Bluz Radio & Entertainment
Smokin' Bluz premiered on 99.7 WRFX
"The Fox" in Charlotte, NC on Christmas night 1997. From that initial
broadcast Smokin' Bluz earned a permanent slot on Sundays from
7-10pm. The show is produced and hosted by Rick Ballew, a
veteran of Charlotte radio since 1977. In 2002 The Blues Foundation awarded Smokin' Bluz "Best
Commercial Radio Blues Program".
The show was designed to fit in
the Classic Rock format. It features Blues from the
founders and developers of the genre such as, Muddy Waters, John
Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf and others that added electric guitars
to the Blues. We combine those with the artist that record
on the major Blues labels and tour the club circuits, like Tommy
Castro, Walter Trout, Eric Sardinas, Buddy Guy, and so on.
These artists are well known in the Blues "industry",
but don't get commercial airplay. Then we add artists that
are played daily in the Classic Rock format, but are based in
the Blues, such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Z Z Top,
etc. This mixture makes a fast-paced music intensive show.
Rick has developed relationships
with artists and record labels and is usually the first person
they contact when they have a new release or are coming to the
area. Some of the artists have even scheduled dates around
Sundays in Charlotte, just to be on the show for 20
minutes. George Thorogood discovered the song "Greedy
Man" on Smokin' Bluz when he was put on "hold" by
the phone system. He didn't get to talk to Rick that
night, but saw him the next weekend...found out who had recorded
the song and added it to his CD "Ride 'til I Die".