SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Bill Knowlton was hoping the program director at WCNY might consider adding Bluegrass music to the public radio station back in 1973. And it seems, his timing was good.

He was trying to get rid of one of his Sunday night announcers, so he offered me immediately a two and a half our Sunday night show.

Bill Knowlton

That Sunday night show has lasted 50 years. And Knowlton has done it every week as a volunteer… with no pay.

He absolutely, genuinely loves what he does. He loves broadcasting. He loves Bluegrass. And he loves the Bluegrass community.

People say Jazz is the only form of American music. Well, Bluegrass is too. And it’s the musicians. It’s the fact that it is all acoustic. It’s like a family.

Bill Knowlton

The Fordham-educated Air Force veteran seems an unlikely member of that family. But he’s earned a reputation far beyond Central New York for his passion and love of Bluegrass and its followers.

It’s a southern kind of music really, but Central New York has been blessed to have him showing people what really good music is!

The Delaney Brothers Band has been the host band for 25 years at the Bluegrass Ramble Picnic each summer at Little York, where Knowlton holds forth in his signature floppy hats and wild trousers. His colleagues at WCNY FM turned out to celebrate the SAMMY Hall of Famer as he recorded the anniversary show, to air in his regular time slot, nine to midnight Sunday night.

My mother and father, when they celebrated their 50th anniversasry, my Dad said, ‘Well, I’m gonna renew it once a year from now on.’ So my sights right now are definitely right through the Bluegrass Ramble Picnic on August 6th. Then we’ll see what happens after that.

Bill Knowlton

He’d love to find someone to carry on the tradition. But for now, Bill Knowlton says he’s not going anywhere just yet.