Luberecki Feels Sirius XM Pinch, Too

Ned LubereckiSirius XM listeners who tune in for Ned Luberecki’s “banjo Sunday” shows will have to rearrange their schedules.

Luberecki lost his Sunday shift on Bluegrass Junction as part of cost-cutting moves, according to sources familiar with the satellite radio giant’s recent decisions. Luberecki’s show Derailed will continue to air on Saturday nights and he will work his usual Saturday shift (banjo Saturday, anyone?).

Word of his reduced workload follows close on the heels of the news that Chris Jones was pulled from his regular weekday shifts, left only with his Saturday shift and his popular Truegrass show.

Jones and Luberecki are contractors, and, thus, more susceptible to the whims of management when it comes to saving money. The changes mean that Sirius XM employees Joey Black and Kyle Cantrell, who is also program director, will provide the only hosted shows on the channel during the week. The sources, who asked not to be identified, stressed that Cantrell was not involved in the cutback decisions.

The music for the unhosted segments will be preprogrammed, prompting some subscribers to complain that could get the same experience playing music on their iPods. Shows on channels for music from the ‘50s and the ‘90s will also be unhosted. The unhosted segments will be programmed by Cantrell, as the overnight shifts are now.

One source, noting that the channels taking the brunt of cuts are popular among older listeners, said with obvious sarcasm, “Apparently, older people don’t need anybody talking to them.”

Sirius XM officials have been asked to comment but have not responded to Bluegrass Today’s requests. Jones and Luberecki aren’t commenting either. (They probably have contract clauses that prevent them from talking to the media without prior approval, a common rider in work-for-hire contracts.)

Jones has made some general comments on his Facebook page. Tuesday night, for example, he wrote: “Simple therapy plan: Read some P.G. Wodehouse tonight, enjoy the unexpected gift of some free time tomorrow and look forward to playing this weekend at Big Sky, Big Grass in Montana with the band.” That band, Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, includes Luberecki on banjo

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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.

  • kenneth schroeder

    What did I write on the Bluegrass Today comments? You insinuated I didn’t know what I was talking about. Guess what, you are just proving my point. I also resent the statement(I hope no yours)”apparently older people don’t need anybody talking to them” That’s total hog wash. Older people do need someone talking to them. God only knows too many have no one talking to them. That was a very condescending thing even to repeat. Mark my words the powers to be are no where near finished.You may be a very gifted writer, editor and what ever else, but I’ll go toe to toe with you on this subject. You may believe I’m some crackpot, but I have been in country and Bluegrass music since I was 6 years old. I believe I know a lot more than you think I do. As you must know I am now 76.
    I do thank you though for allowing me to vent

  • Mark Byrum

    Sorry to hear about the cut-backs. What we need is another “Oh Brother” type movie to raise the general consciousness of Bluegrass and Old Time Music!

  • David Morris

    Hi Kenneth,

    I’m not sure who your above comment is directed at. I’m hoping it’s not me. I expressed an opinion that disagreed with yours, but I didn’t insinuate you didn’t know what you were talking about. I don’t think you’re a crackpot, and I’ll willingly concede that you know more about bluegrass than I do.

    One point, though, I wouldn’t take the comment about “apparently old people don’t need anybody talking to them” too seriously. As I noted, the person who made the comment to me said it “with obvious sarcasm.”

    Thanks for reading, and for caring enough to comment.

  • kenneth schroeder

    I sincerely apologize for my remark about your Thursday column. I have to admit I never realized there was a home page. I have been reading only what comes up on my computer which I assumed was the home page. I AM sorry.

  • kenneth schroeder

    Just to further clear up my comment in reference to older people I think if you read closer that in parenthesis I wrote “I hope it wasn’t you”. Actually I meant to write was” I KNEW it couldn’t be you”, Again I am sincerely sorry for my typo. I do still stand behind the rest of my feelings in this Sirius XM debacle.
    Thank you for all the information you have supplied so far. I would say we all appreciate your continuous coverage of this situation.

  • Jim McKinney

    Heh, heh, heh !

    Hey, Ken ! . . . Good Shot !! . . . Wrong Target !!!

    No Worries, I’m laughin’ because my good pal, Dave, would never say anything to intentionally offend anyone, most especially us ol’ folks because although he’s not quite yet drawin’ Soc. Sec., he’s still not exactly a Spring Chicken his own danged self !!! LOL !!!

  • kenneth schroeder

    Hi David
    Yes it’s me again. This just an observation as to what appears to be the lack of concern and apathy in the hundred thousand or more listeners, broadcasters and entertainers in what I believed to be the “Bluegrass Family”. Where are all these so called loyal people?. I believe this to be a serious attack on not just Bluegrass, but other venues also. Someone wrote earlier that this may turn out to be just another juke box. Who needs that

    Thanks David for your great work on following this.
    Please don’t stop your pursuit of the truth.