In a Friday press release following the termination of original host and program coordinator, Tim White, Lincoln Theatre Executive Director Kristin W. Untiedt-Barnett announced the hiatus, and the formation of an Ad Hoc Reorganization Committee to assist with a planned restructuring and eventual return to the air.
Plans are to continue work on programs which have already been shot, to ensure that they are edited and made available for distribution, but that a period of six months will be required to create the new partnerships, and secure the additional funding necessary to keep Song Of The Mountains on the air.
Dr. T. Edward Damer, President of the Lincoln Theatre Board, emphasized that they receive no funding from PBS, and that presenting station UNCTV covers less than 5% of the production budget.
“Millions of people across America are familiar with the Song of the Mountains program, however, what very few people know is that The Lincoln Theatre, a small non-profit organization, holds all financial responsibility for the program. While Song of the Mountains supporters, including sponsors, performers, and audiences, have been very generous over the years, the Lincoln Theatre has found it increasingly more difficult to bear the financial burden of producing the show.”
The Board hopes to unveil its reorganization plans by November, and Untiedt-Barnett is confident that they can save the show.
“The music industry has changed significantly in the past 10 years, and the Board believes that the reorganization plan will benefit the future of the program, and the future of the organization as a whole.”
The town of Marion, VA, where the Theatre is located, are also strong supporters of the show, and provide such funding as is at their disposal. The Bank of Marion and the Ellis Family Foundation are also strong financial backers.
Song Of The Mountains reaches a potential audience of over 80 million people through its PBS syndicators, and has a loyal audience who enjoy the live bluegrass performances by both established and up-and-coming artists.
Let’s wish them luck with the reorganization so we don’t lose another outlet for bluegrass fans across the US.