Groce has hosted the program since its inception in 1983. "Kathy's been coming on the show for more than 30 years now," he said in a statement. "And in all that time and with all her success, she really hasn't changed who she is at her core. She embodies the best of West Virginia the same way Mountain Stage does, and that's how we knew she'd be the perfect person for this job."
Mattea has appeared on the show more than any other female artist and is second only overall to fellow West Virginia native Tim O’Brien.
"There's something quintessentially West Virginia about Mountain Stage," she said in a statement. "Beyond the world-class performances, beyond the collaborative atmosphere, beyond how much fun it is, I think the show offers a really important insight into the people and the culture that makes West Virginia so special, and I’m always thrilled to help share that with the world."
Guests on Mattea’s first episode, which begins airing Saturday, Sept. 11, are St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Shemekia Copeland, A.J. Croce, Ona and West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman.
Produced out of Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W. Va., each two-hour episode of Mountain Stage is recorded in front of a live audience and airs on nearly 300 public radio stations nationwide.
As part of the new season, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will tape a show at the Culture Center Theater as part of the Kennedy Center’s 50th anniversary season. The show will feature Asleep at the Wheel, Tim O’Brien, Carsie Blanton and more.