||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (July 2008)|
|Running time||Two hours|
|Creator(s)||Andy Ridenour, Francis Fisher, Larry Groce|
|Exec. producer(s)||Adam Harris|
|Air dates||since 1983|
|Opening theme||"Simple Song", by Larry Groce|
Mountain Stage is a two-hour music radio show, first aired in 1983, produced by WV Public Broadcasting and distributed worldwide by National Public Radio (NPR) and the Voice of America's satellite radio service. Hosted by Larry Groce, the program showcases diverse music, from the traditional to modern. It is recorded before a live audience, usually at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, West Virginia, but occasionally travels to other venues elsewhere in the United States. Major private funding is provided by the West Virginia-based law firm of Bailey & Glasser LLP and The Charleston, WV Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Created by Andy Ridenour, Larry Groce and Francis Fisher, Mountain Stage originally aired in 1983. In December 2013, the show recorded its 750th episode. All three founders continued in their original roles until 2011, when Executive Producer Ridenour retired after 28 years. Mountain Stage is now produced by Adam Harris, who began working for the show in 2005 as an unpaid intern. Each year 26 two-hour episodes are produced. Most are recorded at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, West Virginia; however, the show has traveled to New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ashland, Kentucky, Athens, Georgia, Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia, Winnipeg Folk Festival (Canada), Kerrville Folk Festival (Texas) and Fairbanks, Alaska.
In 2003 a coffee-table style book, "20 Years of Mountain Stage", was published in honor of the radio show's 20th Anniversary.
Between 2001-2003, Mountain Stage taped thirty-nine episodes of a nationally syndicated television series for public television. In 2007, an additional series of nine, one-hour specials, filmed in high-definition, were also recorded for public television. The TV series featured John Pizzarelli, John Mayall, Richard Thompson, Nanci Griffith, The Holmes Brothers, Odetta, Arlo Guthrie & the Guthrie Family Legacy, Martina McBride, Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, Yonder Mountain String Band, John Hammond and Jorma Kaukonen.
Mountain Stage began its 28th season in Glasgow, Scotland as part of the 2011 Celtic Connections Festival. Its 750th show was recorded in September, 2011, at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota.
The radio show begins with its theme, "Simple Song", written and performed by host Larry Groce. Groce, who also serves as artistic director, believes that all music is related, so the program showcases diverse music, from the traditional to the brand new, including roots music to indie rock and jazz. Usually, five musical guests will appear on any given show.
Among the luminaries who appeared on Mountain Stage before they were famous or whose first national-exposure in the US on Mountain Stage are Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones, Crash Test Dummies, Barenaked Ladies, Ben Harper, Paula Cole, Nickel Creek, Cassandra Wilson, Counting Crows, Phish and R.E.M., which is the band that gave Mountain Stage its first national exposure.
Over the years, the show has featured such international luminaries as Phish, Barenaked Ladies, Galactic, Bruce Hornsby, the Derek Trucks Band, Chris Thile, Bell X-1, Judy Collins, They Might Be Giants, Norah Jones, Hubert Sumlin & Pinetop Perkins, Charles Brown, Martina McBride, Little Big Town, Amos Lee, Joan Baez, Jakob Dylan and Regina Spektor, as well as Kathy Mattea, Tim O'Brien and over a hundred West Virginia artists.
Mountain Stage is heard on over 130 NPR stations nationwide and overseas on the Voice of America Satellite Service.
Twenty-seven albums compiling live performances from the Mountain Stage series have also been released on Blue Plate Records, a division of Oh Boy! Records, and are still available through Amazon.com.
In 2008, NPR signed an exclusive on-line distribution deal with Mountain Stage and will post individual sets by guest artists each weekday. These sets will include songs edited from the radio show.