Recently Blues Matters Magazine published their “2014 Writers Poll” of the Best in Blues, within this list of prominent blues players and proponents of the genre is the category of “Blues Radio – International”. Since this magazine is based out of Europe, 3 US based stations were chosen in a 3 way tie for the #1 Spot. Each show, like the genre itself, is unique in it’s approach to how it presents Blues.
National Blues Museum Radio – With Christian Cudnik
This is a unique entry into this list as it is tied to a 501c3 non for profit museum that is working to build a brick and mortar facility in St. Louis. Their mission is simple: “The National Blues Museum explores and preserves the historic significance of the Blues as the foundation of American music, celebrates the genre’s various styles and recognizes the musicians who created, sustain and continue to advance the art form.”
The interactive National Blues Museum will feature a collection of technology- and artifact-driven exhibits that explore the Blues and celebrate the genre as the foundation of all modern American music. The museum will be located within the new Mercantile Exchange (MX) District, which is within walking distance of a variety of attractions including the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium, and Laclede’s Landing.
Christian Cudnik is the Executive Producer and Host of National Blues Museum Radio. The show debuted in St. Louis on the Radio Arts Foundation on February 7, 2014. Today, the show is syndicated to 26 stations including affiliates in the United States, Canada, Romania, New Zealand, Russia and the UK.
“Confessing the Blues” Radio first aired on Friday March 26th, 2010 at 9pm on WTRG-FM in Weldon, NC. The station management was leery of a Blues Music program on their “Greatest Hits” Station. Management said it would fall flat but gave it a chance. Out of the gate, “Confessing the Blues” Radio perked up the listening audience as evidence by the emails and conversation around town the next week about “That crazy Blues show that was on the radio last Friday.” One week was all we needed to start bringing Blues Music to this rural area of North Carolina.
The very first song that played on the show was Buddy Guy’s “Damn Right I Got the Blues”. And the Blues caught radio fire. After the first 90 days, I approached WWDW -FM in South Hill, VA about carrying the show. They agreed. The next week I contacted the Operations Manager at WDLZ-FM in Murfreesboro, NC and they said yes too. All three stations were carrying the show at 9pm on Fridays and the close proximity of the stations afforded “Confessing the Blues” a very effective Broadcast Radius. The 3 combined Radio Stations gave the program the reach of a 100,000 watt FM. The Audience quickly grew and I was getting feedback that these listeners were tuning in regularly and had made “Confessing the Blues” Radio Appointment Listening. Friday night turned into Roadhouse party night for our audiences from Richmond, VA to Rocky Mount, NC, from South Boston, VA to The Virgina Coast.
With a 3 Station Syndication, I thought maybe I could make it 10 stations and by the end of the first year “Confessing the Blues” Radio had 15 Affiliates. From there the syndication list has grown to 50 Broadcast Entities in 10 Countries around the world. Expanding the reach of the Blues Genre has been the driving force to our successes. We have found that the tight programming, Current Contemporary Blues Music, Interviewing Relevant Artists and the Roadhouse Good Time we present every week has caught the ear of not only strident Blues Fans but also the casual Blues listener that has never before been able to really experience the jubilation of Blues Music. We humbly Thank the million plus listeners we reach every year and certainly every one of our Broadcast Affiliates for the courage to rebuke conventional programming trends and give “Confessing the Blues” radio a chance.
LIVE from the Midnight Circus – With Richard L’Hommedieu
Veteran radio DJ Richard L’Hommedieu started presenting blues as a radio co-host with the legendary Bluesman “Sam Taylor” in NY on WUSB 90.1FM Stony Brook called “Blues with a Feeling with Sam Taylor” . As Sam’s health began to fad, he took over the reigns, eventually inheriting the show after Sam’s passing. For several years he continued the show, never changing the name in honor of Sam Taylor. In addition to the Blues show which aired every Friday morning, he also became the Blues Music Director for the radio station as well as hosting a Music Business show called “Making a Scene”. Richard was always deeply involved with the music scene, from publishing an entertainment newspaper to being the founder and founding chairman of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. When he moved to Atlanta Georgia in 2011, it didin’t take him long to find a way to get back on the air. Starting on Goldradio.net “LIVE from the Midnight Circus” was born. The Midnight Circus is the Recording Studio/Record Company that Richard runs and is where he broadcasts his show each week. Unfortunately Gold radio was not fond of Richard’s vision of how blues should be presented and after about 6 months they took him off the air (Gold Radio has since suspended all blues programming) . Within a week, he was back on the air with Peachtreeradiofm who embraced his vision and gave him the freedom to create the show he wanted to present.
What makes “LIVE from the Midnight Circus” different than most blues radio shows is this show only plays blues artists that are currently on the road touring. The philosophy of the show is simple, to “Keep the Blues Alive” you need to showcase the artists that are creating new music and are out on the road touring. Each week, the show presents in depth interviews with touring blues artists about their careers, tours and what they see as the future of the blues. Artists such as Mike Zito, Dana Fuchs, Samantha Fish, JPBlues and Devon Allman (Royal Southern Brotherhood) to name of few of the artists that have become part of the “Midnight Circus”! Richard also knows how important it is that radio stations report their spins to the charting services, so each week he reports all tracks he plays on his show to the Roots Music Reports Blues Charts.
In addition to presenting the show live on peachtreeradiofm.com, Live from the Midnight Circus is podcast on Richards online music business magazine “Making a Scene” (www.makingascene.org) Both as a full podcast of the 3 hour show and each interview is isolated as a “Feature” on the Making a Scene. “The philosophy is simple, You honor the past by supporting the future of the blues”
Richard L’Hommedieu also is the station manager for the Atlanta Blues Society’s Blues Cast on Live 365! (Which Also Reports to Roots Music Report)