Gary Henderson to Bell Buckle Radio

Retirement became hiatus as Gary Henderson, who recently vacated his positions with the Bluegrass Country Foundation at the end of May, has been lured back onto radio, this time at the central Tennessee-based Bell Buckle Radio.

Henderson soon realised that quitting permanently wasn’t an option …

“I knew I could not remove myself from radio for long, realizing I still had a few more productive years left, so I have signed on to produce a two-hour Gospel program, More Good Gospel on Sunday morning, and another two-hour show, More Good Music on Mighty Mossy Monday, where I spin older traditional bluegrass and country music from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.”

Bell Buckle Radio’s owner Valerie Smith recalls …. 

“I have known and admired Gary Henderson’s work as a bluegrass DJ for many years. Thousands of people (including myself) have listened to his shows throughout the decades since he first came on the air. He is truly a well-experienced and highly-respected radio personality who really knows both his music and his listeners. 

One evening not so long ago Gary called me and asked about Bell Buckle Radio. We hit it off immediately! We both understood that a 24-hour online radio station has its advantages in that the format and time leave room for a wide variety of programming and scheduling flexibility. The most important thing that we agreed upon was to ‘keep it fun!’ 

Needless to say, I immediately took him up on the offer to add his both of his shows More Good Gospel and More Good Music to the regular line-up at Valerie Smith’s Bell Buckle Radio.”

Gary’s More Good Gospel can be heard Sundays at 11:00 a.m. (Central), and More Good Music on Mondays at 11:00 a.m. (Central) on

Henderson has been involved with radio all his working life, having decided at the age of 10 that that was his ambition. 

His first job was at Radio WFMD, a station based in Frederick, Maryland, that he joined in 1962. After that he worked at the commercial country music radio station WKCW in Warrenton, Virginia, and at WHFS in Bethesda, Maryland.

He is best known for his very long association with WAMU-FM, beginning in July 1967 and continuing through to this summer (2018). His Saturday morning show on the station a few years later introduced bluegrass music to a host of new fans, quickly becoming the station’s most listened-to program, and helped to seal Washington, DC’s status as capital of the bluegrass world. In 1974, he inaugurated the gospel show Stained Glass Bluegrass, which is still heard over Bluegrass Country Radio and has been in constant production for nearly 44 years. 

Henderson has been recognized as one of the industry’s most influential professionals. He was named 1983 DJ of the Year by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA), and 1999 Broadcast Personality of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). 

In 1998 he was presented with the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award and in 2006 he was a nominee for the IBMA Hall of Honor, as the Hall of Fame was known at the time.

Bell Buckle Radio was launched by Valerie Smith, an award-winning entertainer, recording artist, song-writer, producer, educator and radio programmer, in June 2017. 

Smith began performing at the age of 11, continued while at high school and on after graduating from Missouri’s Conservatory of Music in 1989.

In 1997 she made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, as a guest of Charlie Louvin, recorded her first album, Patchwork Heart (produced by Alan O’Bryant, and released on her own Bell Buckle label), and the following year formed her band, Liberty Pike, named after the road that leads due north out of the town of Bell Buckle. Smith has released seven CDs since then. 

Henderson joins an already-strong team of presenters, including Bill Foster, Cindy Baucom, Lisa Kay Howard-Hughes, Jay Armsworthy, Bob Mitchell, and others in addition to Valerie Smith. 

Bell Buckle Radio is an Internet-only radio station broadcasting from historical Bell Buckle, Tennessee. The 24/7 station offers a wide range of music such as bluegrass, classic country, folk, gospel and Americana. 

It is hosted on Live365, the internet radio broadcasting and listening network. It is available to listeners in USA and Canada. 

Henderson’s More Good Gospel can be heard on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (central time) while More Good Music is transmitted each Monday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (central time). 

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. 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.