WAMU’s Bluegrass Country in American Magazine

For half a century, Washington, DC’s WAMU has been a staple in bluegrass broadcasting. Fans and professional artists alike tune in daily to get their fix from the 24/7 online bluegrass broadcast outlet.

American Magazine, published by American University (the home of WAMU), recently ran an article by Mike Unger detailing the history of Bluegrass Country, from the earliest days to their current high-tech iteration.

“Like the classic Foggy Mountain Breakdown, the tale of bluegrass on WAMU takes many twists and turns. Unlike the song, the story doesn’t end. As it celebrates its 50th year on FM, broadcasting bluegrass on the Internet, high definition radio, and once again through a frequency modulation signal remains an integral part of WAMU’s mission.”

New program director, Chris Teskey, has high praise for the organization that has brought him onboard:

“When I was in college in the 1970s, I would drive down from Connecticut to visit friends at the University of Maryland. We would listen to WAMU and go to the Birchmere and hear bands like The Seldom Scene and The Country Gentlemen.

When I told my friends in Connecticut last year that I had been offered a job at WAMU’s Bluegrass Country, the response was, ‘That’s the bluegrass radio big time!’

WAMU has left an indelible mark nationally and now internationally on bluegrass music and is the standard for bluegrass music radio programming.”

With the growing popularity of bluegrass music, the need for stations dedicated to broadcasting the music is great. Many will come and go, but WAMU’s Bluegrass Country, along with its beloved hosts, is here to stay.

WAMU broadcaster Ray Davis’ view on bluegrass music is also quoted in Unger’s piece about how many regard the station itself, and why it continues to prosper:

“It tells a story. It’s about life and home and mother and father. It’s different than fads that come and go. It’s here, it’s been here, and I think it will always be here.”

Read Mike Unger’s full article online.

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About the Author

Lee Marcus

Lee Marcus is currently the banjoist for Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa. When not on the road with the band, he spends his time developing a solo artist career. He released his first album, Grandpa's Pond, in September of 2011. Lee is also a well-known and respected banjo tablature transcriber.