Larry McDaniel, WDET-FM’s ‘Arkansas Traveler,’ dies at 72

By Dru Sefton

Larry McDaniel, known for decades on public radio in Detroit as “The Arkansas Traveler,” died Jan. 4 after a lengthy illness, reports the Detroit News. He was 72.

He was a fixture on WDET-FM from 1977 to 2009, with his bluegrass show that was part of a block of American roots music on Saturdays. A 2002 press release marking the program”s 25th anniversary noted it was one of the station’s most popular offerings, and one of the longest-running bluegrass shows in the country.

“Larry was such an amazing host,” former WDET host Matt Watroba, now on WKSU in Kent, Ohio, told the newspaper. “He loved the music and knew so much about it. He presented it always with this very positive, wry sense of humor. And here’s this guy with this Arkansas accent in the middle of Detroit, this very urban area.”

McDaniel was born on Dec. 22, 1940, in tiny El Dorado, Ark. “He adopted his radio moniker from a real-life character in rural Arkansas who used to travel from town to town, telling stories in return for being fed and put up for the night,” the newspaper said.

A memorial service is planned for the spring.

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