“This was my last show and now I am retired and Detours has ended,” Whitman wrote in a short note accompanying the playlist that he posted to the Folk DJ Listserv, an electronic discussion group for DJs and others interested in all folk-based music on the radio.
The Miami Valley native, who joined WYSO in the early 1980s as the host of a program called Stories We Could Tell, has long been involved in folk music as a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter performing solo and with various groups. He trained in radio while serving in the U.S. Army during the 1960s, and years later was encouraged by another folk DJ at WYSO to become a program host on the station.
Following Stories We Could Tell, Whitman hosted Acoustic Alchemy and Alchemy and was the co-host of Midnight Ramble with his friend Ramblin’ Ray for more than a decade before launching Detours. For two hours each Saturday afternoon, Whitman presented an eclectic mix of Celtic, folk, singer-songwriter, old-time and early country music.
“If you’ve grown tired of marching to everyone else’s drummer, tired of others telling you what is good or bad, tired of following fads, and you feel like you’re wandering through a sterile desolate landscape of music that seems to lack purpose, relevance or any aspect of meaning for you, then you’re ready to take a journey with me — a detour,” he wrote in the program description for the station’s website. “We can avoid the fast lane and journey down back roads to places less known and less traveled. Along the way you might find yourself laughing, crying, singing along; it can be a time out, a break. Who knows what wonders, what adventures you might find along the way.”
In a fitting ending to Detours, Whitman closed out the Sept. 27 show with “Down the Road” by Bill Staines. “It was and always has been an honor to be at WYSO for these last 30 plus years, but now I’m looking forward to taking some time off and then going to look for new adventures,” he wrote in his post to FOLKDJ-L.
AcousticMusicScene.com wishes Norm all the best wherever the road leads him.