MCDANIEL LARRY WAYNE Larry McDaniel, the popular host of the "Arkansas Traveler Show" on Detroit's Public radio station WDET, died on January 4 at his home in Grosse Pointe Park. McDaniel, a native of El Dorado, Arkansas, began his radio career during his service in the U.S. Navy, entertaining the crew by playing 78 RPM's on a $24 turntable hanging from the pipes of the ship and broadcast through the intercom. After his honorable discharge from the Navy he set out to travel the U.S., ended up in Detroit in 1963, and began working in a Chrysler factory. Larry soon earned a reputation among his friends and co-workers as a spinner of extraordinary yarns, and he adopted the name "The Arkansas Traveler," after a famous Arkansas storyteller from the 1800's. In 1977 he was introduced to Judy Adams, Program Director at WDET. Interested by his deep voice and authentic southern accent, Judy discovered his vast knowledge of Bluegrass, Folk and Country music and soon made him host of "The Arkansas Traveler" show, the only Bluegrass show on Detroit airwaves. He introduced the genre to many Detroiters who had never heard this kind of music before. He was on the air for more than 30 years. He was the inspiration and artistic director for the WDET Bluegrass Festival, held at Meadowbrook, which became the station's largest fundraiser. He was a charismatic, unique, friendly, very funny individual who could make you laugh until you cried. He will be sorely missed by his friends and listeners. He is survived by his wife, Jane Rayburn, his sisters-in-law, Margaret and Rita Rayburn, brother-in-law Bill Rayburn, and his niece, Sarah Jane Rayburn. A memorial service will be announced soon.
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wish i had $10 for every tape i have from his show,he was the best and i think i heard him from day one. dark day when he went off he air. stay strong!gene
Larry's contribution to the quality of life here in Detroit is immeasurable. He provided us more than great music, he connected us to a culture and great American traditions that are too easily ignored by most people. Thank you Larry for shinning a very bright light on all things bluegrass. You get a personal standing O from me.
Jayne.... Mike and I are so sorry for your loss. Larry was a great guy. When we talk about home, his name always comes up as someone that we miss. We will always remember his voice making us smile on The Arkansas Traveler, and our fun at Sunrise.
Larry and I worked together for years at Chrysler and he told me about his radio show which I found very interesting even though I was a Doo Wop type guy. I ran into Larry after our retirements in a bar where we shared a few. I will always remember him as a strong but gental soul.