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Jun 19

Father’s Day 2011

Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 in Family

It’s Father’s Day 2011.  I became a father a week short of my 37th birthday.  In my mind, a man at 37 is probably fairly well established in his chosen profession, and secure in all things financial.  Three months after Kate was born, I was let go from my chosen field, little did I know at the time that I’d be out for good.  Staying in broadcasting would likely have meant a move out of town, probably out of state.  Been there, done that, and didn’t want to do it again, especially with a family in tow.

Unemployment gave me 6 months as a Mr. Mom and a special introduction to fatherhood.  I certainly wouldn’t trade that time for another meaningless 6 months in radio. 

12 years later a recurring theme is readily apparent.  12 years of work, selling beds, cars, loans and insurance have been fun and occasionally fruitful, but really…almost meaningless.  Suffice to say I haven’t changed the world.  All of the above was a means to an end, supporting a household.

Decisions on employment could be second guessed eternally, but the underlying consideration in all judgments was my kids.  I wanted flexibility and freedom to be an active and willing participant in their lives.  I work hard and enjoy work, but I am not a workaholic.  After losing my own Dad at 13, I couldn’t bear the thought of being the guy who looks back on his life and wishes he spent more time with his children.

Those 3 am feedings and changing poopie diapers was not just for Lori.  Bathtime and bedtime were playtime.  If it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, it will be the piggyback rides that do me in.  There’s pages of stories in my noggin between peek a boo and training wheels, and just as many from that first bike to the first lacrosse practice just  3 months ago.

I’ve made mistakes as a parent and would welcome some do overs, but that’s life.  I guess my most sincere hope is that I’ve set a good example, as they learn so much more by seeing and experiencing than they do from hearing me lecture about life.

In 6 months I’ll turn 50.  By then I’ll have a teenaged daughter and a 9 year old boy.   Exiting college I imagined great things for a 50 year old Bri.  I’d have logged decades ruling the radio dial from behind the mike in some major market.  Perhaps I’d have retired triumphantly and gone into station ownership.

Alas, I’m just a guy making a living in Anywhere, USA.  Yet I feel wealthy as hell, because I AM LUCKY TO BE A FATHER, SO BLESSED to have Kate and Nathan.  Time invested in them always brings great returns.  They are my pot of gold.  So greetings from the end of the rainbow on another great day, that just happens to be called Father’s Day.

May 17

About Brian “Weems” Williams

Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in About Brian

Brian Weems Williams

Brian Weems Williams

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 playing 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 & 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 a 2/28.  The rate was fixed for 2 years at 12.24.  That was one of them there “sub-prime” loans you might have heard about when the economy crashed in 2008.  My employer, Home Team Mortgage specialized in them.  I stayed almost 5 years and have long-lasting friends from my time there.

I joined Wachovia Mortgage in Lancaster in January 2005.  In the summer of 2008 Wachovia was in trouble from billions in dollars in losses from bad loans they inherited from their purchase of Golden West Capital, and would eventually be gobbled up by Wells Fargo.

In September of 2008 I went back to being a mortgage broker. 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. I figured it would bridge the gap until the mortgage business came around again.  Well it didn’t take long to figure out that it is easier to find someone that needs some health or life insurance, rather than a mortgage.  So I “retired” from the mortgage business in April of 2011 to devote all my time to insurance: health, life, accident, disability, long term care and….Medicare.

“Obamacare” turned health insurance upside down.  The first ever enrollment started in 2013 and last until mid-April in 2014! It was not fun as an insurance agent, and I realized it was not what I wanted to do going forward.  Luckily some colleagues said, “Do more Medicare! Don’t just do it doing ‘Open Enrollment’, do it year round. All the baby boomers are turning 65!” I took that advice to heart! Medicare is ALL I do…every day…all year long!

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.  Both kids play(ed) lacrosse.  Another sport that was new to me.  Pretty much love at first sight with this fast tempo game!  I ran the Ephrata Youth Lacrosse program for a few years, and now pitch in on the Varsity level as Nathan is in high school as of this writing.

