WVTF’s Back To The Blue Ridge to end after 16 years

Back To The Blue Ridge, a popular bluegrass and old time music program on WVTF in Roanoke, VA, will end production this week after 16 years on the air. The retirement of host Kinney Rorrer is the reason for the program’s demise, and the station and his many fans in southwestern Virginia will celebrate his career with a send off party June 24 at The Floyd Country Store.

The show launched with two hosts, Kinney and Seth Williamson, a fellow roots and acoustic music enthusiast who died tragically in 2011. Both men were also banjo players and their shared passion often informed the show’s content.

Rorrer is a noted folklorist and music historian who taught at Danville Community College for 32 years. He is also the author of Ramblin’ Blues: The Life and Songs of Charlie Poole, a definitive biography of the influential banjo picker. Kinney was also a eager proponent of Poole’s playing, and could be found at festivals performing in that style.

With the end of Back To The Blue Ridge, he can fully retire to enjoy the music he loves and has promoted so well.

His final program will be recorded this weekend, and the show will continue to air Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon until July 8.

Congratulations and a happy retirement to Kinney Rorrer.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • Farmer Don

    Any idea why the show ended? Did Kinney really “retire” or were other forces at work?

    This was one of the best produced bluegrass and country music shows on NPR or anywhere.