Hillbilly-Music.com—The People. The Music. The History.
Glenn Osborn
Born:  April 30, 1923
Died:  September 3, 2009
America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame (2004)
WIBW Kansas Roundup
KITE Kansas City, KS
WIBW Topeka, KS
WREN Lawrence, KS

About the Artist

Glenn Osborn was born on a farm in near a small town called Centerville, Kansas. He lived on the farm until he was 18 and decided to do radio work.

Glenn mentioned in an article in the WIBW Round-Up back in 1947 that he always had a dream of working on the radio and had always loved music. His first guitar was one he made himself - out of an old board and had four copper strings. He kept playing that home made instrument to the point where eventually his folks finally got him a real one. But even then, he needed something more - someone to teach him how to play it. His family didn't know much about music and so at first, he tried to teach himself, but that didn't work too well.

But he had to put his guitar away for a while as his mom had to go to the hospital for an operation and he had to do some real work to help out.

. When Glenn was about ten years old, he mentions a lady by the name of Mrs. Seth North moved into our neighborhood. He said the nice thing about his new neighbor was she was a music teacher and on top of that, gave Hawaiian guitar lessons.

With a young boy's enthusiasm, he took to his lessons with excitement, but soon learned it wasn't going to be as easy as he thought. But he kept at it and started to learn enough to play a few tunes.

Glenn's school teacher asked him to play in the Christmas program that year and after a bit of prodding, eventually agreed to. His first public performance gave him some stage fright, but he thought he did okay as he remembers.

Then, word got around and folks wanted to hear him play in other programs to the point where he was playing three and four nights a week.

He continued to perform for the next three years locally, playing and singing the old tunes of the day. But someone else must have heard about him or put in a good word. He got a letter from Ethel Jeanne Gardner, who was a WIBW Home Talent Show director. She invited Glenn to play at one of the shows in Mound City, Kansas, which became his first radio experience. From that appearance, he got an invitation to appear as a guest on WIBW.

He played a few more of those home talent shows. While at one of those shows and mingling with the other performers, a few of them wanted Glenn to join their group and go to Kansas City and try their luck on radio. He said they worked on a few numbers and went to audition at KITE. They did well enough to stay and play there a while, but the rest of the group decided it wasn't working out the way they hoped and so they disbanded.

He then went to work with Jesse Wright, known as the Lonesome Yodler. With Jesse, they did pretty good, working on two programs a day, but military service was next for Jesse. With Jesse in the service, Glenn went to WREN in Lawrence, Kansas to work with Ted West and his Range Riders. His stint with Ted West's group lasted about eight months.

He came to WIBW in 1942 and was there until he had to go into the Army in November 1943. His service time included seven months stateside and 21 months in Europe. In April 1946, he was discharged from the service and returned to Topeka and WIBW and wanted to make Topeka his home as he had his eye on a gal and was going to marry her if they could find a place to live.

Credits & Sources

  • WIBW Round-Up; March 1947; Published by WIBW Round-Up; Topeka, Kansas