Albany, NY -- WAMC’s folk music program, “The Hudson River Sampler,” has been hosted by Wanda Fischer on the WAMC airwaves since September 18, 1982 and is one of the longest, continuously-running radio programs in the Northeast, hitting the 30-year mark with an on-air celebration planned for Saturday, September 15 from 8-10 pm.
“When this show began, compact discs didn’t exist, WAMC only had 32 vinyl albums in its collection, and we took a chance that folk music fans would support the program,” said Alan Chartock, WAMC’s President. “Now, 30 years later, WAMC has more than 16,000 compact discs to choose from, ‘The Hudson River Sampler’ has earned a national reputation, WAMC has grown to a station that can be heard all over the world, thanks to the Internet, and we have 23 repeater stations that bring this remarkable radio station to seven states and Canada via the WAMC airwaves.”
Wanda Adams Fischer was exposed to folk and traditional music at a very early age. Her father, Giles Adams, was a classmate of three members of the famous Carter Family in southwestern Virginia in the 1930s, and that was the type of music she heard when she was growing up. She made her singing debut at the age of four and has been a folk musician/singer since that time, having released a CD recording several years ago, called “Singing Along with the Radio.”
Through “The Hudson River Sampler,” Fischer has debuted a number of CDs and albums for singer/songwriters throughout the years. She attends regional and national folk music conventions and hosts showcases and serves as mistress of ceremonies at concerts during those events.
Recognized for her efforts to promote folk music in 2005 with the Lena Spencer Award from the local folk music club called the Pick ‘n’ Sing ‘n’ Gather ‘n, Fischer has championed the cause of folk music both through the WAMC airwaves and in the community. She hosts the annual Phil Ochs song night at WAMC along with Ochs’ sister, Sonny.
“For me, it is about the music, but it is also about the listeners,” said Fischer, who prefers to do the program live rather than pre-record. “It’s old-fashioned radio, to be honest. I take phone calls from listeners and take requests, just like D-Js did when I first began listening to radio in the 1950s. Children who grew up listening to ‘The Hudson River Sampler’ are now calling me to say that their children are tuning into the show. I also hear from people who are shut-ins and can’t get out of their homes and rely on the radio as a lifeline. It’s a great feeling to hear from them, week after week.”
The show follows the popular “A Prairie Home Companion,” hosted by Garrison Keillor, which runs from 6-8 pm on Saturday evenings. “The Hudson River Sampler” begins at 8 pm and runs through 10 pm. Playlists for each show are posted on the WAMC Web site following each live program.
“Thirty years is a long time for anyone to hold a job,” Chartock commented, “but to host a radio show, week after week, for 30 years--that’s almost unheard of. We have a couple of shows here at WAMC that have been on since the beginning, but ‘The Hudson River Sampler‘ is our longest-running, continuously produced music show. Congratulations to Wanda and thanks to all the fans who support WAMC.”