Many knew William “Doug” Holderfield as the “Voice of the Elba Tigers,” but those who worked for him at two local radio stations knew him as an encouraging mentor.
Holderfield, who owned WELB 1350 AM for almost 40 years and WZTZ/WVVL 101.1 FM (Weevil 101) for another 31, passed away Saturday at the age of 80. His legacy includes a passion for professionalism, perfection and the communities his radio stations served.
He also had a knack for taking chances on talent and molding them, those he employed said.
“At 15, he gave me my chance to live my dream, and that was to work in radio,” said Derek Snellgrove, who worked for Holderfield for 18 years before purchasing WELB in 2008.”He was constantly teaching you. He was a stickler for grammar. He was a stickler for professionalism. He wanted you to be the best you could be.”
“He was a great guy, always willing to give people a chance,” added Stephen Adcock, who worked part-time for Holderfield for 14 years. “He was always really encouraging.”
Snellgrove said Holdefield moved to Elba from the Fort Payne area when he and a partner purchased WELB in 1969. After the Federal Communications Commission began to issue radio licenses more frequently in the mid-1980s, Holdefield launched WZTZ in 1986.
WZTZ became WVVL when it relocated to downtown Enterprise in 2006. Two things never changed with Holderfield throughout his career, though: he remained committed to country music and his communities.
“It’s like the old song, ‘I was Country Before Country was Cool.” That was Doug Holderfield,” Snellgrove said. “He always talked about classic country, which is what Weevil 101 uses now. He always said there was a hole in the market when it comes to classic country.”
That commitment also applied to Coffee County communities. Snellgrove said Holderfield gave…