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Bluegrass Goes Out to Digital Pasture

Public radio station WAMU will announce today that it is dropping all of its bluegrass programming, marking the end of an era in Washington radio and perhaps the ripening of a new technology in radio.

WAMU, which once broadcast more than 20 hours a week of bluegrass and other acoustic American music, has slowly chipped away at that programming over the years, in favor of adding more National Public Radio news and talk shows. As of Sept. 17, the station will devote all of its on-air time on 88.5 FM to news and talk, but will provide a separate, 24-hour bluegrass service on one of its digital radio channels, available only to listeners who buy one of the new digital or HD radios.

The station has had an online-only, 24-hour bluegrass service going for six years at, but the on-air audience for its music programs is much larger than the Internet offering has won. The new, digital channel will be a much more ambitious undertaking, with live, hosted programming at least eight hours each day--a $400,000 commitment by WAMU that shows the station's belief that HD Radio will eventually catch on in a big way. (I'll have much more on HD Radio and WAMU's move in my next Listener column, in Style & Arts on Sunday, Sept. 16.)

The immediate impact of this move on WAMU's schedule will be to give news-hungry listeners more of the NPR programming that is available in other cities around the country, but not in Washington. Michele Martin's new Tell Me More, a daily NPR newsmagazine focusing on "multicultural America" will air weekdays at 2 p.m. and WAMU will expand its broadcast of All Things Considered to stretch from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.

Most of the changes in the schedule will take place on Sundays--formerly WAMU's bluegrass day--when the station will add Bob Edwards Weekend, a selection of interviews and reports culled from the former NPR star's program on XM Satellite Radio; "The State We're In," a series on human rights co-produced by Radio Netherlands and WAMU; and "Interfaith Voices," a Washington-based program featuring interviews and stories about religion and public policy.

This month's moves will cement the identity of WAMU as an all-news and talk station, a growing trend in public radio, as stations drop classical, jazz and other minority music programming to chase the larger and more generous audiences that generally gather around NPR news and talk shows.

But HD radio, if it wins wider acceptance, will provide those public stations with a way to reach the smaller but often highly devoted audiences for the kinds of music that do not exist on commercial radio. More on that in the next Listener column.

By Marc Fisher |  September 2, 2007; 12:19 PM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Is anyone surprised by this? I'm just glad that they stuck with bluegrass as long as they did.

I learned to love bluegrass music listening to in on WAMU. Their DJ's had such a love of the music that it was contagious. It's been replaced by inane entertainment like "Wait, wait, don't tell me," but if that's what people want to hear then I can understand why WAMU has gone in this direction, and maybe HD radio will allow them to have their cake and eat it too.

But Mark, is there anyplace left on the radio -- even the satellite radio -- where you can hear men like Red Shipley or Jerry Washington who love the music and have a story to tell?

At least, there's still "Hot Jazz Saturday Night."

Posted by: KK | September 2, 2007 1:19 PM

Isn't part of the purpose of public radio to provide access to music that the rest won't play in order to broaden horizons? Just as I love that public radio can keep jazz afloat, so too I loved that it helped keep bluegrass afloat. The 17th will be a sad day.

Posted by: SAB | September 2, 2007 1:36 PM

Bluegrass has certainly been WAMU's historic hallmark; however, if I am understanding Marc correctly, we will also be losing programming of big band/jazz (Hot Jazz Sat night), folk (Traditions, just moved from WETA) and american roots music (American Routes) just to name a few. I am surprised that WAMU has not learned from WETA's mistake in going to all-news . . .

Posted by: Kate | September 2, 2007 3:11 PM

As Marc suggests, there is hope in the new HD radio technology, which he says he will talk more about Sept 17. There is some question as to whether HD radio will be viable in the long term. Regarding HD, there some concern as to how elaborate an antenna one needs. It is, shall we say, an emerging technology. I hope Marc comments on this aspect. Good luck WAMU, HD, and bluegrass!

Posted by: Karl | September 2, 2007 4:08 PM

I can't wait to cruise down the highway listening to Bluegrass on that pristine-sounding HD radio.

Oh. Hold on. I guess I'll have to wait until auto makers have enough faith in HD to put HD receivers in cars.

I'll miss hearing re-broadcasts of WTMD radio from Baltimore's Goucher College on WAMU HD. Oh, you didn't tune into WAMU HD to hear WTMD? Truthfully, neither did I. Nobody did.

