Behind The Mic with Tim Carter

Tim CarterMost, if not all, bluegrass DJs have a serious, longstanding love of the music they spin on the radio. They’re devoted to the music and the musicians, and sometimes even a certain style of bluegrass. However, for many broadcasters, the listeners come first. Tim “Doc” Carter, the host of The Saturday Morning Bluegrass Show on Morristown, TN’s WMTN, is a firm believer in that.

“I just try to promote the music and the genre,” he says. “It’s not about me, but about providing music to people who want to hear it. I love to introduce folks to music and artists they haven’t heard.”

That’s exactly what Carter has spent his weekends doing for the past six years. In 2008, after many years of loving both radio and bluegrass music, he began assisting on the show he currently hosts, and then in 2011, he began hosting a bluegrass Gospel program on his own. In 2012, he took over as host of The Saturday Morning Bluegrass Show.

However, working in radio wasn’t something Carter had ever planned on, especially bluegrass radio. “I have always enjoyed listening to radio,” he says, “but for many years that was rock-n-roll or country.” Even after his interest in bluegrass was revived, he still wasn’t looking toward radio. But after doing some work as a promoter, he ended up being asked to help out at WMTN. “It has been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done,” Carter says.

Although bluegrass takes up a large portion of Carter’s weekends, during the week you can likely find him at Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN, where he works as an Associate Professor of Marketing and Management. He has also taught at several other colleges and universities in East Tennessee over the past decade, including Milligan College near Johnson City and King University in Bristol.

We recently had the chance to ask Carter about his thoughts on bluegrass music. Here’s what he had to say.

How would you define bluegrass music as a genre?

“I think that ‘bluegrass music’ is, and has to be, the music that Bill Monroe created with that classic band. The elements are there and it all fits. When something is removed, such as the banjo, I can still love the music, and it will still sound very good, but you’re beginning to step away from bluegrass. There are some very good progressive bands who play phenomenal acoustic music, but it’s not what I would call bluegrass.”

What form of bluegrass do you most enjoy?


What artists do you consider examples of the form you most enjoy?

“The Johnson Mountain Boys, Flatt & Scruggs (early recordings), Bluegrass Album Band, Reno & Smiley.”

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Skaggs & Rice.”

What album is currently in your car stereo?

“Kenny Baker – Frost on the Pumpkin.”


Carter welcomes submissions from atists who are interested in airplay consideration. “I prefer a physical copy, only because I get ALL of the information on the liner notes,” he says. “If I get the liner notes, a digital copy (Airplay Direct, for instance) works well for me.”

CDs can be mailed to him at:

PO Box 14
Limestone, TN 37861

If you host a bluegrass radio show and would like to participate in our chart as a weekly reporter, please fill out this form and we’ll get right back to you.

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About the Author

John Curtis Goad

John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, with a Masters degree in both History and Appalachian Studies from ETSU.