Serving Your Country Saturdays 10am-noon is the first-ever radio show completely dedicated to delivering news, stories, requests and tributes for America’s men and women in uniform. The show itself plays a lot of music as we’re heard on some of America’s top country music radio stations, but in between the songs, we do our best to keep you up to date on things happening in the lives of our everyday heroes in America. Whether we talk about someone in the armed forces or we share a story about our first responders in our home communities, Serving Your Country recognizes that it’s these brave men and women at home and abroad who protect and preserve our lifestyle. They deserve a salute of their own, and we’re here to give it to them!
Ramblin’ Ray Stevens was destined to be in “Raydio” … just ask his mom Pat, who bought him his first Mr. Microphone at age eight. Ray was always imitating Larrry Lujack from WLS who he listened to as a kid. When riding in the car with his dad back then, Ray wasn’t singing along with the songs on the radio … he was pretending to be introducing them! Apparently that was fun for Ray, and not so much fun for the rest of the family on road trips.
Ray’s radio career started out in 1987 when a local Program Director needed a nice car for a local parade. In typical Chicago fashion, Ray made a deal … he told that programmer, “You can use my car (a 1987 Mustang Convertible) if I can have a weekend air shift.” The deal was done and Ray has been on the air ever since.
For the past 21 years Ramblin’ Ray has been part of the morning show at WUSN Chicago, known locally as US 99.5, CBS Radio’s Country outlet in that market. There have been many changes over those two decades plus, but Ray says that the last 5 years with his “radio wife,” Lisa Dent, have been the best.
Ray has won or been nominated for just about every major award in the radio business including several Country Music Association (CMA) and Academy of Country Music (ACM) broadcast awards. For Ray, winning the CMA major market personality of the year in 2010 was a career highlight, and Lisa and Ray’s morning show has won the Country Radio Broadcasters’ Major Market talent award for the third year in a row! Lisa and Ray were also nominated for the coveted Marconi award. In April of 2015, Ray won the ACM Award along with Lisa, his morning show co-host for On Air Personality at WUSN.
“The awards are cool to win, but my favorite award was from the Marines,” Ray asserted. Ramblin’ Ray won the ‘Semper Fi’ award for his work on behalf of our troops both at home and abroad, and it is the highest Marine honor to be bestowed upon a civilian.
Outside of radio, Ray hangs mostly with his kids, Cheyenne, Conner and Cassie. He is an avid outdoorsman, an accomplished Road and Mountain biker and a water skier. But Ray’s favorite activity is Snowmobile Racing (in the winter, obviously). Ray is currently the 2013 Eagle River Wisconsin world champion in the 250 class.
And regarding acting as host for Serving Your Country, Ray points that it’s the kind of radio he loves because it makes a difference in people’s lives. “I’m very proud of Serving Your Country … it’s our way of saying thanks to those that give. Without the dedication and service of our men and women in uniform, we’d be lost. If you can take a little time each week to do something to thank the folks who provide our freedom, that’s huge. And even though they’ll say ‘it’s just their job,’ trust me they LOVE the gesture!”
Singer-songwriter Laura Bryna will join Ray Stevens for several segments per week on Serving Your Country to deliver requests, the “Letters from Home” and other listener interaction on the show. Laura has a lot of experience providing entertainment and moral support for our troops and their families. She is a celebrity spokesperson for the U.S. Air National Guard as well as The National Guard Youth Foundation, a group that works with at-risk youth. Laura has been on a number of military bases and has donned a uniform herself to go airborne in an F-16 fighter jet.
The Maryland native released her debut album titledTrying to Be Me in 2008, and that same year, also released the song “Hometown Heroes” which has become a popular anthem at her many appearances at various military functions. Laura Bryna continues to write and record, and while she loves the glitz and glamour of entertaining, she is especially gratified when called upon to perform for military personnel.