Special thanks to guest contributor Brad Spencer for his comments about the creation of a statue of WPAQ founder Ralph Epperson for downtown Mount Airy, NC’s “Whittling Wall”. Spencer, a North Carolina artist specializing in brick sculpture, was commissioned by the city to create eight lifelike figures of well-known residents who contributed to the history of the area.
Though I didn’t know Ralph Epperson personally I have long been aware of WPAQ’s contribution to the promotion and preservation of American traditional music and live performance radio. My father, Lance Spencer formerly of The Spencer Brothers, and I performed on the station in the late 1990’s.
My life as a sculptor has allowed me to combine a love of music and art to honor such music icons as Doc and Merle Watson, Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham and of course Ralph Epperson. I have a current project depicting old time musicians Joe and Odell Thomson.
Because I had only a few photos of Ralph to reference, “Broadcast – A Man and His Dream” was a vital resource that allowed me to capture Ralph’s image and hopefully his personality. It was helpful to take screen shot photos but seeing Ralph in motion was even more revealing and provided a vital contribution to the Whittling Wall project for Mount Airy.