Eddie Stubbs WSM Retirement Leaves Big Hole in The Circle

A titan of the airwaves and our generation’s voice of country music, Eddie Stubbs, has announced that after 25 years of service at The Legend WSM-AM in Nashville as a DJ and announcer at the Grand Ole Opry, he is retiring. Stubbs announced the retirement on Tuesday night (7-22) during his regular weeknight radio show.

Stubbs gave no explanation for the retirement, but simply stated, “I have had an extremely blessed 25 years at WSM, and as the third-longest tenured announcer in the Grand Ole Opry’s history. The experiences and friendships have allowed me to live a lot of dreams. Needless to say, I will be forever grateful.”

Grant Turner served for 47 years, and Hairl Hensley served for 35 years as Opry announcers. However, starting his tenure at WSM on July 8, 1996, it makes Eddie Stubbs the longest-serving evening DJ in the legendary radio station’s 95 year history.

A fiddle player as well, Eddie Stubbs moved to Nashville on March 21, 1995 to perform with The Queen of Country Kitty Wells and her husband Johnnie Wright. After only a week of being in town, Stubbs was hired on part-time at WSM, and 17 days later he was auditioning to be the Grand Ole Opry announcer.

“Eddie has been a great friend to the Opry, to the Opry’s artists, and to listeners around the world,” says Opry Executive Producer Dan Rogers. “I have no doubt that students of the Opry and of country music will for years turn to his recorded conversations with legends including Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart and so many more to learn about their careers and the era in which Eddie has made such an impact at the Opry and on WSM.”

Eddie Stubbs will officially sign off on July 29th from his WSM post. For the interim, Jeff Hoag will be filling in during Eddie’s time slot. WSM also plans to tribute Stubbs with programming leading up to his departure.

The 58-year-old Stubbs is originally from Gaithersburg, Maryland, and regularly played bluegrass, including in The Johnson Mountain Boys. Throughout the 80’s he also worked as a DJ at WYII in Maryland, and eventually at the prestigious WAMU bluegrass station in Washington D.C.

Beyond The Opry and WSM, Eddie Stubbs also appeared as the on-camera announcer for the six seasons of The Marty Stuart Show on RFD-TV, where many put the face to the name and voice, and became fans. Stubbs also has served on the boards of the Country Music Association, The International Bluegrass Music Association, and the Country Music Hall of Fame. He’s also a CMA winner, earning the Large Market Air Personality of the Year award in 2002, and is a Country Music Radio Hall of Famer.

But beyond his professional duties, Eddie Stubbs is considered the congenial face and voice of country music for many. A virtual encyclopedia of country music knowledge, full of stories from his tenure at the Opry and WSM, he is an irreplaceable institution of a personality leaving at a time when the voices, characters, and timbre of American country music is changing, and not always for the better.

Though there is no stated reason for Eddie’s retirement at the moment, he has been missing some shifts at WSM lately, leading to some to speculate he might be dealing with health issues. Other have wondered with The Opry’s television-based Circle Network launching this year with Bobby Bones as the primary face if Eddie felt like it was time to move on.

No matter the reason, the hole Eddie Stubbs leaves will not be filled easily, no different than the legends of the stage that Stubbs introduced for a quarter century.

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