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West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Mountain Stage began in 1983 as a radio show, originally hosted by Larry Groce and George Daugherty. One of the longest running contemporary music programs on radio, Mountain Stage is a performance program recorded before a theater audience. It has grown from a once-a-month statewide broadcast to a weekly two-hour syndicated show reaching a global audience.

The radio program’s first national broadcast was in 1985, live from the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Regular national broadcasts began in 1986 on National Public Radio, and in 1989 Public Radio International took over distribution. In 2019_Mountain Stage_ was aired on 247 public radio stations and is aired worldwide on Voice of America.

Mountain Stage is the largest presenter of musical performances in West Virginia, bringing in more than 100 different performers each year. More than 10,000 people attend the show annually. Usually taped at the Culture Center in Charleston, Mountain Stage has often gone on the road nationwide and to several places in West Virginia. Among the musicians to perform on Mountain Stage have been Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lyle Lovett, Alison Krauss, Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, Kathy Mattea, and others.

Mountain Stage was created by former executive producer Andy Ridenour and recording engineer Francis Fisher, who originally wanted to produce a program featuring West Virginia musicians. They approached Groce with the idea, but he persuaded them to shift the show’s focus to give it a national appeal while still staying grounded in the Mountain State. More than 200 West Virginia artists have performed on the show, including traditional, bluegrass, folk, contemporary and country musicians, singers, and songwriters. Ridenour retired in 2014 and was replaced by associate producer Adam Harris. Fisher died in spring 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down live shows for most of 2020 and 2021. In September 2021, after 38 years and 952 shows, Groce announced that Mattea will replace him as the show’s host, while he remains as artistic director.

 

e-WV presents West Virginia Public Broadcasting on Mountain Stage

This Article was written by Greg Proctor

Last Revised on September 09, 2021


Cite This Article

Proctor, Greg "Mountain Stage." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 09 September 2021. Web. 24 September 2021.

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