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Professah Blues to Retire December 31, 2022

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A Note from the Professah'

As Blues Valley moves into the Christmas season, the music begins to focus on the many feelings to which many of us can relate: nostalgia, hope, love, disappointment, surprise, giving, faith, renewal. This December is no different. I am sharing with you some decisions that I have made about Blues Valley.

I could never have imagined how two hours on January 4, 1985, on WMRA, could impact my life in so many different ways. This one -semester gig evolved into a 35-year love of blues music, public radio and those who listen to it.

It has been my goal from the very start to share this music, its history and impact on American society with people like you because blues is much more than something to enjoy, and that ain’t bad. It is rooted in the deep South and the Black experience that, at that time, could only speak truth to power through music.

On December 22, I will celebrate my 80th birthday. The last Saturday in December falls on New Year’s Eve. With these two events in mind, I have decided that this is the right time to turn off the Blues Valley light and put my blues bag on the shelf.

I will be forever grateful for the encouragement, support and friendships that you have shared with me over all these years. This also applies to WMRA. This station took a guy who knew nothing about radio and, at the time, not much about the music I loved. It has been a partnership that has been among the most rewarding in my life. For that, I am grateful.

When I leave the airways on December 31, it is my Christmas wish that you will continue to support your NPR station and its programming. Plans are to replace the Blues Valley time slot with programming that will continue to parallel the music and traditions of blues, as well as presenting some new perspectives on the genre that will keep blues music alive and well in your life. A program titled "Friends of the Blues" will air from 6p-8p starting Saturday January 7th, and later that same night, "American Routes" will debut from 8p-10p, followed by Beale Street Caravan, moving up to 10p. More details to come.

For the next three Saturday nights, I will continue to celebrate the holiday season as only blues performers can do, share their latest recordings and doing some reminiscing.

- Prof

Greg Versen was born and reared in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which is located on the Mississippi River at the southern end of the Mississippi Delta. The Mississippi Delta is reputed to have its beginning in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee and end at Catfish Row, Vicksburg. He graduated from HV Cooper High School and received his BA from Mississippi College, Clinton. At MC Versen was a member of the student government,and was selected for Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. He ran cross country, was captain of the track team and in 2007 he was inducted into the Mississippi College Sports Hall of Fame.
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  • Greg Versen, a.k.a "Professah Blues", began playing the best blues music on WMRA in 1985 and kept it up for about 32 years. He decided to retire from the airwaves on December 31st, 2016, but came out of retirement to bring it back in January, 2019. After a great 4 years of Blues Valley back on the air, The Professah decided to finally hang up his "Madison Blues Shoes" permanently and officially retired with his final show on Saturday, December 31st, 2022.