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Tom “Cat” Reeder signed off his last show on WAMU’s Bluegrass Country June 19, just as he’d done at the end of every broadcast: “I hope you live as long as you want to, and never want as long as you live.”
Reeder died at 77 in Virginia on Saturday. According to WAMU Senior Music Producer Chris Teskey, the broadcaster had suffered a heart attack June 22, putting him into a coma from which he never woke up.
With a hint of a southern twang, his deep, soothing voice had echoed through the radio airwaves since 1956. From Arlington, Va., to Wheaton, Md., Reeder shared his love for traditional country music via several radio programs, including his own, “The Tom Reeder Show.” The Country Music Broadcasters Hall of Fame inducted Reeder to their Nashville-based organization in 1990. “Everybody loved Tom ‘Cat’ Reeder,” says Teskey. “There was nobody that I ever met that didn’t love that guy.”
During the broadcast for the 45th anniversary of WAMU’s Bluegrass Country last night, original hosts Dick Spottswood and Gary Henderson dedicated the show to its former host. From noon to 1 p.m. today, the station hosted an hour-long special about Reeder on 105.5 FM.
“He had a good run and died with his boots on,” Teskey says. “He did radio right up to the end of his life.”