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Peter Thompson

Producer and Host, Bluegrass Signal

Peter Thompson's first radio-like experiences involved recording concerts (hand-held mic + cassette deck), making mix tapes for friends, and attending/hosting listening parties with other enthusiasts. These proclivities found a broadcast outlet at Vancouver Co-op Radio, where, starting in 1975, Peter not only produced a wide variety of programs but also served as Program Director and Music Director. For many years, Peter also was a freelance producer for CBC Radio, and taught in a college media production program. Following a move to the Bay Area, Peter hosted programs at KCSM and KPFA before launching Bluegrass Signal on KALW in October, 1995. Since 2004, the program has been syndicated on Bluegrass Country Radio, the world’s foremost outlet for acoustic and roots musics.

Peter was Artistic Director, Publicist, and a member of Redwood Bluegrass Associates' Board Of Directors for more than 20 years; served on the Freight & Salvage's BOD for eight years; and co-founded Vancouver’s Pacific Bluegrass & Old Time Music Society and served on its board for a decade. He is currently a volunteer for the California Bluegrass Association and an active member of the International Bluegrass Music Association, which has nominated him three times as Broadcaster Of the Year.

Peter has produced three albums with music by SF Bay Area musicians for distribution to supporters of KALW and Bluegrass Country during their membership campaigns: "In the Deep Rolling Hills of San Francisco" (2013), "Live On Arrival" (2017), and "Turn Your Radio On" (2021 double album). Since 2013, he’s maintained a web site (www.bgsignal.com) providing Bluegrass Signal playlists and previews; a continually-updated calendar of Bay Area concerts, festivals, jam sessions, and instructional opportunities; a list of relevant area bluegrass and old time bands, venues, organizations, and radio programs; a partial history of the music in this area; and other music-related writings. The calendar-related information on this site is the basis for a monthly newsletter that is distributed to more than 2000 subscribers.

Peter’s also excited about mentoring and encouraging others to present bluegrass and old time music on the radio; both Allegra Thompson and Leah Wollenberg are also fans (and musicians), and have become accomplished producer/hosts. Radio legend Sully Roddy was lured out of semi-retirement, and now has regular programs on both KALW and Bluegrass Country. And he regularly features area musicians and fans as guest hosts and/or performers on Bluegrass Signal.

Peter is married to Kathy Kallick, who also happens to be his favorite singer/songwriter/band leader/guitar player; neither of their daughters, sad to say, share their passion for music from the true vine, but a mother-daughters country collaboration is in the works. He grew up in Michigan, quite a distance from those "deep rolling hills," but the little hairs on the back of his neck went straight up the first time he heard the Stanley Brothers sing, and not much has changed since then.