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Old 04-18-2011, 12:08 AM
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bgadow bgadow is offline
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Location: Federalsburg, MD
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JC, guess I should run my mouth more often! I'll have to keep an eye out for Nancy on my travels. Yesterday I went to an estate sale where they had a lot of records, mostly 70s pop/rock, but I didn't bother looking.

Probably my favorite show is another one that barely gets mentioned on the net. So, here goes: Lee Arnold On a Country Road. I will now bore you with what I know about it!

In the early 80s there was a resurgence of sorts of the Mutual Radio Network. Dick Clark was signed to do a weekly rock show and they elected to do a country show as well. For the host they chose Lee Arnold, a longtime NJ/NY DJ who was then working at NYC's WHN, a country station at the time. "Uncle" Lee proved to be a great choice. His friendly demeaner, knowledge of the music/musicians, and good interviewing skills, all contributed to a good show each week. The program changed gradually over the years, but the general format was: 3 hours of current country hits mixed with "classics" from the 50s-70s. There was a "stargazing" report which reported on the latest country music gossip. This varied some over the years; sometimes Lee did the report; for most of the run WSIX-Nashville personality Katey B (sp?) did it, and for a time there was a woman from an LA station giving a similiar report. Generally there was one report per hour, lasting a couple minutes each. There would be a spotlight of a new album; also an album review in which Lee spun samples of many songs from a new album and then gave his opinion. I liked these because he was honest about it. Sometimes he would predict a song to be a hit, and it never charted. Often the album would be rated on a scale of 1-10; I have heard him give as low as a 5 or 6, which I thought was rather brutal considering how warm Lee is!

Early in the run there would be a "concert" in the third hour. This was generally a live recording done just for the show, featuring a current hitmaker. This got phased out by the mid-80s. At the end of the second hour a trivia question would be asked (usually pretty easy) and the answer would be given at the top of the next hour, followed by a song from that performer. At the end of the show they would play a song that had hit #1 that week sometime in the past. (10 years ago, etc) This would be followed by the #1 song that week. Mixed in were interviews with 2 or 3 stars; many of these are quite good. During events like Nashville Fan Fair or the Country Music Awards Lee would often record live interviews with many of the musicians who were in town.

The shows were always on 3 LP records and always included the national commercial spots. I am not sure when exactly the run started; I think the earliest shows I have are from '82, and it seems to have run up until '92. Later in the series a slight formatting change was made, which I found clever. Each hour was made to start with a segment featuring a brief introduction by Lee and 2 songs, followed by the formal opening of the program. This allowed the show to be easily played by stations that ran the news at the top of the hour, while still accomadating "non-news" stations. I don't recall seeing this arrangement on other similiar shows.

There were occasional specials-I have one where the whole show is dedicated to Elvis. Mutual also offered some other specials from time to time, and some of these featuring Lee as well. One I have is a year end countdown in which Arnold co-hosts with Eddie Rabbit. (the two were close, as Eddie had grown up in NJ and frequently visited Lee as a teen) At least later in the run the show was available via satellite. It saw pretty wide circulation; on one of the later shows Lee mentions they were being carried on over 400 stations. I typically would listen to it on either WCAO-Baltimore or WCTD-Federalsburg. (the former is now a black gospel music station; the latter is now WTDK, an oldies station) One of the neat features of some of these shows is that they will mention, at least once an hour, several of the stations around the country/world carrying it. It really brought a smile to my face to hear him mention old WCTD!

I will post some album covers when I get a chance. I will mention, in finishing, that Lee is still on the air; the last I heard he is hosting a classic country program for one of the satellite radio providers.
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