I still love music, can’t function without it.  Sirius/XM, YouTube, Pandora, I’m always listening to something.  Cheeseburgers are still my food of choice.  Golf is big for me again, as Nathan has been playing for last handful of years.

That’s all for now, as of January 2018.

Oct 31

Ephrata Girls U12 Soccer G-Force!

Posted on Saturday, October 31, 2009 in Uncategorized

Another season of soccer has come and gone.  The “G Force” was 2-5 with a 3rd place finish in the Season ending festival.   In a show of team solidarity they all sprayed their hair with purple and gold paint and sparkles, then added some face paint with Gold E’s and their jersey number on their cheeks.  Earlier this week we had fun at our last practice by dressing up and being silly.

Ephrata Girls U12 Fall 09

Ephrata Girls U12 Fall 09Ephrata Girls U12 Funny FaceEphrata U12 Girls Soccer HalloweenEphrata Girls Soccer U12 Wacky Wednesday

Ephrata Girls U12 Funny Face
Ephrata Girls U12 Halloween Practice

Ephrata Girls U12 Halloween Practice

Oct 31

Trick Or Treat Night

Posted on Saturday, October 31, 2009 in Family

Here’s a photo of Kate and Nathan before going out Friday night for Trick or Treat.  We were tearing up rags to make Nathan’s Mummy costume only moments before.  Less than an hour in the neighborhood filled their bags with a ton of goodies.

Nathan & Kate Get Ready to Trick or Treat

Nathan & Kate Get Ready to Trick or Treat

Aug 23

Kate Gosselin Meets Brother Weems

Posted on Sunday, August 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

Thursday I was at Park City, looking to park near the outdoor fountain shops (which is always next to impossible), and i spotted 3 cars in a row, as if lined up ready to pull into parking spaces.  Out of the front vehicle was a blonde with severely sloped hair and oversized superstar sunglasses. 

As I pulled down the next row I saw a dude with a camera and bazooka sized telephoto lens.  Quickly surmising the situation, i rolled down my window and hollered, “Is that HER?”  (meaning Kate Gosselin of course!)  He said, “Yes!”

I drove back around, only to see her in her black Toyota SUV pulling out.  I called Lori and said, “I’ll give you one guess of who I just saw.”  She guessed it right away.

So, thinking the adventure was over, I parked by Penney’s and walked in the mall to go to Wachovia.  As I came out of the bank, who should walk right past, but Kate Gosselin.  I was confused, as I clearly saw her leave, but what the heck I followed her.  I got Lori on the line and start to give the play-by-play.  I readied my Flip video camera for anything that might be worth recording.

I don’t know why I expected her to have an entourage, but she didn’t.  She walked into the Hallmark store and I stayed out on one of the benches.  As she left I was back in pursuit.  She stopped to greet a fan before going out the Fountain Shoppes exit.  I went out and she was just hanging out by the shrubs near Williams Sonoma.  Another fan approached, so I figured what the heck, why not say hi!

“My wife and daughter watch your show ALL the time!”  I bellowed.

“Shhh!” She shushed me, “I’m trying to go unnoticed…I want to go over to Ann Taylor without causing a commotion.”

Just then another young girl came up and asked for an autograph.  KG pulled out an already signed publicity photo from her purse and gave it to the gushing fan.  I said, “You got any more of those?  My daughter’s name is Kate too, and she’d love one.”  She obliged, I thanked her and left her alone.

After this exchange, I called Lori, who was shopping at WalMart in Ephrata, and she immediately headed for Park City to see if she and our Kate could be part of the action.  They made it in there in record time and even went into Ann Taylor, but did not see her.

As I was headed back to my car, I stopped to talked to the paparazzi dude.  He’s from NYC and follows whoever in demand.  Security rolled up to tell him and his buddy to move along, just she was on her way to her car.

I had seen enough, but Lori & Kate actually followed the photo stalkers on the road as they trailed KG.  They tagged along all the way to Berks County before hanging it up.

