Frequently Asked Questions about the Bluegrass Country Transition
Q: Why did WAMU-FM end its nearly 50-year tradition of providing an outlet for bluegrass music in the metropolitan DC area?
Bluegrass programming started on WAMU-FM in the summer of 1967 and for the next several decades went through several cycles of increases and decreases in programming hours. Over the past 10 years bluegrass was moved to its own channel and improved technology increased the delivery platforms — WAMU HD-Channel 2 and 105.5FM in DC and on bluegrasscountry.org 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. Unfortunately, this meant parting with bluegrass programming. A search was conducted to find an individual or organization that could continue bluegrass programming. Starting February 6, 2017 the Bluegrass Country Foundation will take up that mission.
Q: Why can’t I hear Bluegrass Country on 105.5 FM any more?
The 105.5 frequency was leased to the Russian government for their Sputnik radio service at a price over seven times the price Bluegrass Country was able to pay. Our WAMU-HD2 signal has a much stronger signal and excellent digital sound quality. We can be heard anywhere with a smart phone and one of our apps, Bluegrass Country available on the iStore and the Android Play Store.
Q: I haven’t heard bluegrass on 93.5 FM for several months. It is ever coming back?
The two translator stations – one in Hagerstown, Maryland and the other in Frederick, Maryland, broadcasting WAMU’s Bluegrass Country on 93.5FM — have been sold to the Manning Family. The Manning’s operate several community-minded stations in that area. The 93.5/93.3 frequencies will carry broadcasts that originate from the Frederick-Hagerstown communities. As of November 2016 the Bluegrass Country signal ended. Bluegrass Country will continue to be carried on 105.5FM and WAMU 88-5 HD Channel 2 in Washington, DC and streamed worldwide on bluegrasscountry.org under the management of the Bluegrass Country Foundation.
Q: Where can I hear the new Bluegrass Country programming?
The signal can be heard in the Washington, DC area on WAMU 88-5 HD Channel 2 and streaming worldwide on bluegrasscountry.org
Q: I’ve been a sustaining member for years. How do I discontinue my payments to WAMU or will WAMU transfer my payments to the Bluegrass Country Foundation and for how long?
Existing BGC members will need to establish a new membership with BGCF. WAMU’s Bluegrass Country will stop accepting gifts as of February 6, 2017.
Q: How can I get in touch with the Bluegrass Country Foundation? Do they have a web site? I’d like to know more about their mission and their leadership.
You can reach them sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Will the programming remain the same Bluegrass, Americana and roots music or will it change?
Listeners can expect the same great music as well as new offerings in the near future. They will continue to enjoy programming from Dick Spottswood, Lee Michael Dempsey, Al Steiner, Lisa K. Howard, Gary Henderson 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. Check the Bluegrass Country Foundation website for specific schedule information.
Q: What will become of all the programs, interviews, concerts and festival coverage that WAMU-FM has broadcast over the years?
While the content will remain with WAMU for now due to rights and permission issues, WAMU allow the Bluegrass Country Foundation to make use of WAMU’s bluegrass music library and bluegrass program archives, but only to the extent consistent with applicable copyright laws and where WAMU has sufficient rights to permit such use.