WoodSongs Radio Old-Time Radio Hour, the internationally renowned stage-set radio show, celebrates an amazing milestone tonight (1/28), its 700th broadcast.
The 700th show will feature the longtime purveyors, custodians and distillers of a modern big band swing sound Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The show is at its new venue, the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center, in Lexington, KY, starting at 6:45 p.m.
Of more interest to bluegrass enthusiasts will be two of the February shows; the one on February 11: JD Crowe Banjo celebration, and the one on February 25: Bluegrass blowout with IIIrd Time Out.
The idea for WoodSongs was born while presenter Michael Johnathon was listening to the radio during a long drive in the mid-west when on tour 13 years ago. “I remember driving across Iowa that Saturday afternoon”, says Johnathon from his log cabin home outside Lexington. “I was sort of listening to A Prairie Home Companion and he had a Celtic folk band come on I thought, ‘How cool! Wouldn’t it be nice to have a radio show of just the music?’ So I wondered, ‘How hard could it be?’”
Well, he found out. Starting a live audience broadcast isn’t easy.
The project was defined at a cafe along Nicholasville Road, Lexington, a month later. The business model for it would be daring; it would be all volunteer run. The show began taping in a small recording studio that barely sat a dozen people and it went on air with just one college radio station signing on.
The WoodSongs Radio Old-Time Radio Hour is now broadcast on over 500 radio stations worldwide, American Forces Radio Network in 173 nations and every military base and US Naval ship around the globe, coast-to-coast on Public TV stations, the Bluehighways TV Network nationwide and online.
“The Lyric Theatre has an amazing history,” says Johnathon. Among the many acts that have performed there in the past include Ray Charles, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway.
More information about WoodSongs, the 700th broadcast and post-show party, and complete show schedules are online at WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour.
A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.
He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.
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