - 1 PM (LIVE) WDIC SUNDAY MORNINGS: WDIC FM 92.1 CLINTWOOD VA SUNDAYS 10 AM - 11 PM (LIVE) CONGRATULATIONS TO INTERNATION"AL!" BEST WISHES ON THIS NEW VENTURE AND THANK YOU TO BIG AL AND COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS INTERNATIONAL FOR YOUR EFFORTS TO FURTHER THE MUSIC WE LOVE!
Introducing former owner-op Mark Huffine, new partner for 'Overdrive's Music to Truck By'Overdrive Staff
Jan 8, 2022 - This week, host "Big Al" Weekley's Friday online radio show will hit the terrestrial airwaves with a new partner. Weekley's Overdrive's Music to Truck By still streams live online via The Bluegrass Jamboree online radio network, but it will also broadcast on the new 92.1 FM, WDIC, out of Clintwood, Virginia. The station is led by former owner-operator and small fleet owner Mark Huffine, who started an over-the-road career in 1977 with Mor-Flo in Johnson City, Tennessee, a water heater manufacturer now part of American Water Heater. Huffine tells the story of that career, and how it brought him to acquire WDIC in April 2021, in the story that follows: Former owner-operator, now WDIC radio station owner Mark HuffineIn 1977, like most drivers of that era, none of us were making any money – 7.5 cents a mile running team. I beat around with different small companies trying to find a place with some benefits and more money and finally, in about 1987, I ended up at Schneider National running out of the Charlotte office. Schneider employed field recruiters and I ran into one in Candler, North Carolina. I had had a couple of speeding tickets, and really had to convince him that I could drive 55 mph. With the computer monitoring on the trucks, running 55 and keeping idle time down, along with RPMs between shifts, I could make 24 cents a mile! Big pay increase! I did so well at that; I became a driver trainer, and in about six months, I then was asked to move into the office and become the recruiting manager. The guy that hired me ... began working for me. We had a good laugh about that. He said, "If I had known I was going to work for you ... I would never have hired you!" Schneider believed in training ... in all areas. That is where I really learned about the trucking business. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Don Schneider, corporate attorneys, corporate presidents and vice presidents, and safety department personnel. I got a real education with Schneider National. In 1995 I bought my first truck and began adding trucks the next year ... and kept adding until I had 10 trucks and about 20 trailers. I combined forces with a friend so both of us could grow and get stronger. I added a few more trucks and trailers until I had 17, and about 35 trailers. Yet in 2000 I found out that I was a diabetic, and by 2006 I could no longer drive, not being able to get the DOT medical card. No waivers back then. I knew it was time to get out. We sold off equipment and I moved on to other endeavors. In 1999 I had answered God's call to ministry with the United Methodist Church. So I began full time ministry, which I had been wanting to do for several years. God had a plan. In 2019, I was appointed to Clintwood United Methodist church in Clintwood, Virginia. One of my church members owned the local radio station, and I inquired about buying some time for a short daily devotional that I wanted to do. The very first thing out of her mouth: “You want to buy a station?” I laughed and said no. She kept talking to me about it on occasion ... and kept planting the seed. I was doing my five-minute program each day, and I was content with that. But, I have to admit; in the back of my mind ... I was thinking about it. Finally, in April 2021, I had a meeting with the owners and we came to an agreement for me to acquire control of the station. WDIC now is WDIC, the New 92.1. I changed the format to Classic Country and Big Al and Sandy became our No. 1 show, airing on Saturday morning with 4 hours of bluegrass, traditional country and gospel. They have a following that is literally all over the world. Al Weekley and I have talked a lot about trucking and trucks in the past several months. He told me about his “Music to Truck by” with Overdrive doing the news. I was really excited about that, and wanted to put it on my station. Looks like Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. we will have a new program on WDIC, the New 92.1. I have a lot of confidence that it will be another hit in this market. Rural Southwest Virginia still has some coal mines working, and with that, there are many trucks on the road here, not to mention the ones just passing through. We also broadcast worldwide on WDICRadio.com. --Mark Huffine