1) When I first started learning to play guitar years ago the first song I wanted to learn was, “Cincinnati, Ohio,” due to the fact that I live just north of Cincinnati. I love hearing you sing it as well as Connie Smith’s cover. I wanted to ask what inspired you to write “Cincinnati, Ohio?”
I was between flights at the airport outside Cincinnati when I got the idea to write that song. In those days, back before all the tight airport security that we have today, passengers could wander about as they saw fit, and I walked out in front of the airport and looked up at the big sign on the terminal that read “Greater Cincinnati Airport.” And just like the line in the song, “I got to thinkin’ ’bout some friends I know in Cincinnati, Ohio,” and song just started coming to me. The airport was (and still is) south of Cincinnati in Kentucky, and I thought of how the Ohio river winds “across the Mason and the Dixon lines,” and before I knew it I had the majority of the song written…including the melody even though I didn’t have a guitar with me. I wish every song came to me as easily as that one did. I’m glad you like it.
2) I am a 40-year country radio veteran, and you have been kind enough over the years to grant me a couple of interviews. I know artists get the same questions over and over, but I wonder if there is a question you don’t like to be asked or that you get tired of answering.
The only questions I don’t like to be asked are the ones that the interviewer could have easily looked up before he or she started talking with me. Like, “Where were you born?” or “How did you get started in the music business?” Anybody with a computer or a book about country music could find the answers to those without having to ask me. I’ve been asked a million times how I got the name “Whisperin’ Bill” or which one of my songs is my own personal favorite, but as long as there are people who are interested and don’t know, I’ll gladly tell them. But if you’re going to interview me, do a little bit of homework before we start.
3) Is the Circle Network going to be available in Canada?
Perhaps not at first, but it’s my understanding that after about six months the Circle Network will be available anywhere in the world. It won’t be a traditional broadcast network as such, but folks everywhere will be able to stream it and watch it. I have been told that It is scheduled to launch in the U.S. at 4 a.m. on January 1, 2020. That’s the morning following New Years Eve. I will probably sleep through the first couple of programs!!
4) When you and other country singers have a cruise, do passengers pay extra to go to the shows? I would like to know what a cruise like that is like and would appreciate any information you can provide.
I can only speak for our Country’s Family Reunion cruises, but no, passengers do not have to pay extra to go to our shows. At the same time, they do have to book their cruise through Gabriel Communications and not through the cruise line itself. The tickets might be slightly more expensive, but those passengers receive more for their money as well. They not only get to attend the shows (regular passengers do not), but have access to autograph sessions, late night jam sessions, and all sorts of little extras and perks along the way. A large majority of our passengers are repeat customers, so I assume we must be doing something right or they wouldn’t keep coming back.
I hope we’re doing things right with our newsletters, too, and that you’ll keep coming back month after month with your questions. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to answer as best as I can. See you back here in the New Year!