HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — He’s the man behind Roy’s Folks.
Producer and photojournalist David Weatherly retired Wednesday after nearly 40 years with WGHP.
“Don’t tell my bosses, but I’ve never worked a day in my life,” said Weatherly, who produced the beloved series with Roy Ackland for 34 years. “It beats working for a living.”
Weatherly’s memorable storytelling has come naturally since starting in radio in his hometown of Hamlet when he was just a teenager. His talent at photography brought him to WGHP in the early 80s, and not long after, Roy Ackland came to Piedmont in 1987. The two set out weaving the fabric of what’s the best of ourselves in the feature series Roy’s Folks.
“Without David Weatherly there would be no Roy’s Folks,” said Ackland, who retired in 2017.
The series, which at one time was syndicated across the state, became an ambassador for the Old North State.
Weatherly won numerous awards over the years, including four Emmys and, on Wednesday, he received North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, for his exemplary service and contributions to the state.
“[Roy’s Folks] did for North Carolina what Charles Kuralt did for the country,” world-acclaimed artist and North Carolina native Bob Timberlake said. “It was even more personal. So much more personal too.”
The two shared what they found on the road with fans through the annual Roy’s Folks Crafts Fair, run by Weatherly for 19 years and benefiting The Salvation Army
But Weatherly’s proudest achievement was being a husband and dad.
“If there is a story to be told, my dad will tell it for sure,” said Weatherly’s son Wade. “He’s a man of faith, loving father, husband and the hardest working person I’ve ever met.”
After Ackland’s retirement in 2017, Chad Tucker continued the series with Weatherly.
“I’ve been honored to work beside him on the series and in the process learned so much in how to be a better journalist, father and friend,” said Tucker, who grew up in Stokes County watching Roy’s Folks. “David truly cares about the people he meets and our world is a better place because of David.”
Tucker and photojournalist Keith Hale will continue the series.
“This wasn’t a job, it really was an adventure,” said Weatherly, who plans to continue storytelling online about one of his favorite places, High Rock Lake. “I’ve been blessed and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
History of WGHP feature segments and David Weatherly
1978 – Started in radio and was a news stringer, shooting film from Richmond, Scotland and Moore counties for Charlotte TV stations.
1980 – Worked at WSOC Charlotte
1981-82 – Started a production company covering racing
1983 – Came to WGHP as a photojournalist and held a number of positions including working on the segment Tarheel Traveler with Don Dahler
1985 – Segment changed name to Positively Piedmont with various reporters and a local columnist
1987 – Roy Ackland came WGHP to do morning weather and Positively Piedmont
1988 – General Manager Dave Boylan came from Cleveland where feature reporter Del Donahoo had the Del’s Folks feature and suggested Positively Piedmont change names to Roy’s Folks
2000 – Weatherly started the Roy’s Folks Crafts Fair as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army
2017 – Roy Ackland retired to eastern NC and reporter Chad Tucker started working with Weatherly.
2021 – Weatherly retires