Interview: Michael Johnathon of Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour


Image courtesy of Woodsongs dot com and Michael Johnathon, Photo by Larry Neuzel

Interview originally published on Overheard Productions

From humble beginnings in 1998, in a small venue that sat 20 in the audience, Michael Johnathon has built the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour into a public broadcasting colossus, heard and seen around the globe each week from its current home in the Lyric Theatre, Lexington KY.

The program, showcases bands, performers and troupes from across the broad spectrum of bluegrass, Americana, roots, acoustic and alt-country, and a few others around the blurred edges of folk. It’s a 100% community and volunteeer-run operation, making its longevity and sustainability all the more remarkable. And laudable.

It gets even better than that — but you’ll have to listen to the interview for the part that rocked me back on my heels. And upturned kayak.

The show has reached an eye-watering 750+ episodes, many of which are freely available from the Woodsongs website in audio and video formats. Apart from its legion of individual listeners, Woodsongs has spawned an array of coffeehouse groups which meet to experience the show as a community.

And it’s not like Michael has anything else to do with his spare time. Like being a singer-songwriter of many years standing. Or touring. Or arranging other concerts. Or building a log cabin and surrounding structures plus landscaping and bridges etc. bare-handed. Or being a father of two (and two on the way in one hit).

No, I lied. He’s all of that and more. Just get a load of where he got his folk beginnings from.

On a chilly autumnal morning in Sydney last month, I stepped off the Manly* Ferry and found a suitable place to record an interview over the shaky airwaves from Australia to Lexington, Kentucky. A picture of my luxurious chair in the ‘recording studio’ appears below. *

For international audiences, ‘Manly’ refers to a location on the north side of Sydney Harbour named ‘Manly’. We don’t believe in forcing gender stereotypes onto our aquatic transport vessels. Actually…. if anything, we refer to them as ‘her‘ for the most part.

The interview appears here in two parts as the facilities of the international multi-media conglomerate that is Overheard Productions does not currently run to a recording studio to pretty the sound files up. Also, my international phone card very inconveniently ran out towards the end so please pardon the slight administrative glitch — I was just too tuned into the discussion to hear the telltale beeps.

A full listing of where you can listen in each week to Woodsongs is available on the web-site or you can pick and choose from the extensive archives.

Some other links:

Woodsongs Old Time Music Hour on Facebook

Michael Johnathon’s page on Facebook

Michael Johnathon’s Facebook alternative: FolkBook

1 Comment

  1. June 6, 2014 at 16:37

    […] “From humble beginnings in 1998, in a small venue that sat 20 in the audience, Michael Johnathon has built the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour into a public broadcasting colossus, heard and seen around the globe each week from its current home in the Lyric Theatre, Lexington KY” – The Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour’s Michael Johnathon chats to Billy Quinn. Interview here […]


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