WAMU HD will gain listeners when all US radio broadcasting goes digital. This move is just a cynical continuation of the Great Bluegrass Purge.

Posted by: Mike Licht | September 2, 2007 6:59 PM

Flash - WTMD is still in DC on WAMU 88.5-2. Bluegrass will be on the other sideband, WAMU 88.5-3. Be sure to set the preset buttons on your HD car radio . . . .

Posted by: Mike Licht | September 2, 2007 7:06 PM

NOOooooooOOO!! I don't particularly care for bluegrass, but why, why must public radio stations continue this race for the biggest possible audience?? Part of the reason for having public radio is to keep outside voices alive. I'm sorry to see WAMU go this way.

Posted by: h3 | September 2, 2007 8:48 PM

Count me in as one of the many listeners who are glad they finally made this choice.

Posted by: John | September 2, 2007 9:35 PM

Boooooooooo! Do that many people really like talk radio? I mean, I guess so, but all this means to me is that I'll never listen to WAMU again. (Ok, maybe Kojo every now and then.) Like the commenter above, I learned to love bluegrass listening to WAMU, and I loved the distinctiveness it brought to the DC airwaves.

NPR talk programming is like McDonalds -- comfortingly bland and the same no matter where you go.

Posted by: JJO | September 2, 2007 10:45 PM

WAMU Jumped the shark when they started tinkering with their programming the last couple years. It coincided with NPR dropping Bob Edwards from Morning Edition. I stopped contributing to them and immediately bought XM so that I could listen to Bob over there. I mean, WAMU should've kept Bob on the air...just like they did with Kojo when Public Interest lost it's nationwide syndication. Instead, we get to listen to that 'Debbie Downer' every Friday - i.e. Jonetta Rose Barris. She's good at finding problems in DC. How about some solutions, Jonetta?

For those that want Jazz and the Pacifica Public Radio content...check out WPFW on 89.3. They have lots of jazz and a fair bit of 'world' music. I've almost checked out of WAMU.

They got rid of Whad'Ya Know...about the same time that NPR decided that they didn't need to broadcast it live. Instead, we get The Splendid Table nonsense. A food show on the radio?!

It also seemed that someone decided that All Things Considered could start at 5 pm instead of 4 pm, thus missing many people on their commutes home. Glad to see that they are now moving ATC back to 4.

In closing, I think that Joan Kroc's big donation to NPR has negatively affected WAMU. They should have stuck up for Bob Edwards!

Posted by: WAMU Jumped the shark | September 2, 2007 10:46 PM

Truely a sad day for sure. But, i guess its the advert dollars in the end and in the end bluegrass just isnt bring in the money anymore.

I am skeptical that talk radio is either. I mean, who listens to that talk-radio blather anyway. ITs booooooring.

Posted by: kme | September 2, 2007 11:12 PM

WAMU really got me hooked on listening to bluegrass music (thanks mainly to Red Shipley) and my watch practically counts down to Sunday just so I can enjoy a beautiful day outside listening to good 'train' songs and wake up to 'bluegrass overnight' in the morning.

I'm an annual supporter of WAMU and I will continue to be but I really do hate to be forced to buy what I believe to be unnecessary technology (especially by public radio) just to enjoy quality programming.

Where will I get my bluegrass now?

Posted by: Ron | September 3, 2007 12:07 AM

Where will I get my bluegrass now?

Posted by: Ron | September 3, 2007 12:07 AM


I found that I can buy a lot of bluegrass music for the money that I used to donate to WAMU. What I can't buy, though, is access to Red Shipley. Worse, still, is losing Rob Bamberger.

"All in all it seems as though you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."

Posted by: KK | September 3, 2007 7:15 AM

I always thought public TV and radio were places we could find original programs not found anywhere else irregardless of their commercial success. However, we listen to bluegrass on XM radio. We are sorry that free bluegrass is gone, but XM plays it 24 hours, commercial free. No pledge week, no talk radio in the middle, all bluegrass, all the time.

Posted by: DT | September 3, 2007 7:53 AM

Caryn Mathes' (general manager of WAMU) "Message to our Listeners" states that the station is giving away 1,000 HD radios to donors who gave during the bluegrass programming in the October 2006 or February 2007 pledge drives. I'm sure the free HD radio will be a tabletop model, but there are automotive versions available as well.

Posted by: Crescent | September 3, 2007 8:18 AM

I went to AU, I gave to WAMU for years and I haven't given them a penny since they suddenly took Jerry Gray off Saturday afternoons some 5 years ago.

