MYERSTOWN, Pa. – If you're a country music fan, chances are you've heard Al Shade introduce a song or two on Lebanon County's WLBR radio.
Shade has shared stages and shows with the likes of country royalty including Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and June Carter Cash. He played the Grand Ole Opry with his late wife Jean, who he met at a Reading talent show.
Now, at 94 years old, he's been doing country radio on WLBR since the Truman administration.
"When they see me they say, 'Al, thank you so very much. Your show makes me so happy and sometimes I'm not feeling too good but after I listen to your show I feel a whole lot better,'" Shade said.
He's penned plenty of his own material and covered others' like Hank Williams.
His family says the tunes are the fuel that keeps their country-music-playing patriarch going.
"How many people say, 'That's what I do — that's what I've done?'" said Faron L. Shade, Al's son. "It's his own personal little empire, if you will."
As he sits literally surrounded by music in his basement studio in Myerstown, Lebanon County, he's looking back on the decades of DJ'ing and performing that continue to keep him going.
"There's just something about music that makes me feel good," said the country DJ. "Makes me good in my soul. I guess music's in my blood."
Almost akin to a Mister Rogers under a cowboy hat and country dress shirt, the elder Shade continues to share the sounds and lessons learned from a long life with music.
"Having the right attitude and being determined," he said. "And having patience, too, and respect for other people. And you'll get along in life. I'm sure of that."