The Bluegrass Country Foundation has formed to become the new home for the longest operating bluegrass radio station in America. For almost 50 years, Bluegrass Country 105.5FM has broadcast the best in contemporary and traditional bluegrass and old-time music in the nation’s capital. Earlier this summer, owner WAMU FM announced it would sell the station. If a buyer isn’t found it will cease broadcasting on December 31st. Members of the DC music community quickly organized to charter the nonprofit foundation that is now working to raise money to purchase the station’s assets. The fundraising target: $200,000 to continue operations while a new business plan is implemented. A purchase proposal is due to WAMU on October. 17. “Bluegrass Country radio is a jewel in the history of public broadcasting in Washington and in bluegrass music nationally,” said Jeff Ludin, president of the Bluegrass Country Foundation. “We simply cannot let it disappear.” Over the years, the station has broadcast in-studio interviews and performances by such luminaries as Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury, Bela Fleck, Seldom Scene, Rhonda Vincent, Marty Stuart, Tim O’Brien, and Claire Lynch. Its drive-time shows have been a staple for commuters who enjoy the soulful sounds of bluegrass – a unique American art form that combines blues, jazz and Appalachian string band music. The foundation is currently developing a business plan to find efficiencies, drive revenues and introduce new programming to strengthen the station and achieve self-sufficiency. It is also looking at ways to boost Bluegrass Country’s footprint on both terrestrial radio in Washington, DC and online streaming. The public is encouraged to donate generously to the effort. All donations will be tax deductible and can be made here.
This Coming Saturday, Marty Stuart Will Be Honored When The Grand Ole Opry Celebrates His 20 Years As A Member! If you want to get Marty Stuart a present for his anniversary of being an Opry Member, get China. A celebration will take place December 8 in honor of his 20 years! There will be performances by his wife, Connie Smith, Charley Pride, Old Crow Medicine Show and Brandy Clark. Phyliss J. Anderson, Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will also appear with Stuart, as well as two Choctaw dancers. Everything will take place at the historic Ryman Auditorium where Stuart made his debut alongside Lester Flatt in September 1972 at age 13. “Marty has won the love and respect of all of us at the Grand Ole Opry as well as friends and fans around the world,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. “Like the Grand Ole Opry itself, Marty celebrates and showcases all the styles under the country music umbrella. He has the utmost respect for our musical heritage while also working tirelessly to ensure country music’s future growth. We’re excited to celebrate his Opry anniversary at the Ryman, the stage on which his Opry career began when he was just a teenager.” Congrats to another of country music’s legends!