The WAMU tagline used to be "Music in the American tradition," but I honestly believe that WAMU management has been ashamed of bluegrass and country music for years now. Those were the musical genres that built the station into a unique powerhouse in public broadcasting, but they were just too "down market" for DC audiences, which now seem to define entertainment as endless blather about politics, multicultural issues and other oh-so-enlightened topics.

Prediction: Management will support this HD fiasco long enough to save face, then say, "Whoops...not commercially viable." Then they will break out a nice bottle of pinot noir and toast their victory over real American music.

Posted by: Jack | September 3, 2007 9:32 AM

Listen to bluegrass on

Posted by: Herbie | September 3, 2007 9:41 AM

I stopped listening to WAMU after they took my money for the Lee Michael Demsey show during their fundraiser and then dropped him in favor of talk radio. A Pox on all their houses !

Posted by: Ed | September 3, 2007 9:51 AM

I don't care anything about bluegrass music, but I'm a huge fan of literate talk radio (as opposed to AM-style.)

I think this is a *great* decision. Now I won't be stuck listening to C-SPAN radio when I lie in bed on Sunday morning.

Posted by: mccxxiii | September 3, 2007 10:03 AM

Jack and Ed-- As a listener for over 25 years, I couldn't have said it better. WAMU's national prominence of preserving the rich tradition of bluegrass music has been thrown in the trash. Shame on them. I can't wait for the next time they want me to renew my membership, so I can tell them exactly what I think. "Radio in the American Tradition"? HARDLY.

Posted by: LAWPOOL | September 3, 2007 10:14 AM

So that's what all those requests for feedback on WAMU's programming were about, and the announcements about "listening to our listeners". As a public radio contrarian here (I was also the only person in the Washington area who loved WETA's short-lived incarnation as a talk station, and stopped listening when they went back to classical) I have to say I'm not sorry to hear this news.

Don't get me wrong, I like obscure music too, more along the college-radio lines of indie rock, classical, jazz, and instrumentals from around the world. But I realize I'm not likely to hear that on the radio (except that I do like WBJC's classical music, when I can get it), so for the most part I go to the Internet for music. I never listened to bluegrass on WAMU (or, God forbid, Hot Jazz Saturday Night). I never begrudged bluegrass fans their music either, and I know that DC had an important bluegrass scene at one point, but I think those fans have got to realize that the generous space WAMU allocated to it was a holdover from a trend that came and went 40-50 years ago. If anything, they can be glad that their moment in the sun lasted as long as it did. DC was an important center for punk music in the 1980's, too, but I don't expect to hear WAMU playing Minor Threat or Fugazi.

Not that there aren't things I don't like about WAMU's programming (the brain-curdling call-in shows come to mind), but I can accept that lots of other people like them, so they're here to stay. That doesn't mean I don't still give to the station. I'm interested to see what they have in store for Sundays from now on.

Posted by: csdiego | September 3, 2007 10:21 AM

Hey, when WAMU lost all it's rock and roll programming to go straight to bluegrass we were rightfully upset. Bluegrass only existed on WAMU for what, like 30 years? That was LONG ENOUGH to hear the same 300 songs repeated ad nauseum by new artists covering older ones. Talk about a genre corrupt of new ideas and new technology!

Posted by: DCer | September 3, 2007 10:24 AM

The WAMU tagline used to be "Music in the American tradition," but I honestly believe that WAMU management has been ashamed of bluegrass and country music for years now.

Rightfully so.

Rightfully so.

If you wanna listen to those same songs from Bill Monroe's 1947 band played over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again?

It's called an ipod.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 3, 2007 10:27 AM

I guess I'm one of the few who got an HD radio to listen to WTMD on WAMU HD2. Finally, a semi-local, semi-adventerous, fully staffed AAA for DC! Now, although Mark does not mention it at all, it is being almost entirely pulled in favor of more talk on the third HD channel. Americana is all right in small doses for me, but a AAA provides a much broader and more widely appealing selection of music which is also entirely absent from the airwaves.

Posted by: Missing WTMD | September 4, 2007 9:42 AM

Good riddance. I mean: I like bluegrass and all, but all friggin' day?

I am surprised the suicide rate for Sundays in the D.C. area wasn't higher than it was...

Posted by: Dan | September 4, 2007 11:28 AM

Maybe its because I'm not a Hill rat or policy wonk, but having one day on WAMU without incessant political blathering was nice. And I happen to like bluegrass and counntry, so it fit great into my week. I dont have an HD radio and wont be buying one - looks like Sunday morning for me.

