Longtime radio broadcaster and bluegrass fiddler Les Woodie has announced his retirement. After 48 years with WKDE KDCountry in Altavista, VA, Woodie will retire as General Manager on Thursday, November 5.
Prior to beginning his radio career, Woodie worked as a musician, performing with The Stanley Brothers from 1949 to 1951. This was the period when they were recording for Columbia, and he is featured on most of those sides. Les has the distinction of playing fiddle on the original Stanley cut of Man Of Constant Sorrow, a track now firmly etched in the bluegrass cannon.
Woodie was a popular on-air personality on WKDE, an effective salesman, and an affable ambassador for bluegrass music in central Virginia.
The official press release from the station offers a nice thumbnail bio of their beloved head honcho:
Born and reared in Valdese, North Carolina, Les joined the Stanley Brothers (Ralph and Carter) on the popular Farm & Fun Time Jamboree on WCYB Radio in Bristol Tennessee and played live TV in Huntington W.VA. He then went on to be a regular performing member of The Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, LA, before joining the U.S Air Force. While he was in the service he created an armed forces band, working military and civilian venues. He even once made a western movie in Manila, while stationed in the Philippine Islands.
Once discharged, Les came to Lynchburg where he attended college and joined The Bill and Mary Reid Band. Yet again, Les would contribute his remarkable ability on albums they recorded. A first generation Bluegrass Hall of Honor recipient, Les has won numerous awards. Taking home first place prizes in fiddle contest including the North Carolina and Virginia State Fiddling Championships.
The staff and management of KD Country are sad to see our mentor and colleague leave. He has been a valuable member and inspiring adviser for so many of us at the station. We wish him many, many years of time to dedicate to his family (his love) and his music (his passion). We look forward to seeing him up on stage with his current band Westover Junction very soon.
Friends and fans are invited to send along any comments to share with Les to the station at:
200 Frazier Road
Altavista, VA 24517
About the Author (Author Profile)
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.
If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to receive more just like it.