American Variety Radio™ first aired as a weekly talk show with host Court Lewis on Melbourne, Florida’s WMEL-AM920 in February 2004. After more than 3 years on the AM airwaves across Central Florida, the show joined the program lineup of WFIT-FM, at the Florida Institute of Technology. Building on that base, American Variety has since expanded to several other Public Radio stations around Florida and the Southeast U.S.
As its name implies, American Variety is an eclectic show. Host Court Lewis describes its theme as “…an anti-theme: Anything but politics!” There are a number of recurring topics that pop up here and there, he says. “One of the most frequent is what I call ‘Amazing Americans’—people who are among the best in the country or even the world at what they do, but who fly under the radar and are not well known outside their profession.” Another recurring theme is “’Back in the Day’ Day,” when American Variety explores an interesting and out-of-the-way aspect of the way life used to be in different regions of America, or focuses on a disappearing vestige of country life. Guests here are authors, historians, ranchers, and old-timers who remember the way things were back in the day. Current currents in the arts and pop culture will often attract our attention. Many shows look at interesting aspects of science and technology, from possible new energy sources to defense and security technology, to biotechnoloy to climate change. “Genderology” is another occasional theme, featuring Court talking humorously with a woman—often a doctor, psychologist, or lawyer—on the different points of view between men and women on specific topics. Vive la Difference!
Guests on American Variety include a fascinating mix of explorers, scientists, astronauts, artists, writers, entrepreneurs—all people who have something in common: They followed their dream, no matter how unlikely or unattainable it might have seemed, and succeeded. The show offers an antidote to the constant drone of negative, dispiriting news and political shouting matches in the media, by focusing on inspiring people, positive events, and the rich variety of lifestyles and pursuits that living in America still makes possible.
Court Lewis is a third-generation Miamian, recently transplanted to a horse farm in East Tennessee, with degrees in both chemistry and literature. “I have a ridiculously wide range of interests,” Lewis laughs, “and the show feeds my habit. But the really great thing about hosting the show has been the huge number of interesting people I’ve been able to meet from all walks of life. I didn’t think about that, going in, but it has turned out to be the most rewarding part of the job!”
Court can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org