DIck Hageman


In October 2017, broadcaster Dick Hageman celebrates the 35th anniversary of his folk program Good Folk, which airs Thursday nights at 9:00 pm. In his own words, Dick describes his journey to becoming a WMNR broadcaster and how Good Folk has taken shape over the years.

“Around the late 1970s, there was a big band broadcaster named ‘Ken Mitchell’ (a.k.a. Elliot David) at WMNR who was an administrator colleague in the Stratford School System. He introduced me to WMNR and invited me in to present the news on his program on Thursday nights. We were located at Masuk High School at that time and had a teletype machine. Elliot knew I was active on radio for three years when I was in college (WTCC at Central Connecticut State University).

One thing led to another and I was invited to become a classical music broadcaster which I did for several years. When Kurt [Anderson, General Manager] came on board, I asked if I could begin a weekly half-hour program called ‘Simply Folk.’  Kurt approved and I was off and running. In October of 1982, I broadcast the first program featuring the music of Pete Seeger.

The program eventually expanded to an hour and then later two hours. The title changed to ‘Good Folk.’

The original switch was easy. I broadcast two and a half hours of classical music with the additional half hour of folk music. As listeners know, there is close relationship between folk music and classical. As a matter of fact, some musicologists believe folk music is the oldest form of music. Many classical composers rely on folk music sources from around the world for their inspiration. Folk music is warm and enduring, even funny, sometimes. It is a mirror of culture, history, and mankind.

Early on in college, I enjoyed many of the pop tunes of the time but hearing The Kingston Trio, Harry Belafonte, The Weavers, etc. really ‘grabbed my ear.’ I attended a very early Smothers Brothers concert on campus. I was backstage at the Bushnell watching an exciting live Clancy Brothers concert. I was hooked by folk music with its history, sincerity, clarity, and concern for the human condition. One of my favorite songs at that time was Peter Paul & Mary's ‘Lemon Tree’ (pleasing harmonies) and later, Bob Dylan's ‘Blowin'  in the Wind.’ My interest grew more as I heard Joan Baez, The Brothers Four, Theodore Bikel, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, Tom Rush and many others. I discovered folk music was varied and included traditional, country, bluegrass, blues, singer-songwriter, Americana and world music.

As with most people's varied interests, if you enjoy something, the motivation is there to learn and hear more about whatever it may be. Classical music is a great example of that too. 

Currently, I have and extensive record/CD folk collection that I am often referring back to, especially for The Top 100 Folk Gems programs during the 35th anniversary in October. Occasionally when I can't find a particular artist or song, Kurt will assist me by downloading what I am looking for.

During these last several decades, there are so many outstanding artists on the folk scene: John Gorka, Patti Larkin, Bill Staines, John McCutcheon, The Red Mollys, Cheryl Wheeler, Michael Johnathon, Christine Lavin; the list is almost endless. And let us not forget the stalwarts who are still performing: Tom Paxton, Livingston Taylor, James Taylor, Judy Collins,Tom Rush, Gordon Lightfoot...

On the first Thursday of each month, Good Folk presents New Folk, which is a showcase for new folk releases by both emerging and established folk artists. Other weeks, there are themed programs focusing on varied topics ranging from railroad songs to cowboys; from ‘Late Greats’ (like Sandy Denny and Nick Drake) to The Carter Family; from patriotic songs to songs of Irish Immigration; from blues to bluegrass.  The different themes each week reflect the varied nature of this awesome ‘music of the people.’”
Join Dick for Good Folk each Thursday at 9:00 pm, followed at 11:00 pm by New Music Gallery, Dick’s one-hour program of realxing and contemplative music from the new age genre.

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