CHARLESTON, W.Va — A legendary voice in radio is silent today in West Virginia’s capital city. Al Woody, longtime DJ and radio personality at Charleston radio station WQBE-FM died around 2 a.m. Thursday at CAMC Memorial hospital.
“He’d been sick for a couple of years,” said his longtime morning show partner Jeff Whitehead. “He had congested heart failure, COPD, diabetes. Congestive heart failure is what got him.”
Woody had become one of the most familiar names and voices on the radio in West Virginia. A native of Beckley, Woody started his broadcasting career in the early 1970’s at a radio station in Mullens, West Virginia before moving to Charleston rock and roll station WKAZ. He moved to Nashville in the mid 1970’s where he continued his work in rock music.
“Odd that he worked in the country music capital of the world and never worked at a country music station,” said Whitehead. “He worked rock and roll in Nashville and could tell you every song by a rock and roll artist, but couldn’t tell you a single song by a country artist.”
Woody returned to Charleston around 1980 and went to work for Bristol Broadcasting. He briefly worked as a rock DJ before he transitioned to the position he would hold until the day he died as one of the staples of the top rated morning show in Charleston for decades on country station WQBE-FM.
“He was well known and well liked,” said West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame member Randy Dameron who worked with Woody after he returned to West Virginia. “He really liked that town (Nashville) but I was glad he was able to get back home.”
During those early years Woody was roommates with another legendary voice in West Virginia Charlie Cooper.
“He had a self-deprecating sense of humor as all good DJs did,” said Cooper. “He was very wry and amusing. I liked him a lot.”
Woody’s difficulty with marriage seemed to be a common thread among his friends and former co-workers.
“We worked together for 19 years,” joked Whitehead, “Which was longer than any of his marriages lasted.”
“I met him in 1980 when he was on wife number three I think,” laughed Cooper.
But those who knew him for many years held Woody in high regard for his talent and ability for radio work.
“It was admirable for the amount of time he spent doing our chosen work,” said Cooper. “Most of the guys who were on the air when I was on the air back in those days have gone on to do something else or they’re dead. Woody stuck with it.”
“I remember we did a nightclub remote back in the day,” said Dameron. “Everybody wanted to meet Al Woody just on name recognition alone. It was fun to watch.”
“It really can be a hard job, but Al was one of those guys who could just walk in, sit down, and take over,” said Whitehead. “He was just naturally gifted. You don’t see that anymore.”
Woody would have turned 67 on November 8.