Posted by: the cheat | September 4, 2007 12:36 PM

Ironically, his officially makes DC a hick town.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 1:58 PM

Another victim of too much tolerance, too much diversity, political correctness, apathy and white guilt.
No wonder it really doesn't matter who wins in the 2008 presidental election, as it will probably be our last as a superpower.
If you're an affluent Anglo-Saxon, its time to look to get the hell outta the third world country we're rapidly becoming. And take ALL your money with you.

Posted by: white african american civil rights activist | September 4, 2007 2:07 PM

WAMU had to do something with the bluegrass that has been on its air for the longest time. At least it's still present on a digital sideband and listeners can readily get it on an HD radio -- it's NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

I worked for WAMU for almost 10 years. During my time there, I have seen Lee Michael Dempsey's show cancelled so that WAMU could air news talk and information during middays. Losing Lee was sad, but the race for audience numbers is now reality thanks to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Please think again if you are deciding not to give money to WAMU. They have to serve the largest audience (News and Talk) on 88.5 FM with the biggest broadcast resource that they have, and that is on 88.5 FM. Ms. Mathes is expanding WAMU by way of HD Radio's other channels so that all of WAMU's audiences are served.

By the way, Hot Jazz Saturday Night, Traditions and The Big Broadcast are indeed staying on 88.5 FM.

Posted by: RT Simms | September 4, 2007 3:13 PM

I have been hearing from techies that HD Radio broadcasting is technically flawed, and does not sound so good, either.

Posted by: Mike Licht | September 4, 2007 5:00 PM

I don't know what to make of these latest changes. WAMU is hardly alone among public radio stations, chasing the biggest audience -- or more precisely, chasing the biggest audience donors -- possible, but it's sad to listen to a station that provides much less of an alternative voice than it could.

I don't know if so-called HD radio is the answer to over-the-air radio's woes. There is the chicken-and-egg problem and also, as a previous poster mentioned, serious technical flaws, though more so on AM than FM. If receiver prices come down considerably, say to under $100, and if automakers start offering original equipment HD radios, it may take off. Otherwise it's destined to be the minidisc of broadcasting: an interesting niche product that will last longer than it should without ever finding the mass audience it needs.

I believe in public radio and regularly listen to ATC and Morning Edition (though AMU is really cluttering up morning drive). I give less than I used to and probably would have cut them off completely but for the unique service they provide every Sunday evening with four hours of old-time radio hosted by broadcasting legend Ed Walker. I'm not a bluegrass fan but I accept that it did a terrific job of positioning -- branding, if you will -- the station in years past. The OTR bloc provides something that not only no other station in the Washington market offers, it's something that virtually no other station in the country has, certainly at this level of quality. I'm glad it's staying on analog FM.

Posted by: Arlington listener | September 4, 2007 9:39 PM


Posted by: lingiait | September 6, 2007 3:44 AM

This is step 2 or 3 toward the eventual elimination of broadcasting bluegrass music entirely.

They shove bluegrass programming off into the hinterlands, then next year they can legitimately claim, "no one listens to bluegrass so we're going to maximize our audience and put MORE talk there instead."

Very business-like change process that dispassionately silences the slightest bit of variety on the air waves.

What would make a great story is who is driving all of these changes? It's not the station manager per-se but maybe the board of directors?

Posted by: asphaltjesus | September 6, 2007 11:15 AM

Which is more important--programming that provides insight into the important issues of the day and provides critical information for good citizenship or music played by hillbilly Republican inbreds?

I, for one, am glad that WAMU is not programming for aging trailer park white trash anymore. Since when is so-called music played by racist, sexist and homophobic mental defectives "culture?"

Posted by: NPR Activist | September 7, 2007 1:04 PM

No one's talking about reversing this decision. I'd so much rather see new management than these changes to a lineup that made WAMU unique. News is everywhere.
Not to mention that this cuts out all the listeners w/o the equipment; so elitist.

Posted by: Catherine Carr. | September 9, 2007 9:01 AM

@NPR Activist--

Way to be ignorant, dude.

I'll take my progressive, non-racist, non-sexist, non-homophobic, bluegrass-lovin' friends over your small-minded provincial stereotyping any day.

Have fun listening to Garrison Keillor and precious, precious Diane Rehm repeats. Smugness does not equal intellectualism.

