This weekend will mark the 500th episode of Music From Foggy Hollow, hosted by Australia’s Mike Kear on WAMU’s Bluegrass Country.
That’s quite an accomplishment in any medium, even more so in a niche market like bluegrass, and yet even more still outside the US. Way to go, Mike!
WAMU is also celebrating an anniversary, marking 45 years playing bluegrass on the radio this summer.
Kear says that what started as an experiment for the station has turned into a long run thing.
“I was asked about 10 years ago to produce a show for them for 3 months, but after the first month, they asked me to continue on an ongoing basis, and the show is still going strong there.
The show I produce and present is a bluegrass ‘new releases’ show on Sydney’s Hawkesbury Radio 89.9FM, and then repackaged to 3 hours and sent it to Washington, DC to be broadcast 5 times a week on WAMU’s HD radio in Washington DC, 2 FM frequencies, the world’s most listened-to online bluegrass station bluegrasscountry.org, and even an iPhone app!
Every week, I play as many new releases as I can fit, and talk about the new music in our genre, and the people behind it. I have input from all over the world too. For nearly 10 years I had a weekly segment in Portuguese from Erio Meili in Brazil, and after he tragically died just on a year ago, I asked Angelika Torrie in Switzerland to give us a weekly summary of what’s going on in bluegrass in Europe.”
Mike tells us that he especially enjoys interacting with the people that follow the show, and encourages them to contact him by email.
“A listener wrote once and said he was from Rabbit Hash, KY. Feeling a bit mischievous at the time, when I read the email on air, I said, ‘you think just because I’m an Aussie I don’t know anything. There’s no such place as Rabbit Hash. No one would name a town Rabbit Hash. It’s not April Fools Day!!’
Next thing I had listeners trying to convince me that indeed there WAS such a place. They sent me maps, photos of themselves outside the Rabbit Hash General Store, pointed me to web sites – it went on for weeks. It was a lot of fun. And all the time I was kidding along that there was no such place and they were trying to make a fool of me.
The more I said I wasn’t going to be taken in by them, the more the listeners tried to convince me that Rabbit Hash did indeed exist. I looked up some of the web sites they sent me to and I learned that Rabbit Hash, KY was a tiny little town that voted for a hound dog as mayor because they didn’t want a politician! And they had a bluegrass jam session in the general store on Sunday afternoons.
That’s MY KIND of town, and it’s on my bucket list to go there one day and hopefully join in the jam session, if it’s still going.