Steve Martin is the first to say this is unreal.
The Northern Kentucky trial attorney for 40 years was named "Broadcaster of the Year" by the International Bluegrass Music Association at its convention in Raleigh, N.C. this week.
"I was absolutely stunned. I'm not a DJ," says Martin, who hosts the syndicated Unreal Bluegrass show to five stations from his home studio in Edgewood. "I came back to my hotel room, and just sat here for an hour."
The Kenton County native and Dixie Heights High School graduate has been playing banjo since attending Northern Kentucky University in the early 1970s. While practicing law during by day at Ziegler & Schneider in Crescent Springs, he played banjo at night with various groups over the years.
Martin started the weekly three-hour Unreal Bluegrass show in 2012 as an online program. It switched to on-air syndication first with Delmarva Public Radio at Salisbury University in the Deleware-Maryland-Virginia (Delmarva) peninsula.
Each show includes Martin's interview with a musician or band. He famously interviewed comedian-musician-actor Steve Martin about his Grammy-winning bluegrass career in 2015. The interviews are archived at his Unreal Bluegrass website.
The conversations are serious, probing discussions with bluegrass artists, not unlike the interviews he conducts researching a civil or criminal court case. His law experience preparing clients for a trial helps him establish a comfort level with his interviewees.
"I'm a trial lawyer. I'm not going to let you (interviewee) fail. I don't do gotcha questions," says Martin, an IBMA board member.
Martin received the award Thursday, during the week-long convention. The award was voted on by the members. During the week, Martin also recorded about a dozen interviews which he says he'll play on shows through the end of the year.
"I'm not a trained DJ," he says. "I just talk about music."