In 2000, Helen White, a school guidance counselor, founded a music program in the Alleghany County, N.C, schools. She called it Junior Appalachian Musicians—or JAM. The program offered instruction in the traditional music of the mountains. To say that JAM has been a success would be almost as big an understatement as saying that Bill Monroe had something to do with bluegrass. Now over a dozen JAM programs (also known as Traditional Arts Programs for Students, or TAPS) play in the mountains of North Carolina. Rising stars from JAM programs are changing the face of traditional music festivals across the region.
The "Down the Road on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina" podcast highlights bluegrass and old-time music stories, performers, and traditions across the mountain and foothills counties of Western North Carolina. Hosted by Laura Boosinger and produced by Kim Clark of WNCW-FM, the podcast is a joint effort of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the North Carolina Arts Council, WNCW-FM, and the American roots music journal No Depression.