Posted by: Lamont | September 9, 2007 11:23 AM

@NPR Activist--

Way to be ignorant, dude.

I'll take my progressive, non-racist, non-sexist, non-homophobic, bluegrass-lovin' friends over your small-minded provincial stereotyping any day.

Have fun listening to Garrison Keillor and precious, precious Diane Rehm repeats. Smugness does not equal intellectualism.

Posted by: Lamont | September 9, 2007 11:29 AM

Is "provincialism" caring about the major issues, both national and international, affecting our lives? Is "provincialism" caring for your community and your world and being an active part of it--and having a radio station that supports and encourages what you care about?

No, provincialism is being an ignorant escapist who wants to bury their head in the sand and listen to inbred trailer park trash music instead of programming that enriches their lives and expands their horizons as a citizen of the world. Do you even vote, escapist ignormaus?

And if you're such a great intellectual, how come you double-posted, AOL moron?

Posted by: NPR Activism | September 9, 2007 7:03 PM

WAMU has broadcasted Bluegrass since 1967 - 6 years after the start of that small educational station. Bluegrass has continued consistently in varying amounts for 40 years. Their own site has promoted this for years. -

Some may be thinking of 90.1 WGTB's progressive rock in the late 70's before it was killed off by corporate greed.

WAMU has new management, since 2005, that appears openly hostile to Bluegrass, Folk or just about anything northerners and west coasters might consider country. But then again Caryn G. Mathes is from Detroit, not a city known for its open mindedness or acceptance of traditional ways, sounds or views. She left Detroit after 21 years for a reason - that reason appears to be to destroy WAMU. 40 years of history and traditions down the toilet for more hot air, in a city full of hot air.

If I wanted to listen to yet another bunch of egotistical, self inflated, pompous, buffoons - I would listen to reruns congressmen and women yakking to empty chambers on C-Span or tune to any of the other plethora of news stations in DC.

If I leave the DC area, In most cities, I can't find news on the radio.
In DC I can't get away from it.

HD Radio? My cars don't have it, my house doesn't have it, no one I know, has it. $200-$400 for a cheap box with hit or miss reception, which you can't hook to a real stereo or that is portable?
If you don't live or drive next to WAMU, you can't hear it and the same goes for nationwide. No one uses it.. You wonder why the technology hasn't taken off???

Posted by: Citizen | September 9, 2007 7:21 PM

I hit the back button and then hit the forward button and the site reposted the comment without verifying with me. Oops. Simple as that. Not all of us can be perfect.

A more careful reading of my note will reveal to you that I never claimed to be an intellectual myself. I'm not. It's clear you fancy yourself one, though.

Despite being from DC originally, I currently live in China as opposed to the trailer park you envision me writing from. I speak Chinese, French, Spanish, some Bahasa Malay, and even a little hillbilly.

I've backpacked around the world, stayed with local families, and learned about foreign cultures first hand. Not only that, but I spent quite a bit of time growing up getting to know my African American and so-called redneck neighbors in PG County. You should try it. It might be scary, though. The Other is always scary.

I'll be voting absentee as I have been for the past few years (even the off year elections). I haven't missed a general election vote since 1988.

The ironic thing is, we'll probably vote for the same person in the 2008 general election, which means at some level the two of us will have to agree on something. Consider, though, that your smug attitude and that of people like you is at the core of reasons why droves of people turned towards the Republican party in the 1990s.

Bottom line, don't lecture me about perspective.

Let me once again suggest that the correlation between bluegrass listening and stupidity is not as high as you think. Your characterization of all people who enjoy this music as slack jawed, KKK-loving yokels is simply wrong. You reveal yourself as one who is small minded and provincial in the process.

If you want community radio that's about Washington, DC, listen to WPFW. Democracy Now, which I love for its perspective and for Amy Goodman's unflinching bravery, would suit your brand of radical firebrand pseudo-intellectualism well. Or get up early on Saturday morning, put on your Sans-A-Belts, and ride the train with Captain Fly and James Funk.

Or find out what the white belt crowd in Mt. Pleasant are doing with pirate radio these days. WAMU has little to do with 'the community' of DC outside of the DC Politics Hour, Metro Connection, and the top of the hour local news blurbs. But you probably knew that already.

Posted by: Lamont | September 10, 2007 1:23 AM

Then what about this comment post to this very blog?:

Another victim of too much tolerance, too much diversity, political correctness, apathy and white guilt.
No wonder it really doesn't matter who wins in the 2008 presidental election, as it will probably be our last as a superpower.
If you're an affluent Anglo-Saxon, its time to look to get the hell outta the third world country we're rapidly becoming. And take ALL your money with you.

