Sound from the Soil & Soul
The music of the Arkansas Delta is the music of America. With roots in gospel or "church music,"the blues, jazz, country, and rock n'roll flowed from the rich, fertile landscape bordering the lower Mississippi River and spread out across the country and the world. Follow the Arkansas Delta Music Trail to experience the sounds that shaped the land, its people, and the nation.
KFFA 1630 HELENA
King Biscuit Time
"King Biscuit Time" first aired live on November 21, 1941, on Helena, Arkansas's KFFA 1360 AM radio. Since that time, the program has become the longest-running daily blues radio show in the United States, as well as an influential platform for up-and-coming blues performers. The award-winning program has aired more times that the "Grand Ole Opry" and has outlasted "American Bandstand" by at least a generation.Legendary bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson was the original host of King Biscuit Time, playing live with Robert Perkins and James Peck Curtis-in the KFFA studio. The show was named after King Biscuit Flour, distributed throughout the Arkansas Delta by Interstate Grocer Company. The company agreed to sponsor a radio production for Sonny Boy and his band in exchange for live commercials for King Biscuit Flour.
King Biscuit Time was the first regular radio show to feature blues and has influenced generations of delta blues and rock n' roll artists whose sounds are based on the raw energy of Sonny Boy Williamson's music. The daily programming of Sonny boy Williamson, Pinetop Perkins, Robert Jr. Lockwood, and other Delta blues legends laid the foundation for the blues, rock, pop, and hip-hop music of today.
Award-winning "Sunshine" Sonny Payne has hosted the show since 1951 and has been a presence on King Biscuit Time since its inception in 1941. A recognized blues musician in his own right Payne welcomes visitors to the live broadcast each week at noon. In keeping with tis tradition of broadcasting live music from the studio, King Biscuit Time still welcomes artists in the studio almost weekly, and the show's record-setting 15,000 plus broadcasts document the formation of a true American are form. Under Sunshine Sonny's direction, King Biscuit Time was awarded the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award in 1992, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of radio and broadcast journalism.
The Delta Cultural Center became "home" to King Biscuit Time in the early 1990's , and the show is broadcast live daily from a special studio in downtown Helena and streamed around the world via KFFA's website, www.kffa.com
Arkansas Delta Music Trail
Paid for with a combination of state funds and regional tourism promotion association fundswww.deltabyways.com