KEOS Community Radio

John Roths

Host of High Lonesome on KEOSJohn Roths has been with KEOS from the very beginning of the station, having his first Bluegrass music show, “High Lonesome” (see PDF Poster) aired on Tuesday, March 28, 1995, just 3 days after transmitting its first signal. Traditional Bluegrass music, featuring artists such as Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, as well as a mix of contemporary bands such as Hot Rise and The Seldom Scene, and a bit of “Old-Time” music such as that performed by the Carter Family, Grayson & Whitter, the Hungry Hash House Ramblers, et al. are the focus of this show. From John’s perspective Bluegrass music is “the” true rural folk music of America. John describes Bluegrass, the music, as well as Bluegrass Festivals and the Bluegrass “culture” in general, as very family oriented, steeped in songs of hard work, “the home place” and the trials and tribulations of everyday life of regular “folks” like you and I. The music is unpretentious but challenging to perform correctly because it is built on “close harmony” and highly technical lead instrumental performances, primarily on banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and in more recent years-the guitar. Having grown up listening to Bluegrass in Maryland and Virginia, and having become immersed to a greater degree while living in Kentucky, prior to moving to College Station, John hopes his  audience will be both entertained but also come to learn a bit more about Bluegrass music during his weekly shows. In addition to Bluegrass, John loves roots music. I mean ‘music close to the ground’. Good and down-to-earth stuff. So you’ll hear John play the blues, Bluegrass, Cajun, Zydeco, roots-rock, western swing, folk and Americana on the Saturday morning ‘Random Routes’ show.

John also served for 15 years as KEOS Music Director and enjoyed working with music companies, distributors, promoters and artists with the goal of adding high quality music to the KEOS library and arranging for in-station visits. 89.1 FM was and still is the “home” to such diverse sounds as: Folk, Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Alt-Country, Texas Country and Swing, Latino, Avant Jazz, Blues, R&B to Soul, Zydeco, Indie and College Rock, Experimental and New Age sounds as well as all varieties of World music. The KEOS programming staff and I also take great pride in having a great relationship with local, regional and traveling artists and there is rarely a week that goes by without a live interview & performance at the KEOS studio. To date our Music Library has over 18,000 CDs and still growing! We’ve even got a ‘boatload’ of vinyl 33-1/3″ platters and even some 78s and they get played on our fine Stanton turntables.

As are all KEOS staffers, John is a non-paid volunteer, and until his retirement in 2013 made his “real livin’” as an Associate Research Scientist in the Dept. of Pathobiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences at Texas A&M University. ‘From my perspective, what makes KEOS an exceptionally good station is that the programmers love music and love to share their musical interests with our community. It’s done not to earn a living, but because of the joy of being involved with the music and with fellow volunteers, and providing music to our appreciative listeners here in The Brazos Valley.