In the Blue Ridge Mountains, the airwaves are alive with mountain music, as they have been for nearly a century. The long tradition of regional radio is one of the most important reasons for the continued popularity of traditional music here. Many musicians who grew up in the Blue Ridge learned their very first old-time songs as youngsters by listening to stations like Mount Airy’s WPAQ, or catching broadcasts of the Grand Ole Opry beamed from Nashville. Musicians and music lovers coming up today have the same wealth of regional radio available to them—and in more formats, with the rise of streaming online broadcasts and downloadable podcasts of traditional music shows.
WPAQ can be heard on 740 AM and online. WPAQ’s Merry-Go-Round, featuring great local talents, is the second-longest-running live music radio show in the United States, behind only the Grand Ole Opry. There are many other stations that regularly feature mountain music. Whether the programming is recorded or live, vintage or contemporary, radio stations featuring traditional music and musicians are an important and popular aspect of the music scene in the Blue Ridge region today.
The King Pup Radio Show is a tribute to the tradition of local country music programs that flourished throughout rural America during the 20's, 30's, and 40's. It is a syndicated radio show, heard on over fifty stations across the country, and can also be enjoyed online at Radio YUR.
Several other noteworthy radio shows focus on traditional Appalachian music and place special emphasis on North Carolina artists:
You can find and listen to the complete collection of episodes here. Episodes also air weekly on WNCW-FM (88.7) at 10:15 am on Tuesday mornings and around 4:30 pm on Sunday afternoons (during the show This Old Porch).
While you’re traveling through the North Carolina mountains and foothills, be sure to turn your dial to these stations to hear traditional mountain music.