From the Producer's Memoirsâ€¦
"One day in 1940, I received a letter from Woody Guthrie, urging me to put Leadbelly on the air. Woody wrote: 'Life hasn't been so smooth with Huddie, and what makes him good is that he simply wants to sing and tell how it has treated him, and what he has learned from it, and he wants to be honest about it, without any pretty put on. I honestly believe that of all the living folk singers I've ever seen that Leadbelly is ahead of them all.'
"We gave Leadbelly his own 15 minute weekly spot called Folk Songs of America
. He always arrived on time. I could set my clock by his arrival, neatly dressed in a double-breasted grey suit, white shirt and dark bow tie. We would sit in my office and plot out a skeleton script. Once on the air, Leadbelly would ad lib commentaries about his life, his youth on Fanning Street, a red-light district, his experiences with cocaine, backbreaking field work, his sexual exploits and disappointments, and his years on prison farms. He would recall the time spent as the 'eyes' of the great bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson, leading him through southern streets to play for nickels and dimes. After each broadcast Leadbelly would ask me, 'Did you understand everything I said? Folks up north don't understand southern talk, and I want them to know what I'm talking about.' But he really had no cause to worry; the meanings of his songs were never in question. Each program had its own theme. I would listen, enthralled, to rough ballads like 'John Henry,' 'Frankie and Albert,' and 'Railroad Bill.' "
Henrietta Yurchenco writing about her tenure as a producer at WNYC in Around the World in 80 Years: A Memoir,
Music Research Institute Press, 2002, pgs. 48-49.