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About Brian & His Blog

Brian Weems Williams

Brian Weems Williams

This blog is primarily for updating what is going on in the world of health and life insurance, but from time to will include news about Lori & Me, Kate & Nathan, or just whatever, after all…this is my piece of the world wide web!

Just in case you’re not sure you’re in the right place…though I tell people I’m from Rochester, I’m really from the lovely town of Honeoye Falls, NY.  (Picture Bedford Falls in It’s A Wonderful Life).   I’m the youngest of 8 children, the baby of Al & Grace’s family.    Two great parents that gave me all I need, but left me wanting more, only because they left this world too soon.

I don’t know that I learned everything I need to know in Kindergarten, but surely by age 10 I knew I loved playing basketball and golf, listening to music and the radio, eating cheeseburgers and making people laugh.  What you love at 10, you love your whole life.

As summer faded in 1980, I traded the only address I ever knew, 14 Maplewood Ave, for the Weinstein Dorm at NYU.  I never moved back.  I probably told you I have a degree in Communications.  I don’t.  I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Radio, but that sounds like I got a degree in the mail for 500 bucks and 2 Cap’N Crunch Box Tops.  It seems all my time was spent at WNYU.  Radio was my “bombers, my dexys, my high.”  I interned briefly at the legendary WABC and later spent a long time at the subsequently legendary CBS-FM.

What began as the Weems Noise Company in high school, evolved into a long string of dj gigs in the worst and darkest of city dumps with liquor licenses.   With a handful of scratchy 45′s and a milk crate of warped lp’s this young soul rebel plugged his own belt drive turntables into jumbo watt amps and splattered the platters that mattered.  From the basements of forgettable restaurants to bars gone gay, from blarney stones and poser lofts to hotels in Times Square.  Sounds were found and spun round the town.   Friends were made and bonds were formed, but none more fonder than those united as the Empire State Soul Club.  Keep the Faith.

My commercial radio career as was launched paying oldies on the Mighty 1290 WGLI in N. Babylon, LI in the Fall of ’84.  It was far from mighty…if NYC stations were blow torches or flamethrowers, this was a matchstick.  No worries, I was so sure I’d just be spending a few years in the “the boonies” of small market radio before coming back to glory in the Big City.    As Hurricane Gloria trashed LI in September of 85, the phone rang as the sunny eye blew through.  On the line was a program director from WLAN in Lancaster,PA (wherever that was) looking to hire this oddball known as Brother Weems.    I said “If I live to see tomorrow, let’s do lunch!”

The orange-red 72 VW Squareback was packed Clampett style for the exodus from the Greater NY area before dawn on a Tuesday Morning.   By 9am that same morning with a belly full of scrambled eggs and scrapple (whatever that was) , I was moved in to a spacious dirty apartment across the street at the ridiculously low price of 200 bucks a month.   Heck my Salary at ‘LAN was 325 a week!  I was rollin in the dough!!!

Nearly got fired for my antics in the first month.  And the the second month.  And the third month.  Would have, but ratings were too good I guess.  Moved to mornings in 86.   The Weems Team was THE thing to listen to in Lancaster for a long time.  Good things don’t last forever.  Neither do good ratings.  In 1991, after run ins with Hershey Park, The Secret Service and infamous Woolworth’s castration homicide case, I was fired.

I surfaced at Top 40 KXXR in Kansas City for wake-ups.  LOVE that town.  Lasted all but 6 months.  Many memories though.  Halle Berry, Eddie Money, Judy Tenuda.  The Chiefs.  Gates BBQ.  Arthur Bryant’s.  Fired again in Febraury of ’92.  Not my fault really.  The station changed hands and went Country.  Some survived, some didn’t.  And geez, Brother Weems don’t do Country!

After 6 months “on the beach,”  that’s radio speak for no gig, Brother Weems decided he do Country after all!  Dipped my toe in at WXTU in Philly and cannonballed in at WIOV in Ephrata.  Casey and Brother Weems in the Morning.  With Jeff Werner and his million dollar laugh doing news.  Best job ever.  Became Program Director in 95 and 96.  Worst job ever.  Had a blast with the staff and the listeners for 6-7 years, but was burned out, and thankfully, fired again.

The highlight of the WIOV years was attending the marriage of my Music Director.  The girl at the guest book was blonde and beautiful, with a shy dimpled smile that clutched my heart.  Lori Kowalchick was her name, and she traded in the Polish surname for my WelshIrish one in 1997.   Along came my sweetie, Kate Nicole in 1998, and my Buckeroo, Nathan Joseph in 2002.

After another 6 months on the beach, it was abundantly clear Central PA had had enough of Brother Weems.  Alas I had no marketable skills outside of broadcasting.   There’s only one way to make decent money with no qualifications…sales.  However selling Craftmatic Adjustable Beds  was not the answer.  How it took me 2 months of selling them to figure that out I’ll never know.  Selling cars at Lancaster Nissan for 6 months wasn’t the answer either, but it was fun at times.  Though the hours are ridiculous.

While “taking an up” at Nissan, a customer came in for test drive.  He worked for a mortgage broker and they were hiring.  All I knew about mortgages was…I had one.  That, and it was getting harder to pay it selling cars.

There was lots of learning and lots of cold calls.  Rates were 8% for good customers and double digits for bad ones.  My first loan was one of them there “sub-prime” loans you’ve heard about.  My employer, Home Team Mortgage specialized in them.  Rates dropped slowly and steadily and business was good.  There was something good about this lending thing.  You got to meet people, play with numbers and try to solve problems.  And you made money.  What’s not to like?

I joined Wachovia Mortgage in Lancaster in January 2005.  This was a great way to create a local client base from the bank’s customer base and begin to cultivate referrals from great people all over Lancaster County.  In September 2008 I joined forces with Beacon Mortgage in Lancaster.   In April of 2010 all of us at Beacon became Cole Taylor Mortgage, a division of Cole Taylor Bank.

In the summer of 2009, as I was twiddling my thumbs waiting for my next refi…no one was buying houses…I got licensed to sell health and life insurance.  For about a year I was doing both, writing loans and writing insurance.  It didn’t take long to figure out it’s a lot easier to find someone who needs health insurance or life insurance, than a mortgage! Thus I hung up my lending license for good in 2011.

But health insurance became a whole different animal in 2014 as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Prior to 2014 health insurance for individuals and families was my main source of business.  But after that first dreadful “Open Enrollment” for what most people call “Obamacare,” I decided I was no longer interested in that segment of insurance.

In April of 2014, I decided to go “all in” on Medicare. It is all I do. I send out 40,000 letters a year to people turning 65 in Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks Counties. As of the summer of 2017, I have over 1000 Medicare clients!

On the family side I put in 9 seasons in coaching Kate and Nathan in soccer, a sport I neither played nor know much about.  It was fun being with the kids though, hilarious at times, exasperating at others. This was followed by 6 seasons of lacrosse for both.  Another sport I did not play, but have become enamored with.  I was the President of Ephrata Youth Lacrosse, for most of that time, and since Nathan is now in high school, I’m on the lacrosse board there now too.

I still love music, can’t function without it.  Cheeseburgers are still my food of choice.  Basketball is now only played in my driveway with Nathan, and I am playing more golf now that he enjoys it too. Lori and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary in October 2017. Kate is in college at WVU. Oliver, our American Bulldog/yellow lab/rescue dog turns 7 soon.

to be continued…(God willing)