Posted by: white african american civil rights activist | September 4, 2007 02:07 PM

Sounds to me like the typical inbred who listens to hillbilly music.

Posted by: NPR Acitvist | September 10, 2007 2:25 PM

I got news for you: douchebags come in all shapes, sizes and places, all around the world. Provincialism and narrow-mindedness are not the exclusive provenance of rural white Americans.

Most of the stereotypes you inveigh against couldn't give a damn about bluegrass. They're more into Kenny McChesney and Nickel Creek and that garbage. Pop music, in other words. Otherwise, bluegrass would be played on WMZQ or whatever pop country station is out there now. But it was long ago consigned to public radio, a supposed outpost of the liberal elite.

I'd wager the average bluegrass listener in the DC area has a master's degree -- at least a Bachelor's (making them unlike at least 75% of the country), earns close to six figures a year in a white collar job, and votes for progressive, left of center candidates. This is more or less the historical profile of WAMU donors.

That more of those donors and the new station management apparently share your opinion about the music is the sad reality we're faced with.

You clearly approve of the decision. I think it's further evidence of the Walmartification of our society, only played out in the rarefied airs of liberal, high-powered Washington DC. Swapping Ray Davis for the faux charm of Garrison Keillor is a low down dirty shame.

So much for authenticity. I do enjoy the irony of the station bringing on Bob Edwards' show from XM radio. I hope he charged those douchebags a lot for the privilege.

Posted by: Lamont | September 10, 2007 11:07 PM

Bluegrass Music: The Roots

The various types of music brought with the people who began migrating to America in the early 1600s are considered to be the roots of bluegrass music---including dance music and ballads from Ireland, Scotland and England, as well as African American gospel music and blues. (In fact, slaves from Africa brought the design idea for the banjo--an instrument now integral to the bluegrass sound.)

As the early Jamestown settlers began to spread out into the Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky and the Virginias, they composed new songs about day-to-day life experiences in the new land. Since most of these people lived in rural areas, the songs reflected life on the farm or in the hills and this type of music was called "mountain music" or "country music." The invention of the phonograph and the onset of the radio in the early 1900s brought this old-time music out of the rural Southern mountains to people all over the United States.

Bluegrass music is now performed and enjoyed around the world. In addition to the classic style born in 1945 that is still performed widely, bluegrass bands today reflect influences from a variety of sources including traditional and fusion jazz, contemporary country music, Celtic music, rock & roll ("newgrass" or progressive bluegrass), old--time music and Southern gospel music--in addition to lyrics translated to various languages.

Posted by: Citizen | September 11, 2007 2:41 AM

Red Shipley host of "Stained Glass Bluegrass", has been kicked to the curb by Caryn G. Mathes, General Manager for WAMU.
He won Broadcaster of the Year last year.
Thanks, Caryn G. Mathes. Not!
We hope Karma finds you and your henchmen soon.

Posted by: Death of local radio | September 11, 2007 11:39 AM

What from? The KKK? The Society of Trailer Park Trash?

And we know from your opinion of Caryn Mathes that you are a sexist pig. What's your opinion of African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, Jews, gays and lesbians--as if we didn't already know?

Posted by: NPR Activist | September 11, 2007 4:56 PM

Now, now "NPR Activist", no sense in hiding behind the moniker of "NPR Activist" we know who the true hater is. Your stereotyping, raciest, hate speech reveals your true nature. Your self hatred and self loathing percolate from every pore with every key stroke you type. Have you thought of seeking therapy? And drug counseling? Maybe your OCD masturbation has destroyed your mind.

Posted by: OCD Help | September 11, 2007 7:34 PM

Out-thought, out-reasoned, out-flanked, but undaunted, NPR Activist, a level 2 Internet troll, turns to the favored (some say only) weapon in his arsenal -- deranged, baseless personal attack.

Hopped up on MSG from his third bag of Cheetos, he shifts anxiously on a squeaky office chair in his mother's pallid basement. Insults rain from sticky, orange fingers like elven arrows at Helm's Deep.

But no matter how many slanderous accusations fly from his hands, he cannot cover up the deep shame of his own profound inadequacies.

