Louisville, Ky. — Louisville Public Media announces a celebration and live broadcast in honor of Sunday Bluegrass host “The Country Gentleman Berk Bryant” on Sunday, March 11 at the Kentucky Derby Museum from 7 to 11 p.m.
Bryant is retiring after 30 years of hosting the “shortest, fastest and bestest three hours of radio” on 91.9 WFPK.
The evening will include live performances by Leroy Troy, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, and Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers. Light refreshments and a cash bar will also be available. Churchill Downs Racetrack is undergoing major parking lot construction. Parking for the Kentucky Derby Museum will be at the gravel lot located at Fourth Street and Central Avenue, just to the left of Wagner’s, with circulating free shuttle service to and from the Museum.
Admission to the event is free, though donations to 91.9 WFPK will be accepted at the door. Attendees can RSVP here.
“Berk is a rock star,” commented WFPK Program Director Stacy Owen. “He’s garnered so many fans and followers over the years with his larger-than-life personality, knowledge of the genre and strong connection to the bluegrass community. We’ve been honored to have him as a member of our radio family.”
Born in 1930 in Lynchburg, Va., Bryant has always been a showman. After spending two years in the Army, Bryant found himself hosting a country radio show on Lynchburg’s WWOD that he dubbed Country Gentleman Time. That was in 1954, and the title stuck. To this day, Bryant is still known as the “Country Gentleman” on the air.
Bryant eventually joined the Army again in the mid ’60s, working on the radio at Walter Reed Hospital and on AFKN in Korea. He spent the last 12 years of his military career as a special agent in counter-intelligence.
When he finished up the spy stuff, Bryant settled down in Louisville and was encouraged by friends to try to get a show on public radio. The rest, as they say, is history. Over his 30-year career at WFPK, Bryant has championed many Louisville and regional bluegrass musicians and held fast in his mission to highlight the pioneers of traditional country and bluegrass, like Hank Williams, Sr. and Ralph Stanley.
Louisville bluegrass musician Aaron Bibelhauser will begin hosting Sunday Bluegrass on Sunday, March 4.