Roots Radio Personalities

Sep 6, 2016


John Walker (weekday mornings, 6-9) is executive producer of Music City Roots and Roots Radio. Originally from Detroit, John cut his musical teeth in the golden era of Motown. A professional touring musician and entrepreneur since college, he built two live music venues, an ad-creative firm, and became a marketing consultant for heritage Detroit rock radio station WRIF. Coming to Nashville in 2001 to work with Music Row legend Buddy Killen and historic WSM Radio, John soon became enamored with the rich subculture of world-class musicians that were virtually unknown in the mainstream media. Obsessed with a vision to build a global platform for these artists merging old-school radio with modern technology, he joined forces with Todd Mayo (Bluegrass Underground) to create Music City Roots in 2009. Along the way, John has continued his passion for producing records whenever the opportunity arises.



Bill Edwards (weekday mornings, 6-9) is a radio veteran most recently with Nashville’s Hippie Radio. From Country to Top 40 to Disco to Oldies, he spun them all the first time around. He took his first job as a DJ in Harvard, IL, just outside of Chicago, in 1975. As the years passed by, he played Elvis and Disco in Iowa, Madonnna and Bootscootin’ Boogie in Minnesota and Michael Jackson and the Macarena in Texas. New songs became Old Songs and my life adventures brought me to Nashville. Bill met his wife at a radio station and they’ve been happily married more than 35 years.



Keith Bilbrey (weekdays, 9-12) is one of the nation’s most admired and knowledgeable country music disc jockeys and a veteran announcer who’s been inducted to the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. He’s currently the emcee of Music City Roots and the TV host of Larry’s Country Diner, which airs on RFD-TV. He also hosts Classic Country Today, a two-hour weekly program that can be heard on 175 radio stations nationwide. Bilbrey was on the staff of WSM radio for 34 years and he was a beloved host of the Grand Ole Opry for most of that time. Starting in 1982, Bilbrey was the announcer for Ernest Tubb's Midnight Jamboree, a post that Bilbrey held until Tubb's death in 1984. Bilbrey was the announcer for CBS’s telecast of the Country Music Association (CMA) Award Show for four years, as well as the CMA’s 35th Anniversary Special, and he continues to announce the non-televised portion of the CMA Award Show.



Whit “WITNESS” Hubner (weekdays 12-4) has been a DJ at Nashville’s Hippie Radio 94.5 FM, Radio Free Nashville WRFN and WRLT Lightning 100. He hosted his first radio show, WVRU’s eclectic and popular “Positive Spin,” beginning in 2004. That show and its successor on WRVU, “Radio Without a Subway,” specialized in an dazzlingly eclectic selection of local music and built a loyal following thanks to YOUR WITNESS’ expert musical tastes and friendly voice. He was born in Atlanta, moved to California as a child and became a dedicated Nashvillian in 1976. After graduation, he worked in music promotion and production, including the marketing team at Starwood Amphitheater. More recently he has produced the annual day-long “Mando Blues Anniversary Festival” at Soulshine Pizza, which draws thousands of fans. He’s also the father of two lovely daughters. And he’s still a gigantic music fan!


Jessie Scott (weekdays 4-7) Roots Radio Program Director and widely respected programmer knows the format as well as anyone, having been an early Americana Chart editor for Gavin and the first program director for XM Radio’s X Country channel.


Scott is most recently the music director at Sun Radio, Austin, Texas. And she is the director of the CDX TRACtion Texas monitored radio airplay chart, serving the Texas Red Dirt community. Her career spans nearly 45 years, and includes radio stations in Pittsburgh, New York, Orlando, and Nashville. She arrived in Washington, DC in 2000 to program XM’s Americana channel X Country. Prior to that, she held the position of Americana Editor at Gavin and hosted the syndicated show "This Week in Americana." She continues to curate, executive produce and write for her Americana video site Music Fog. Scott is a founding Americana Music Association member and has served on the Board Of Directors continuously. She was AMA Board President in 2008 and 2009.


Craig Havighurst (Sundays at 8 am and Mondays at 9 pm) is senior producer and journalist for Music City Roots: Live From The Loveless Cafe, a weekly radio show that’s been spotlighting Nashville’s roots music scene since 2009. He will be host of The String, a weekly interview show featuring leading guests talking on culture, media and American music. The roles call on Havighurst’s long track record in music journalism and broadcast production. He’s reported extensively on music for NPR and WPLN-FM and written for a range of publications. He was a staff music writer at The Tennessean from 2001-2004. In 2006 he founded String Theory Media, a music documentary and media consulting company that produced projects for Rounder Records, Sugar Hill Records and the Nashville Symphony among other clients. Craig is also the author of Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City, published by the University of Illinois Press in 2007.



Greg Reish, host of WMOT’s Lost Sounds (Sundays at 7 pm and Saturdays at 9 am), is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, storyteller, and musicologist specializing in the traditional music of the American South. Reish serves as director of the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University, one of the nation’s most important research centers for American vernacular music, and is a recognized authority on old-time and bluegrass instrumental styles, as well as the early American recording industry. He combines instrumental prowess with extensive knowledge of traditional instrumental styles and folksong histories, digging deep into the twisted roots of America’s music. An old-time and bluegrass musician with a strong background in jazz and rock, he has performed across much of the United States and in 2007 made a six-city solo tour of Japan. Reish is a regular performer and workshop leader at festivals, and in 2015 he and Matt Brown released a critically acclaimed album of old-time fiddle and guitar duets entitled, Speed of the Plow.


Odie Blackmon, host of WMOT's Songville (Sundays at 9 pm and Tuesday's at 8 pm) is the MTSU Songwriting Program Coordinator and Grammy-nominated songwriter.  Each week Odie will feature the work of a specific songwriter, showcase a specific song style/theme, or host special guest songwriters, producers, and music business pros to talk about their songs, work, and songwriting influences