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BGR 108 (BLUE GRASS RADIO 108)


BGR 108 (BLUE GRASS RADIO 108)
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Last updated:
2012-06-16 20:59:35
Country: EstoniaListen to radio stations broadcasting from Estonia
City: Tallinn
FM (MHz): 108.0
Genre: Bluegrass
Language of broadcast: English
E-mail: bluegrassradio@hot.ee
Website:  www.hot.ee/bluegrassradio
Description: * The Idea
It is an unique radio-programming in this region devoted to the Americanbluegrass and grassroots music - the fine genre which is so rare in today'smodern electr(on)ic music world (including new country). Commercial mediaisn't interested in airing natural, real acoustic music but there's a bigdemand for it among listeners in Estonia. And some Estonian own nationalmusic is also very similar to American old-time country and Irish folk.

* The Story

It was in March 1992 when the first private radio stations in Estonia wereborn and I decided to start a country music radio-show for traditional androots-country styles mostly. The show called "Kantri Alati Jääb" (Country Forever)was on air from that time until April 1997 every week, 1...3 hours in length,introducing American traditional country (with some very rare offshoots intotoday's modern country) to Estonian listeners.

In September 1994 the second weekly show called"Rohujuured" (Grassroots) was born to carry only acousticbluegrass and grassroots music forms between country, folk and jazz. Thisshow was unique not only because of its music-style but also of having notime-limit. It was as long as I wanted to do it! In fact it lasted 1,5...3hours but the longest ones have been 9 and 7 hours.

Both of my programs were completely self-financed, self-produced and self-aired which guaranteed them full independence - They were aired on commercial radiostation but it was only using their studio and transmission network, no more. Why I used this station? Because it is the first private radio in Estonia, it is very popular among the listeners and it has large transmission network. Listeners kept tuned on it and this way many of themreally discovered American acoustic grassroots-music.

But it is still commercial station - its primary interests are money and highlistenership. Those interests can be guaranteed only by airing more mainstreammusic and hot political discussions. It was never allowed to air alternatemusic during daytime on this station. And it went more and more problematic also in nighttime. The thing which broke me finally was the decision of theProgramming Director of the station not to allow my program to be aired fromthe studio of sister-station (Raadio Uuno, belongs to the same owner)during the move of the main studio's equipment to the new location just duringthe hours of my regular show. But, they still connected the transmitter tothe sister-station's studio and aired mainstream pop-rock music non-stop allthe night from there - on two transmission networks at the same time! Thestation's staff was to be afraid of airing my show on two transmissionnetworks this night as they thought it may drop down the listenership forsister station which is designed for airing mainstream music. But I did notthink so. On my mind two hours of more-acoustic music on this channel one latenight may result even in more interest in bluegrass and related music. I wasready for airing this show almost without spoken parts and to include morecontemporary cross-over bluegrass and acoustic music stuff which can workbetter on wider audience but they did not allow me to do even that. Theystill preferred mainstream music... I had aired all of my shows from 1992completely on my expenses and the only thing I wanted to get from the stationwas free airtime. But they broke this agreement and so it was also enoughreasonable for me to broke also my relations with this fine station,Raadio Kuku, on April,13,1997.

After this was happened I immediately started preparation work to continueairing the music I love, on my own, just formed, fully independentnon-commercial experimental radio-station BGR (BlueGrassRadio). Itspart-time test transmissions with bluegrass music started on April,28,1997and continued throughout the summer of 97, including also many special musicshows and programs. But on September,1,1997 the dream of my life came true -BlueGrassRadio switched over to 24-hour continuous programming beingunique this kind of radio station in Europe and may-be all over the World (?).The station is low-power one and of course I lost many of my show's earlierfans and listeners but this solution was still the only way (and safe way) tocontinue airing real music here.

Such was my story - From short country music show to 24-hour bluegrass musicradio station.

* The Name

The main radio-show was called Rohujuured. It is word-by-wordtranslation of Grassroots into estonian, not in its meaning of'country-folks' but just in meaning of 'grass' (vegetation) and 'roots' (thepart of vegetation in ground). At the same time it is very symbolictranslation - grass symbolizes the natural style of music androots the basic, traditional side of it. The official name of the showwas fixed in two-language form as Rohujuured/Grassroots.

After the show changed over to 24-hour BlueGrassRadio station the nameRohujuured/Grassroots is used as an alternate title for the station'smusic programming.

* The Music

During the past years when the show was aired on Raadio Kuku it hadabout 1/3 of the total program time for the introductions and comments on themusic and musicians to make them more familiar to Estonian listeners. Aboutone half of the total number of shows were so-called various-contentprogramming (every song from different artist) but the shows still had somecommon theme or idea. Very often I aired special radio-shows devoted to onlyone artist or even one album. Sometimes there were 2...4 artists or albums inone show.After starting continuous 24-hour programming mostly automated non-stop musicis aired.

Which genres of music can be aired on BlueGrassRadio? Of course, allthe music MUST BE bluegrass-related. But it can be accepted even if it is veryfar-related. In example Alison Brown Quartet's and Dawg's jazz, Al Grierson'sand Michael Johnathon's folk, Emmylou Harris' and Smokey Greene's acousticcountry, Riders In The Sky's and Michael Cornett's traditional cowboy music,Ken Hamm's and Jimmie Rodgers' blues, Mike Auldridge's swing, Tony Rice'sspacegrass, Flecktones' funk, Peter Rowan's texmex and rock, The Isaacs'gospel, Russ Barenberg's calypso, Jerry Douglas' and Edgar Meyer's new-age,Vishwa Mohan Bhatt's world music, No Strings Attached's dulcimer music arejust some samples of far-related genres which still can be well-accepted here.But bluegrass in its different formats, old-time, bluegrass-country and newacoustic music are the "must be" menu. Most of singer/songwriterfolk and modern country and commercial traditional country music CAN'T beaired here. And of course, the all-acoustic instrumentation is preferred,although sometimes some electric instruments are accepted, too.

Here below is a very long list of some few samples of thousands of fineartists who have got our airtime:


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