Ernie Thacker gets married on the air

Ernie Thacker’s is a familiar name to bluegrass fans, for the soulful music he’s recorded over the years, the story of his horrifying injuries from an auto accident 7 years ago, and his subsequent and heroic recovery.

In a story sure to cheer the hearts of his many friends and fans, Thacker is set to be married tonight (11/27) to Karen Sanders of Millard, KY. This will be his second marriage; his first wife, Dorothy, passed away in 2012.

Ernie is restricted to a wheelchair, with much of his lower body paralyzed from his injuries, so the notion of an elaborate wedding was quickly rejected. So what would be the best way for Thacker to share his happy day with family, friends, and fans?

The answer was as close as his brother Matthew, with whom Ernie hosts a weekly bluegrass radio program, The Route 23 Radio Show. The brothers live several hundred miles apart, and coordinate each show via phone and online. Couldn’t the wedding be hosted the same way?

So tonight at 10:00 p.m., Matthew says that everyone is invited to join the happy couple and their families as Ernie and Karen tie the knot online.

Matthew and Ernie Thacker“Ernie and I have been doing The Route 23 Radio Show since July of this year on the internet via the Blog Talk Radio format. We host the show via the telephone—me from my home in Perrysburg, Ohio, and Ernie from his home in Clinchco, Virginia—while I engineer the broadcast via BTR’s web site on my computer.

During the ceremony on Wednesday night, Ernie’s son (and Best Man) Keith Thacker will be holding up the speakerphone to the participants, while his daughter Whitley Thacker takes pictures that will be available later that night on the Route 23 Radio Show Facebook page.

They will be married by Ernie’s uncle, Pastor Rodney Perrigan.”

Sounds like appointment online radio! Tune in at 10:00 (EST) at

The Route 23 Radio Show airs every Wednesday evening at 10:00. Matthew says that the show features both music and live guests; sometimes more one, and other times the other.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.