After announcing plans last summer to sell or shutter their “Bluegrass Country” service, American University’s 88.5 WAMU Washington DC has announced it has reached agreement to sell it to the Bluegrass Country Foundation.
The station will continue to be heard on WAMU-HD2 and 105.5 W288BS Reston VA, which is owned by by communications attorney John Garziglia’s Reston Translator LLC. The new foundation led by president Jeff Ludin will assume operations on February 6.
Hosts Katy Daley, Rosemarie Nielsen, Jay Bruder and Bill Foster will exit with the transfer, while Dick Spottswood, Lee Michael Demsey, Al Steiner, Lisa K. Howard will remain. The foundation, which was created to acquire the Bluegrass Country service, intends to increase the amount of Americana and roots music on the station as well.
WAMU 88-5 and the Bluegrass Country Foundation are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement to continue operation of Bluegrass Country on 105-5FM, WAMU 88-5 HD 2 and streaming at bluegrasscountry.org.
Starting February 6, 2017, the Bluegrass Country Foundation will take over the responsibility for the operation and funding of the service. Listeners can expect the same mix of bluegrass, Americana, and roots music from their favorite hosts as well as new offerings in the near future. Under the agreement, the foundation will broadcast under WAMU’s FCC license.
“We all had the same desire which was to have the WAMU Bluegrass legacy continue,” said WAMU General Manager JJ Yore. “With a mutual goal in mind, we worked quickly and collaboratively so there would be no loss of service for our bluegrass community”.
Bluegrass debuted on WAMU in 1967 offering the community a nearly 50-year tradition of this uniquely American art form. But during the last 20 years, the demographics of WAMU’s listeners changed and WAMU management made the decision to focus the station’s financial resources and creative energy on news and information.
A search was conducted to find an organization that had the means to support the service and we are pleased to announce that the Bluegrass Country Foundation will take over the service on Monday, February 6th. The Foundation was established to seek financing to continue bluegrass, Americana and roots music in the tradition of WAMU’s Bluegrass Country.
Listeners will continue to enjoy programming from Gary Henderson who will host “Stained Glass Bluegrass”, Dick Spottswood, Lee Michael Demsey, Al Steiner, Lisa K. Howard and others. The new service will welcome back familiar past hosts and shows like Chris Teskey and e-Town while bidding farewell to Katy Daley, Rosemarie Nielsen, Jay Bruder and Bill Foster who plan to support bluegrass in other ways. With a few exceptions, the nearly 50 years of bluegrass programming heard on WAMU will be available for their use.
“We are proud to become the stewards of such an important resource and we look forward to bringing bluegrass and related roots music to a new generation of listeners,” said Jeff Ludin, president of the nonprofit Bluegrass Country Foundation. “We thank WAMU management for its support and creative thinking to help us achieve what few thought was possible.”
WAMU 88.5 is licensed to American University and began broadcasting in 1961. It is the leading public radio station for NPR news and information in the greater Washington, D.C., area. In addition to its flagship frequency, WAMU 88.5 operates WAMU’s Bluegrass Country, 88.3 Ocean City, 89.5 Fredericksburg, and the digital platforms Bandwidth.fm and wamu.org.