Jason:
Hey, how you doing, my brother?

 

Al:
I'm good man.

 

Jason:
Thank you for your time for this interview. Let me get my notes together right quick. Okay, so I just wanted to start with asking you to give the people a little bit of your background and

 

Al:
Okay, you said a little bit of my background?

 

Jason:
Yes.

 

Al:

Okay, all right. Well, currently I'm the host of the syndicated Al Rucker show. We're in 62+ markets in the United States and we're in two international markets currently right now. So we're a syndicated show. We air Monday through Friday, 2:00-6:00 Central Standard Time in multiple markets. Our biggest market is the Bible Belt and the East Coast and up north in the Midwest, so we're proud of that. I also have a new syndicated television show coming out on Comcast that starts in January 3rd, it's called Al Rucker Show Uncut, which is the version of the radio show that is the uncut version, giving us the ability to talk about things and use language that we cannot use on traditional radio. I bring in different hosts, different guests on a week to week basis and we're going to be unapologetic and talk about everything that we possibly can. So I'm proud of that. So we have a lot of things going on, that's two of the biggest things.

 

Al:

I also have the Al Rucker Foundation that is built around giving black and brown kids scholarships to attend HBCUs, so I have multiple businesses in the Houston area where I reside. So we have a lot going on.

 

Jason:
One of your businesses  Cigars and Art Gallery. Can you talk to us a little bit about the experience that the patrons get when they visit that establishment?

 

Al:
Yeah. So Dolce has become a big staple. We have traditional food, we have a very good chef and we also offer an atmosphere where people can come, relax, have a great time, eat good food, great music. I collect African art, so a lot of my pieces that I collect are actually in the venue that is for sale. I'm a connoisseur for cigars. So we entertain the gentlemen. We have a huge patio that wraps around the venue. Gentlemen can come in and buy cigars. I travel the world a lot, so I get a lot of cigars imported from different parts of the world that we carry inside the lounge and give those guys the experience. Cohibas, Monte Cristos, whatever you can name, nine times out of ten we have it at our venue and the gentlemen get the opportunity to smoke those on our patio. Along with Dolce, I have a men's grooming boutique called Hattitude. We specialize in fedoras, all kinds of hats, baseball caps it's for the fashionable man. We have clothes, shoes, we have all kinds of stuff like that.

 

Al:
And being a boutique, it's a men's boutique. It's not the traditional stuff that you can go inside Macy's or Sachs and find. These are pieces that you're not going to find in your typical store. So I'm very proud of that.

 

Jason:
I think that's amazing. Where did you get this business acumen from? Is it a product of a higher learning institution? Is it genetic? Where did you get to hone your skill?

 

Al:
I'm a proud graduate of FSU, Florida State University, and U of H, but I've always wanted to work for myself. Even when I was younger, there were two things I knew I was going to do. I was going to be a businessman or I was going to be an athlete. It was going to be one of the two. So I ran professional track overseas for several years and after that was all said and done, I decided to jump into the entrepreneurship world after working for corporate America for a few years. And I saw how much money I made corporate America and I was like "man, as much money as I'm making, I'm only getting a fraction of what I make them." And you're talking about making corporate America millions and millions of dollars a month. And I had a very good salary, but I did not want to be limited to what I can make. And I wanted to make that millions and millions of dollars that I was making the corporations.

 

Al:
And 20 years ago I decided to jump out there on my own and I've been very successful at it ever since.

 

Jason:
I can agree with you on that. Speaking of limitations, what do you feel the limitations or things you can't talk about on your current platform that made you feel like let's go to the next step and start the Al Rucker? What were some of the things that you couldn't tap into that you feel are necessary for the people to hear?

 

Al:
Well, I love being on the radio and I love having the ability to talk to millions of people weekly being on the radio. So I can delivery information, keep people updated on sports, entertainment, politics. But I also wanted to venture out and have a more intimate setting where I can talk about radio, bring on those guests that most people don't bring on the radio. For instance, on December 6th, we are shooting our first pilot for the Al Rucker Show Uncut which will air in January. My first two guests are J Anthony Brown and the Cussing Pastor. And the Cussing Pastor, as we all know, became a social media guy to where he's the actual pastor, but he cusses a lot. It's very untraditional. You're not going to hear this guy do radio interviews and he's being himself. He's been a guest on my radio show numerous times. And him coming on there and talking about his beef with different celebrities, you didn't get the real him because he's not allowed to use the profanity as he would on social media.

 

Al:
So it sparked something and I said "what if I took the radio and brought it to television, and brought it to cable television and just be uncut where you can get the audience engaged into it. You get those guests who are unfiltered and the whole nine yards." And I took it to a network and they said "great idea." And here we go.

 

Jason:
I think that's dope. Speaking of those kinds of platforms that you provide, you also have a segment where you allow up and coming talent to showcase themselves on the radio. Tell us about the importance of being a vessel for bringing attention to those who may be underrated or under-publicized.

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