Chad AbshireHeartland News Service
October 11, 2012
WILLIAMSON — Ever listen to the radio, groan at hearing the same song over and over think to yourself, “I could do better than that?”
Brandon Walker did, and he did something about it.
The 27-year-old father of two with a third on the way from Dingess is the creator and host of “W.B. Walker’s Old Soul Radio Show,” a free, weekly streaming radio show.
Two hours of Americana, blues, classic country, rock and roots music hits the listener’s ear each show, with introductions and interesting stories thrown in good for measure.
That last part is the big one though.
“What separates me from other DJ’s is that I tell stories that people might not know,” Walker told the Daily News.
He said that he also plays amateur music to help struggling musicians get airplay.
Thus far, he has created eight episodes, has used 300 songs and has about 500 unique listeners, some of them international.
“People listen from Sweden, Italy, Canada, India and more,” Walker said. “It blows my mind that a radio show I do here in Dingess gets listeners from so far away.
“I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback,” Walker said. “I got a message from a radio show host in Stockholm, Sweden who said he really liked the show.”
He said that he doesn’t use a character during his show, that it’s just him. The stories he tells have a personal touch to them. And since his show is a solo project, Walker gets to play whatever he wants. But he doesn’t just grab a song and throw it in there.
“I spend a lot of time figuring out the play-list,” Walker said. “Maybe a railroad song leads into a song about a hobo.”
Each show has a theme, and each song features a connection from one to the other.
Walker said he always had an aspiration to be a musician, but with his job as a railroad conductor for Norfolk Southern, he didn’t have the time to devote to it. On the job, he’d ask his coworkers if they’d like to listen to music and he’d play things for them. Walker said they told him he had a good taste in music.
“My coworkers would ask who an artist was and word of mouth got around that I had a good collection” Walker said.
Walker said the name of the show came from a coworker who had turned him on to a lot of music.
“He told my wife that to be so young, I sure did have an old soul,” he said.
The logo of his show is an old Hank Williams picture which he altered to have his face on, a representation of Walker’s old soul.
His goal with the show is to become syndicated and sell it to open spots on radio. Currently, the show features some coarse language, but he said he would have no trouble cleaning it up for national broadcast.
“I wouldn’t mind it as a second career,” Walker said. “If you have a passion for it, the sky is limit. If you don’t enjoy it, you wont put 100 percent into it.”
He said that he was inspired by Nolan Hall, the “Country Cousin.” He said that he once sat in with him during a show and learned a lot by being there. Walker also said that radio now had gotten so far away from where radio had come from.
“There’s no more personalities on local radio,” Walker said. “They play a song, they play a commercial. You can’t connect with someone a thousand miles away.”
Walker said that people used to make plans just to stay in and listen to some radio hosts, like Wolfman Jack. He said now it’s just background noise to get to a destination.
But on his show, Walker aims to “turn people on to stuff they may not have heard before or may not get to hear otherwise.”
In short, Walker said his show has “good tunes, good stories, tour dates and how to find the artists you’re hearing.”
“You might hear something released last week or blues from the 1930s,” Walker said. “Nowadays, music is just to sell records. So many artists I listen to still have jobs and do it for the love of it.”
Walker said he wasn’t catering to any one single demographic, but did say his show was for a very specific group:
“People who get tired of the same stuff on the radio.”
The show is free to stream at wbwalker.com. You can also connect with the show on Twitter and Facebook, @w_b_walker and facebook.com/oldsoulradioshow. Walker can also be emailed at wbw_85 at yahoo.com.