West coast radio personality Bill Frater has joined the Bluegrass Country family, producing and hosting a new three-hour show featuring Americana music, Freight Train Boogie.
“Americana is really our musical mix,” according to Bluegrass Country program director Chris Teskey. “When Al Steiner decided to retire we started looking for a knowledgeable and experienced radio host who knew his or her way around Americana, bluegrass and roots music.” Steiner had worked at WAMU and Bluegrass Country as a bluegrass and Americana host, and was the station’s link to Americana artists and their record labels.
“I called some Americana radio representatives for advice on a replacement, and each one of them suggested Bill Frater. They knew Bill, and were aware of his depth of knowledge of radio and bluegrass and Americana music.”
Frater began his radio career in 1977 at a 10-watt college station in Berkeley. “Punk music was exciting the other DJ’s while I was playing bluegrass,” he said. After stints at a couple of other stations in the bay area, he landed at KRCB, where he originated Freight Train Boogie, and a website with the same name. After 20 years, he moved the show to a commercial station KRSH in Santa Rosa. “Somewhere along the way, Americana became a thing and later an organization,” Frater says. He was there when it all started and has watched it grow and change.
Bill Frater explains Americana music in personal terms: “I happen to love country, blues, rock, folk, and soul music, and the best Americana music includes some of these elements. I believe that there’s a place where George Jones and Al Green intersect, and it’s that soulful place that you can feel with your heart.”
Frater now lives in Salem, Oregon, where has a show on public station KMUZ called Billy’s Boogie. He also produces Freight Train Boogie podcasts, with a focus on new independent Americana releases, and the Americana Boogie Radio website.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to bring Freight Train Boogie to the east coast, and beyond to an international audience, on Bluegrass Country,” he says. “It’s great to get to produce a three-hour show, and I think the broad spectrum of music that defines Americana music will make for eclectic and entertaining radio.”
Freight Train Boogie is heard on Tuesday from noon to 3:00 pm Eastern time, and rebroadcast Thursday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 11:00 pm.