Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

WFPL recently had their Spring Radio Days fund drive. A great big THANKS! to all of you who called in and made a pledge. A special big thanks to those of you called in to pledge and support Sunday Bluegrass. You really came through and once again proved that there are a lot of dedicated listeners and bluegrass fans out there who care.

On one or two occasions I have heard some less-than-complimentary (not exactly derogatory, but less-than-complimentary) remarks about public radio. Remarks that made it sound as though it was in the category of "a red-headed stepchild." Let's not write public radio off too lightly. Maybe there are some who think that since public radio doesn't have commercials it can't be very good, that it is run by a bunch of amateurs who can't get a job at a real radio station. BULL FEATHERS.

There are a lot of very professional people in public radio. I am sure there are a lot of people in public radio who are fed up with the holier-than-thou attitudes of many commercial stations across the country. Said stations have decided that you are going to hear what they want you to hear, like what they want you to like and you are not going to have any say about it You, the listener, who public radio wants to attract and hold, have more influence and say-so about what is played and programmed on public radio than anyone else. It is your support as a listener and contributor that keeps public radio going. There are underwriters who are acknowledged and greatly appreciated for their efforts, but other than that it is virtually commercial free.

Public radio can and does provide a variety of programs that the commercial stations will not touch. Commercial stations will not program bluegrass, for example, because they believe there is not an audience for it. Public radio will program it because they know there is. If you are not acquainted with public radio, tune it in (in Louisville, WFPL FM 89.3 FM, WFPK FM 91.9 and WUOL FM 90.5) and give it a chance. You'll find things you had no idea we're on the airway and find out you have a definite influence about what you are going to hear.

April had some good shows at Shepherdsville. The Osborne Brothers and Jim & Jesse were there. I enjoyed seeing them again. Jesse mentioned that they have a couple of new albums, one on Rounder and the other on their own label.

I also had a chance to see and meet the members of Kentucky Blue and Absolute Bluegrass. Kentucky Blue played at a number of the Derby Chow Wagon sites.

Other performances and festivals in the near future include: June 6-9, Festival of the_Bluegrass at the Horse Park, Lexington, Ky; June 13-16, Bean Blossom's 25th Annual Bluegrass Festival with Bill Monroe, of course; June 28-30, Rosine, Ky, the birthplace of Bill Monroe; June 20-23, the Charlotte Bluegrass Festival, Charlotte, Mich.; and July 4-6, Old Joe Clark's Festival at Renfro Valley, Ky. There are many more in reach of Louisville and l will be trying to keep you up on them through the summer, both here and on WFPL.

In announcing festivals on my program I have mentioned some good ones that might be outside our area and have sometimes wondered if anyone noticed or noted them. The last couple of weeks have convinced me I should continue this. People driving through our area have stopped and called for more information. I heard from John Morris of Old Homestead Records the other day. He runs the festival at Charlotte, Mich., which incidentally is one of the best all-around festivals we go to. John called to say someone had called him a night or two before, informing him they had been driving through our area and heard "some bluegrass DJ talking about the Charlotte Festival." There are many more in reach of Louisville and I will be trying to keep you up on them through the summer, both here and on WFPL.

We'll see you on the radio, or you watch for us at a festival. When we find each other, let's be sure and shake and say "Hi."

One of our faithful listeners to Sunday Bluegrass has summed us up sort of this way:

"To me WFPL is: '

W = Wholesome Programming

F = Friendly Folks

P = People Oriented

L = Listeners' Radio

+++ And much more +++

And best of all, Sunday Bluegrass.

The award-winning musical "Big River" will be playing at thee Heritage House on June 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22. The Heritage House is the dinner theater located at Fort Knox. "Big River" is Mark Twain and Roger Miller. It's the Mark Twain "Huckleberry Finn" story and the songs and music of Roger Miller. Dinner is served each evening at 6 and show time is 7:30. Fifteen dollars for dinner and show ain't bad. Reservations can be made by calling Heritage House between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (502) 624-3048.