“Cousin Lynn” Joiner ’61 flips through a shelf of bluegrass records nestled deep in the woodwork of the WHRB headquarters, picking up one album after another and looking them over lovingly.
“This guy was the fastest picker in the world,” he says, pausing momentarily to admire a record. Halfway down the shelf, he pauses at another, shaking his head. “That’s just bad. I don’t know why that’s in here.”
Joiner is the host of “Hillybilly at Harvard,” the longest-running and, according to some, most-listened-to show on Harvard radio. While the University has seen a lot of changes since the 1970s—three presidents, two Britney marriages, a few women in science—this fixture has remained unchanged.
Almost every Saturday morning since 1975, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., WHRB has filled the waves with traditional country, bluegrass, folk, Cajun, and Tex-Mex tunes, spun by Joiner and his late co-host Brian “Ol’ Sinc” Sinclair ’62.
Sinclair’s passing in 2002 forced Joiner to pick up a new co-host in his hilariously named longtime friend Larry Flint. But beside the change in line-up, not much else has shifted in the studio since 1948, when Dwight Benton “Pappy Ben” Minnich ’51 started the show.
Nowadays, friends, fans, and touring bands drop by whenever possible to say a word, pluck a tune, or simply take a seat and listen. Well-established guests can take part in the time-honored tradition of banging a bent-up old hubcap into the microphone to sound the hour.