Ray Hicks passes

Ray HicksOzarks’ bluegrass DJ and MC Ray Hicks passed away yesterday, Wednesday, January 14, 2015. He was 68 years old.

Born August 11, 1946, from Rolla, Missouri, Hicks was troubled by poor health in his later years, suffering a stroke in the spring of 2011, thus causing him to lose his ability to speak coherently.

He had over 30 years experience as a DJ. At one time he was a part owner of KMOZ-AM/KCLU-FM Rolla, Missouri. Ray came onboard as an investor with the provision that he be allowed to host a bluegrass show. He had initially come to the station as news director, and was so diligent that local newspaper reporters would call Ray to double-check their own stories.

Latterly he was the host of KTTR 99.7 FM’s three-hour show Saturday Morning Bluegrass. He left KCLU after they were purchased by a radio conglomerate that restricted local administration.

As with many bluegrass DJs, Hicks MC-ed at various bluegrass festivals, introducing local, regional and national bands with equal aplomb. He was also a bluegrass picker who played guitar, and is remembered as a pretty good singer.

His talents extended to literary matters; he was the first Editor of the IBMA’s quarterly publication Bluegrass Radio News, founded in 1987, and an editor and contributor to Bluegrass Now.

Also, Hicks was the narrator on the Bluegrass Pickin’ Time: Through All These Years film, the story about the 40 years of the Bluegrass Pickin’ Time festival (Fairview Community Centre, Dixon, Missouri), the oldest and longest running bluegrass festival west of the Mississippi river.

In perhaps his proudest achievement, Ray was among the dozen or so people who got together in 1985 to found the International Bluegrass Music Association. He also served on their board for many years. Until his stroke, you could always count on seeing Hicks at the annual World of Bluegrass convention.

R.I.P., Ray Hicks

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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.