“Sunshine” Sonny Payne is a legend. He’s been the host of King Biscuit Time, the longest-running daily blues radio show in the United States, since 1951. Musical legends such as B.B. King and Arkansas’s own Levon Helm have been quoted as saying that listening to his shows influenced their musical styles. He’s known all the blues legends, from Robert Lockwood Jr. to Sonny Boy Williamson. He played for Tex Ritter. He was a close friend of bandleader Harry James. I’ve seen photos of him with Liza Minnelli. I personally greeted Elvis Costello at the front door of the Delta Cultural Center when he came to meet Mr. Sonny. Just last month, Mr. Sonny was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Like I said, he’s a legend!
Tomorrow is another milestone for “Sunshine” Sonny Payne and his beloved King Biscuit Time. The show celebrates 16,000 broadcasts and, as he’s been since 1951, Sonny Payne will be at the helm. The show is broadcast live from the Delta Cultural Center Visitors Center, located at 141 Cherry Street, in Helena-West Helena. The show begins at 12:15 p.m. On any given day, you never know what to expect from a broadcast…a guitar player from Japan, a singer from California or a couple of fans stopping in from Norway. Or maybe Elvis Costello or Bruce Hornsby…I’ve seen them both stop by to pay homage to Mr. Sonny.
I’ll be there tomorrow, so make sure to check out www.Whrrl.com or Arkansas Tourism’s Facebook page for photos during the live broadcast. Also, if you’re in the area, stop by!! Mr. Sonny always loves to have visitors…and he REALLY loves putting them on air!
If you’re in the vicinity, you can listen to King Biscuit Time live at 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. weekdays on 1360 AM. You can also access recorded versions of the show at www.KFFA.com.