Way back in September of 2002, after arriving in The Land of Bean Blossom to find there was no bluegrass music to speak of on our local airwaves, I decided to get proactive and start a petition. Walking around an area festival with that clipboard and a pencil, the good folks saw that header “INDY NEEDS A BLUEGRASS RADIO SHOW” and were practically tackling me to sign the thing.
Now, although I was a staff writer for a national bluegrass publication at the time and had been in a band or two myself over the years, you’d better know I had no intention of hosting the thing myself. Simply had a mental list going of the several stations that might be willing to feature our music in their schedule and planned to approach them with a thousand signatures and ask that they consider producing one.
Turns out, life had other plans. One of the individuals that signed said petition was Tim D, long-time host of “The Free Zone” as well as a fine little late night Grateful Dead program called “So Many Roads” broadcasting from The University of Indianapolis on WICR FM. Didn’t know the man from Adam, I was new in town after all, but he looked at the petition and he looked at me and asked, “What do you know about bluegrass?” Proceeded to explain that my attachment to the music ran deep, my Eastern Kentucky-born mommy sang us boys to sleep with Carter Family, Louvin Brothers, and Bill Monroe songs, after all.
Suppose Tim saw that I was motivated (if nothing else!) and invited me to bring a big box of bluegrass music down to the studio…the rest is history, as they say. Didn’t surprise any of us that bluegrass was a big deal in The Land of Bean Blossom. “Friday Night Folk” was born and we soon had our own prime time slot in the schedule.
Told you that to tell you this:
Sadly, I’m at a point in life where I’ll be needing to start a new chapter and devote the time I’ve been putting into radio toward raising a family and the practical concerns accompanying that most noble of endeavors. Radio is a wonderful wonderful hobby, and I couldn’t begin to relate all the fun experiences we’ve had over the years if I tried. That 10-20 hours a week will now go towards being a husband and father. And I’m OK with that.
As fraught with peril as this will be, I’ll be needing to thank a few people, if you’ll allow.
Tim D for bringing us aboard, de-mystifying the process, and being a brother, besides.
WICR FM for recognizing how important bluegrass is to this community, use of those great studios of theirs, and for cranking us out at 30,000 watts all over Central Indiana for eleven years.
Rick of Indy CD & Vinyl for the long-term commitment he made to keep us on the air. You were there from day one and I’d never dream of buying my music anywhere else because when it comes to community, you get it.
My family for your patience, forbearance, and love.
Terry “T-Bone” Mathley for making “T-Bone’s Prime Cuts” and “Redbud Radio” fine programs through your hard work and participation, and for being our “web guru.” Folks, I want you to know that if T-Bone hadn’t come aboard to share the workload and create and maintain those nice websites of ours, the whole deal would have come to an end back in 2010. And like Tim D, Terry has grown to be like family.
Shelby Kelley for great artwork and logos, most of which he contributed to “the cause” because he too loves his community. Indianapolis is a better place for you being in it, Shelby.
And most of all, the listeners that love bluegrass and always thought of our goofy little radio show as their program. You’d better know I appreciate you for that more than words could ever tell.
Please forgive me if you got left off that list. It takes a community to keep a radio show going, after all.
Friends, if you love this music may I suggest that you simply attend events every chance you get and buy the music whenever possible? After all, that’s what will keep our music alive, and well, and living right here in the great state of Indiana for years to come.
Cary Allen Fields