And so, another night of taunting in defense of his beloved NPR complete, the Activist rests, uneasily it would seem, dreaming of future battles...future Internet glory, but always accompanied by the nagging worry that his Little Activist would fail to protest vigorously if it wasn't sufficiently informed by Diane Rehm repeats.

Posted by: lamont | September 12, 2007 10:29 AM

What is it you musical monks have against in-depth, award-winning, objective news coverage, insightful analysis and civilized conversation? Why do you want WAMU to become a 24-hour jukebox instead of truly being a public service to the community?

And in case you didn't know, the majority of WAMU's listeners listen to news and public affairs, not music, and are angry that they haven't been able to listen to "Weekend Edition Sunday" ever since WETA went to Dead White European Culture music. What gives you the right to cram your minority tastes down the throats of the majority of WAMU listeners who actually SUPPORT the station? (And it's consistent nationwide--music program listeners do not support that programming as much as news and public affairs listeners support their programming.) What part of "majority rule" don't you understand?

Posted by: NPR Activist | September 12, 2007 11:06 AM

RE "What part of "majority rule" don't you understand?" ....
Wasn't that the cry of the Nazi's during the Nuremburg trials after the war? Isn't that what Stalin's Henchpersons said at their arrests for mass murder? I'm sure that is what the Sudanese will one day say about Darfur.

Like lemming you hurtle towards your common Majority Rule goal of rushing en-mass over the cliff to you own demise.

You refuse to stand up and say "No, wait a minute this is not Right" to destroy 40 years of tradition in a Detroit minute or anything else.

Instead you say "everyone else is doing it." You have given up and thrown away all individuality, morals, values, honesty and integrity. You unjustly attack any and all that disagree with your point of view, the corporate mass profit view. You insist they tow the line or you, in your own narrow mind, will marginalize, denigrate, castigate and reject them.

Just because the majority is doing something doesn't mean they are doing the right thing. Slavery is an example.

Adolf NPR Activist we see you for who and what you represent.

Posted by: Citizen | September 12, 2007 12:27 PM

Bleed my heart, Communist homosexual.

In case someone hasn't told you, nine-out-of-ten Ma and Pa businesses are corporations.

And corporations are people who have a dream and achieve that dream by striving to succeed, working for a living and giving the public what it wants--real people in the real world. You'd learn that if you'd been taught Horatio Alger, McGuffey's Reader and the Bible in a Christian academy or home-schooled instead of "The Communist Manifesto" or "Heather Has Two Mommies" in a government school.

Why do you hate working for a living, Communist homosexual? Why do you hate giving the public what it wants? Why do you hate real people in the real world? Why do you hate AMERICA? And if you hate America so much, why don't you GET THE HELL OUT OF MY AMERICA NOW AND JOIN YOUR HOMOSEXUAL BUDDY LAMONT IN MAOLAND?

And oh yes, Communist homosexual--how big was your celebration SIX YEARS AGO THIS WEEK?


Posted by: Elitism Fighter | September 12, 2007 2:31 PM

Lemming running toward the cliff...

Posted by: Citizen | September 12, 2007 8:52 PM

Talk in English, Communist homosexual--THIS IS AMERICA!


Why do you hate ordinary people who work for a living?

Why do you hate giving the public what it wants?

Why do you hate real people in the world?

Why do you hate AMERICA?

And if you hate America so much, why the hell don't you get out of MY AMERICA NOW?

And oh yes--how big was your celebration SIX YEARS AGO THIS WEEK?


Posted by: Elitism Fighter | September 12, 2007 11:20 PM

Now, now "Elitism Fighter", no sense in hiding behind the moniker of "Elitism Fighter" we know who the true hater is. Your stereotyping, raciest, hate speech reveals your true nature. Your self hatred and self loathing percolate from every pore with every key stroke you type. Have you thought of seeking therapy? And drug counseling? Maybe your OCD masturbation has destroyed your mind.

Posted by: OCD Help | September 12, 2007 11:31 PM

I'm sorry, but I just can't avoid talking about WAMU. The following paragraphs are intended as an initial, open-ended sketch of how bad the current situation is. After hearing about WAMU's worthless attempts to shackle us with the chains of misoneism, I was saddened. I was saddened that it has lowered itself to this level.

Fortunately, if you ever get into an argument with some of WAMU's apologists about whether or not there's more to this letter than inflammatory rhetoric, I have an excellent sockdolager for you. Simply inform the other party that WAMU constantly insists that everyone who doesn't share its beliefs is an uncivilized roustabout deserving of death and damnation. But it contradicts itself when it says that advertising is the most veridical form of human communication. WAMU plans to give expression to that which is most destructive and most harmful to society. It has instructed its accomplices not to discuss this or even admit to its plan's existence. Obviously, WAMU knows it has something to hide.

