Friday, June 09, 2006

History of Bluegrass at WHUS

For those who might be curious, here's a summary of how Bluegrass found its way to the airwaves at WHUS:

Bluegrass music was introduced to the WHUS airwaves early in 1982 in an innocent sort of way. John Murphy, WHUS General Manager then and now, was hosting a Tuesday night talk show, and after the interview had ended, a new DJ named Bud Godreau would play bluegrass for the rest of the timeslot. Listeners requested that the bluegrass show be expanded, so it moved to a one-hour slot on Saturdays shortly thereafter. Listeners wanted more, though, so in September 1982, the bluegrass show – named The Magic Of Bluegrass by Bud’s wife, Gail – expanded to three hours on Sundays. Bud was the show's only host from its inception until UCONN student Kim Urbanik came on board as a co-host in 1986.

In 1989, a third bluegrass DJ came to join in the rotation – Neil Russ. For a time, Bud, Kim, and Neil alternated hosting duties on the show, each bringing their own spin on all things bluegrass. However, in 1990, Kim and Neil both left WHUS, and Bud remained as the show’s sole host. In 1992, Neil Russ returned to WHUS, this time with two new co-hosts: Marcel “Ye Ole Coyote” Huguenin and another UCONN undergrad (and fiddle player), Cathy Bumgarner.

With The Magic Of Bluegrass in the capable hands of Marcel, Neil, and Cathy, Bud decided to “retire” from the bluegrass radio airwaves. He continued to fill-in on the show from time-to-time until 1994.

After Bud’s departure, the “Ole Coyote” became the main host of The Magic Of Bluegrass. Cathy and Neil continued to help him out on the airwaves, and soon thereafter, John Thomas (aka JT) joined in the mix. Toward the end of Marcel’s adio time at WHUS, Myrna Riquier joined the bluegrass staff to assist with production and other behind-the-scenes sort of work. Marcel remained at the helm of the show until his retirement and relocation to North Carolina in August of 2000. His tenure as the show’s host remains it’s second longest, after that of the show’s founder, Bud Godreau.

Tom Bowman came to WHUS in September of 2000. He initially changed the show's name to Mostly Bluegrass, but later renamed it Bluegrass Café. About the same time, Kim (Urbanik) Cyr returned to the WHUS airwaves to share the host spot with Tom. In the spring of 2001, Myrna recruited Amy Orlomoski, who joined in to serve as an occasional host of the program.

In the fall of 2003, further recruiting brought Bluegrass Café two more hosts, Bob Flagg and Cindy White. By the spring of 2004, though, both Kim and Tom had departed Bluegrass Café and in the spring of 2005, Bob and Cindy left, as well. In the summer of 2005, Myrna recruited two more willing bluegrass programmers, Jim Beaver, Jr. and Marti Harmon. Jim and Marti were so enthusiastic about being on the air that they began their own show of traditional music at WHUS (called Red Rooster Party) in the fall of 2005.

As we approach our 25th year of broadcasting bluegrass at WHUS, the Bluegrass Café remains on the air with Amy and Jim, ably assisted by Marti and our show producer, Myrna. We continue to keep our listeners updated on all things bluegrass: new music, classic bluegrass, interviews, giveaways, even occasional live performances. When you’re in our southern New England listening area, we invite you to join us the “old-fashioned” way at 91.7 on your FM dial every Sunday from 4:00-7:00PM EST. You can also listen to our streaming broadcast at

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