Bluegrass Bits

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.

I have heard some less than complimentary (not exactly derogatory but less than complimentary) remarks about public radio. Some 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.


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 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 were 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 of 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 will be playing at a number of the Derby Chow Wagon sites. They will also be playing for their sponsor, Purnell's "Old Folks" Sausage Co., on May 11 at 2:00 p.m. at the Old Time Country and Bluegrass Music Contest and Bluegrass Festival at Simpsonville.

Other performances and festivals in the near future include: May 4, Kentucky Bluegrass Band and Jim Simpson at Caneyville Elementary School; May 17, Gary Brewer and Paul Adkins at Shepherdsville; June 6 – 9, Festival of the Bluegrass at the Horse Park, Lexington; June 28 – 30, Rosine, Ky, the birth place of Bill Monroe; and June 20 – 23, the Charlotte Bluegrass Festival, Charlotte, MI. 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 watch for you at a festival. You do the same and when we find each other, let's be sure and shake and say 'Hi.'