Like its host Bob Sherman himself, Woody's Children got its start at New York's eminent classical music station, WQXR, where he began as a typist and moved up to music director before ever going on the air. "I had already started a program and run it for a number of years, called Folk Music of the World, which I didn't host, but I programmed and scripted," Sherman recalls.
In the late 1960s, he discovered that the sought-after teenage demographic was more interested in anti-war protest songs than in Russian gypsy songs and decided to introduce a program featuring contemporary folk music. Thus, Woody's Children debuted in 1969 with Sherman as its host. "Oddly enough, despite my stiffness and weird-sounding voice, apparently I hit a nerve," he jokes. "It was an immediate success."
Named for a phrase coined by Pete Seeger to describe the singer-songwriters following in Woody Guthrie's footsteps, Woody's Children has helped launch the careers of Christine Lavin and Julie Gold, among others. Over the years the likes of Judy Collins, Odetta, Tom Paxton, Peter, Paul & Mary and Pete Seeger himself have performed live on the program, which has garnered a number of prestigious broadcasting awards for its unusual approach to music. "I try to involve intriguing patterns, and I have thematic concepts," Sherman explains. "There's always a thread, some kind of connection that leads one song to the next."
Woody's Children was a natural addition to WFUV when, in 1999, WQXR concluded that the program no longer fit its format and cancelled it. WFUV wasted no time in picking up the show (and its dedicated host) and has aired it on Sundays since September 1999.
Robert Sherman (born July 1932) is an award-winning American radio broadcaster, bestselling author, music critic, writer, and educator. He achieved great success as a host of such radio programs as the award-winning folk music program “Woody's Children” and the nationally broadcast “The Listening Room” which were broadcast by station WQXR in New York.
As an author, Sherman has been a music critic and columnist for The New York Times for more than forty years as well as the author of numerous books including two bestsellers he co-authored with pianist and comedian Victor Borge. He is the author of the book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music, published in 1997.
As an educator, he has served in the faculty of the Juilliard School for nearly twenty years. He is the son of famous pianist Nadia Reisenberg and the nephew of noted thereminist Clara Rockmore.
A full hour of live interview and songs with Yours Truly broadcast on WFUV the Sunday 24th September.
A clip featuring a rather frantic live rendition of the Bagel Song from Bob Sherman's 'Woody's Children' - broadcast 17 September 2017 trailing the above show.