I wish I could say this nicely, but I don't have much tolerance for pouty gadflies (especially the piteous type): WAMU uses the very intellectual tools it criticizes, namely consequentialist arguments rather than arguments about truth or falsity. The fact is, WAMU has never satisfactorily proved its assertion that the boogeyman is going to get us if we don't agree to its demands. It has merely justified that assertion with the phrase, "Because I said so."

When WAMU first announced that it wanted to abridge our basic civil liberties, I nearly choked on my own stomach bile. The public is like a giant that WAMU has blindfolded, drugged, and gagged. This giant has plugs in his ears and WAMU leads him around by the nose. Clearly, such a giant needs to free people from the fetters of nihilism's poisonous embrace. That's why I feel obligated to notify the giant (i.e., the public) that WAMU continuously seeks adulation from its lieutenants. Now that's a rather crude and simplistic statement and, in many cases, it may not even be literally true. But there is a sense in which it is generally true, a sense in which it undeniably expresses how if WAMU gets its way, none of us will be able to give direction to a universal human development of culture, ethics, and morality. Therefore, we must not let WAMU maintain social control by eliminating rights and freedoms.

While I don't know WAMU's secret plans, I do know that if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem. I shall not argue that WAMU's newsgroup postings are an authentic map of its plan to impinge upon our daily lives. Read them and see for yourself. Once it becomes clear that WAMU's half-measures are colored and flavored to appeal to the worst kinds of self-centered gits there are, it becomes apparent that WAMU has been offering the most stultiloquent sybarites you'll ever see a lot of money to cause (or at least contribute to) a variety of social ills. This is blood money, plain and simple. Anyone thinking of accepting it should realize that I want to rage, rage against the dying of the light. I want to do this not because I need to tack another line onto my résumé, but because I have one itsy-bitsy problem with WAMU's memoirs. Videlicet, they create an untrue and injurious impression of an entire people. And that's saying nothing about how I unequivocally hope you're not being misled by the "new WAMU". Only its methods and tactics have changed. WAMU's goal is still the same: to encourage a deadly acceptance of intolerance. That's why I'm telling you that if WAMU would abandon its name-calling and false dichotomies it would be much easier for me to maintain social tranquillity.

Posted by: You | September 13, 2007 6:37 PM


Posted by: True Americans | September 15, 2007 7:03 PM

Wow this is a quite a set of comments.

I've enjoyed listening to bluegrass on WAMU since I was a kid, but I started donating when they stepped up to carry the acoustic music and public affairs programming abandoned by WETA (which has become a caricature of a classical station) *and* started playing bluegrass 24x7 on the Internet and HD.

They've tripled their amount of programming.

I think it's great that they can now broadcast NPR, Kojo Nnamdi, Diane Rehm *and* Stained Glass Bluegrass, Dick Spottswood, Lee Michael Dempsey, Hot Jazz Saturday Night, Traditions, and so on. They're giving away HD radios to *everyone who donated, regardless of how much or little* during the last two bluegrass pledge drives. Hardly "abandoning" bluegrass.

Y'all can stomp off in a huff. I'll keep listening to my favorite radio programs, and putting my money where my mouth is. Too bad so many people take public radio for granted, and kudos to WAMU for finding a creative solution.

Posted by: Amanda | September 17, 2007 3:06 AM

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Posted by: umhuxbeeyo | October 1, 2007 3:26 PM

Internet trolls begone ...
The real shame is that Red Shipley, Stained Bluegrass host for so many year, has died Oct 7, in Charlottesville, VA

Posted by: thewebgal | October 9, 2007 8:55 AM

Some in the "lower" DC area around Fredericksburg and south have discovered Bluegrass FM WWED in Spotsylvania on 89.5 and on the web at The station will grow to another FM facility, WWEM, now under construction on 91.7 in Lynchburg covering from the suburbs of Charlottesville to just outside of Roanoke. Other stations are planned in Virginia. All are non-commercial and donor-suupported.

Bluegrass is alive and well on the main FM bands in Virginia. Receptivity is strong and growing each day.

Pete Stover
General Manager
Bluegrass FM
Spotsylvania, VA

Posted by: Pete Stover | October 10, 2007 7:51 AM

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