Chris Jones cutback at Bluegrass Junction

Chris JonesChanges at Sirius-XM will severely cut popular disc jockey Chris Jones’ air time on Bluegrass Junction, Channel 61.

Jones announced “with some sadness” on Facebook that it would be his last weekday show. “Because of changes there, my schedule will now be reduced to Saturdays only, plus my ‘Truegrass’ show,” he wrote. “I’m not at liberty to elaborate on the reasons or circumstances, what little I know.”

Jones has been on the air at Sirius-XM for more than 12 years, outlasting managers and owners who nurtured the channel and those who downplayed it. Subscriptions have been up, along with the company’s stock price, so the move comes as something as a surprise.

Sources familiar with the changes say Sirius-XM employees Kyle Cantrell and Joey Black were apparently not affected by the shakeup. Ned Luberecki will continue to host Derailed. It wasn’t immediately known how the changes would affect the rest of his schedule.

The changes won’t affect the channel’s schedule of bluegrass music but no hires are expected. So you can still count on hearing music when Jones would usually be on the air, but without the banter and background discussions that have helped make the channel a must-listen destination for many bluegrassers.

Jones and Luberecki, who play together in Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, could not be reached for comment. We’re reaching out to Sirius-XM brass for comment as well, and will post an update when we learn more.

Sirius XM Holdings Inc. is scheduled to announce its fourth-quarter 2013 earnings before Tuesday morning’s opening bell of the stock market. The company is controlled by Liberty Media, which owns about 53 percent of Sirius stock and is in talks to acquire the rest.

There is no direct evidence that the cuts at Bluegrass Junction are in any way related to the business developments, but the timing is curious to say the least.

Editor’s Note: Jones was on the air this morning (2/4), filling in for Kyle Cantrell, who is ill.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.

  • Dick Bowden

    While I consider this very bad news, it’s a good article and I hope you pursue Sirius/XM and demand a statement on the record.

    Chris will land on his feet I’m sure. Best wishes to him. I always felt he was the best DJ on Sirius/XM bluegrass. No slight to Ned intended. The other two? Meh…

    • Shannon Dean

      I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Bowden’s statement. Although he probably couldn’t possibly do any more on air at Bluegrass Junction, if anything they should have INCREASED his role. The track by track show would be so much better if Chris hosted it rather than Kyle Cantrell. Like Dick said, Chris and Ned are excellent. The other two? Meh. . .

    • Pickers Corner

      Always enjoy hearing Chris’s deep mellow voice and appreciate his knowledge of the Bluegrass genre. I’m glad Ned is still there for Derailed and Banjo Sunday. Joey and Kyle are good, but Chris and Ned are out there performing and, like myself, that adds credibility to being a DJ.

  • Alisha-Bear

    Certainly a dissppointment. Bluegrass Junction simply won’t be the same without his daily appearance. Whatever the reason, I believe this was a bad move on Sirius/XM’s part; he will be missed, to say the least. Best of luck to him, as always. Just, please, don’t cut his columns back! 🙂

  • Elizabeth Loring

    Incredibly disappointing move by SiriusXM. I first subscribed in 2003 just to hear hear Chris’ shows–he is a first-rate broadcaster who deserves a national audience. I will be calling SiriusXM this week to let them know what a bad move this is by canceling my subscription.

  • kenneth schroeder

    This is the most ludicrous move Sirius XM could have made. I agree 100% with Elizabeth and will be doing exactly as she is. I wait to listen to Chris’s broadcasts daily and especially Friday’s classic Bluegrass section. His knowledge and input is unsurpassed. This is truly disappointing. Anyone who feels the same should make it known to the morons at Sirius XM that they have made a big mistake. Watch out Kyle,Ned,and Joey,you may be next.