We felt kind of “dirty” chasing her around, but it was irresistable.  It’s a national soap opera playing out on our stage, Lancaaster and Berks Counties, and since the opportunity was there, we played along.

Aug 16

MMMMMMMMMM Popeye’s!!!

Posted on Sunday, August 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

My favorite fast food chicken!

My favorite fast food chicken!

It was a sad, sad day when the Popeye’s in Lancaster closed.  No more spicy chicken and rice and beans and GRAPE soda ON TAP!  Plus blaring blues music while you gorge.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to a Popeye’s.  There’s a few a long RT. 81 in VA and MD, and I made a pit stop last week while travelling to Smith Mountain Lake with the kids.  The food was every bit as good as I remembered it.  Ditto for the other travelers, as we shared our love of the brand. 

No grape soda though, and only Phil Collins on the radio, bummers both.

Aug 16

Amish Mass Transit? Bikepooling?

Posted on Sunday, August 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

I was out and about going to Open Houses in and around Ephrata on Sunday and I found myself behind this group.  It’s like 6 Amish women on some sort of bicycle built for as many.  It looks like they could generate a pretty decent amount of speed.  Keep in mind, it’s about 2 pm, 90 degrees and super humid, I’m sweatin in shorts and a golf shirt.  Maybe the secret to keeping cool is wearing an all cotton apron dress!

Jul 28

Lawnmower For Sale: You Can’t Afford it

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 in Family

Nathan's Priceless Lawnmower

Nathan's Priceless Lawnmower

While cutting the grass last night Nathan had HIS lawnmower out.  He was sitting on his swing on the swingset, just kind of holding onto the lawn mower.  For the last couple years, he would occasionally mimic me as I cut the grass…you know, a boy pretending to do as his Dad does.

Before he said anything, I could tell he had cut his last blade of grass with that mower of his.  He’s my little man, but not THAT little.  It wouldn’t be cool to be seen walking around with a toy mower.  Not anymore.

Most times these gentle shifts and changes in my kids go unnoticed, as they transition from one thing to the next repeatedly and effortlessly, but this little moment tugged at my heart. My buckeroo continues to grow up, darn it!

I kind of choked up relating this story to Lori. 

Nathan was not so moved.  As I turned my mower off, he said, “Dad, I think I’m gonna sell this (his mower), I could probably get 3 bucks for it.”

I’m thinking the price may be a million times higher.

Jul 28

Missing Person in Ephrata!!!

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

Ephrata McDonalds

IT’S ME!!!

See the post below about my doctor visit.  I haven’t been to Mickey D’s in 4 weeks!

Jul 28

Another Visit With The Doctor…

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 in Family

And it’s good news!

3 months ago I went in for a routine physical and bloodwork.  Cholesterol levels were borderline high so Dr. Calusic prescribed a “statin,” which is I guess the generic term for cholesterol inhibitor.

Cholesterol wal 231 and borderline high.  High is 240+.  I’m now at 156!!!

Triglycerides was borderline high around 150, it’s 62 now!!!

HDL, the good cholesterol is steady at 43.7, with high risk at ,40 and optimum at >60, so there’s work to do here.

LDL was 140ish and borderline, I’m at 99.9 now!  Just inside the “optimal” region.

And I lost another 5 pounds from my last visit!  Makes sense.  I am very deliberate with excercise, working out 6 out of 7 days, which according to the book Dr. Calusic prescribed, Younger Next Year, is what I must do for the rest of my life!  So be it.  Lately I’m on the Ephrata track 3x a week.  Trying to run that 6:30 mile I had to run 30 years ago for football.  Sadly, I can’t break 9 yet!  But I will.

Working harder on the nutrition.  But it’s been 4 weeks since I’ve been to the Golden Arches.  I can’t believe it.  Did have a burger at Friendly’s…but no fries!  Loving the whole grains, and eating more fruit than i already was, and I love fruit.

I’m feeling healthy.  I’m ready to go for another 30 years, at least!

If you are a male 40 or older, or love one that is…check out the book Younger Next Year: