While many bluegrass DJs are known only to a small corner of the world, others have become stars in their own right. One of the best known voices to fans of bluegrass music is that of Cindy Baucom. As the host of the nationally syndicated Knee-Deep in Bluegrass, Baucom can be heard each week from coast to coast on 80 terrestrial stations as well as seven different online channels. Her radio work has also led her to frequent MC gigs, particularly in her native North Carolina, as well as a seat on the IBMA Board of Directors, where she currently serves as Vice-Chair.
Baucom has been “knee deep” in radio for the past three decades. She says that she’s always been passionate about bluegrass and wanted to share the music with as many people as possible, but her interest in radio was first sparked by a school career fair when she was 12 years old. The fair had a broadcasting booth, and according to Baucom, that’s where she chose to visit. “I knew the radio would give me a chance to share music with a lot of people listening,” she says. “A few years later, I had the opportunity to start producing and hosting the bluegrass show on my hometown radio station, and it grew from there.”
That station was WKSK in West Jefferson, NC. She also spent time at WKBC in North Wilkesboro and WFMX in Statesville before entering syndication with the John Boy and Billy Radio Network. Since then, Baucom has been named the 2005 IBMA Broadcaster of the Year and in 2012, was inducted in the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame. She has helped produce the IBMA awards show and was also the producer for her husband Terry Baucom’s two recent solo albums.
While it may seem like Baucom is a busy woman, she enjoys all of her various activities to the fullest. “I truly appreciate the opportunity to put together and distribute a show each week that I think will be entertaining, educational, and show enough variety within the format of bluegrass that there will be something for everybody that tunes in,” she says. “I also really enjoy getting to serve as MC at some of my favorite music festivals annually.” However, for her, the best part is the people. “The friends I have made in this industry over the years and the relationships I have maintained throughout a 30+ year career in broadcasting is the most rewarding element of all.”
Baucom recently took the time to fill us in on some of her personal thoughts about bluegrass music. Here’s what she had to say.
How would you define bluegrass music as a genre?
“To me, bluegrass music is a style that basically consists of banjo, guitar, fiddle, bass, mandolin and dobro and sometimes other instruments, with vocals that pay close attention to tight harmonies. The genre as a whole continues to evolve and expand and I think that is what will keep it strong, healthy, and growing.”
What form of bluegrass do you most enjoy?
What artists do you consider examples of the form you most enjoy?
“The Travelin’ McCourys, Blue Highway, Steep Canyon Rangers, Dailey & Vincent, The Boxcars, Balsam Range, IIIrd Tyme Out, Seldom Scene… the list would be about a mile long!”
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
“Rock My Soul by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. Listening to this album for me is like being in church. The album really set the bar high for bluegrass Gospel. The material is stellar, the arrangements were ground-breaking, the performances top-notch… and that bass singer/banjo player had me from the first note!”
What album is currently in your car stereo?
“Five by Balsam Range.”
Artists who are interested in submitting their music to Baucom for airplay consideration are welcome to send it to her in a variety of formats. “Physical copies are welcome and downloads are not a problem either,” she says. “Any way a band can share their music with me, I welcome it!” Those who would prefer to send her a CD can mail it to her at:
Knee-Deep in Bluegrass
801 Wood Ridge Center Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28217
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