Fairfield University radio deejay inducted in the Western Swing Society of Seattle's Hall of Fame
As a 2002 inductee into the Pioneers of Western Swing Hall of Fame, Mike Gross has found many birds of a feather. The likeable deejay behind "Swingin' West," a weekly radio program that runs on WVOF-FM, Fairfield University radio, was inducted at the Western Swing Music Society of Seattle's 12th annual Pioneers of Western Swing Festival.
Mr. Gross was attracted to Western Music by the 1930s and 1940s Singing Cowboy movies, with Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Eddie Dean, Jimmy Wakely and the Sons of the Pioneers when they were introduced on TV in the 1950s. First broadcast on WSHU-FM on Sunday, February 17, 1980, "Swingin' West" is now a WVOF staple, running on Friday nights from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. on FM at 88.5. Mr. Gross' program is also disseminated worldwide via the Internet.
In 2000, the Academy of Western Artists honored Mr. Gross as deejay of the year in Fort Worth, Texas. Mr. Gross was the first non-guitar player to receive the appreciation award from the Pedal Steel Guitar Association in 1992. He also reviews Western Swing albums and books for niche publications and he is the M.C. and announcer for Fairfield Counts - an 18-piece Glenn Miller/Duke Ellington type band - for their summer concerts.
"Although I have been strongly dedicated to the preservation and awareness of this music for the past 22 years, I could not dream in my wildest imagination that I would be inducted into the same Hall of Fame as Western Swing greats like Bob Wills, Johnny Gimble, Hank Thompson, Cindy Walker, Spade Cooley, etc.," Mr. Gross said. "I feel very honored and flattered."
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Posted on September 15, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 68