More Than Just A Story A Look at oxford's premiere radio show

“In five, four, three, two, one…”

Anyone who’s found themselves listening to Thacker Mountain Radio Hour is all too familiar with this simple countdown by the show’s host, Jim Dees.

Unchanging and uncomplicated, it lures audiences back to a time when radio served as not only a medium for music, but as a space for community. It is the beckoning into a world that is not so much concerned with showcasing the best new act as it is respecting tradition. In a time where music and books are instantaneously available, it is refreshing to find a group of people dedicated to honing the art of oral storytelling that has given the South so much of its local flavor.

Guest Duo at Thacker Mountain Radio

Thacker Mountain Radio has been a staple of the Oxford community for nearly 20 years. First known as “Words and Music,” it humbly began in Blind Jim’s bar in 1997. Quickly gaining a local following, its name was changed to reflect the highest point in Lafayette County, the Thacker Mountain Radio Tower. Shortly thereafter the show moved to its nearly permanent home at Off Square Books, where it has broadcasted free entertainment to listeners near and far ever since.

“I think what makes Thacker so unique is its balance between the conventional and the new,” says the show’s producer, Kate Teague. “You get a feeling for the old while being able to discover rising artists [across the South]. It’s amazing that we’ve been able to transform an outdated form of communication into something new and exciting.”

Thacker Mountain Radio 2016

Mississippi Broadcasting picked up Thacker in 2001, helping the show’s entertainment reach a larger audience statewide. Listeners can tune in at 7 p.m. on Saturdays to hear the sounds of house band the Yalobushwhackers, as well as works by both new and esteemed musicians and authors. Past appearances on the show include the Drive By-Truckers, Elvis Costello, Marty Stuart, and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk.

Thacker Mountain at Off Square Books

Despite becoming a nationally recognized program, Thacker remains loyal to its roots. “In the end, all we want to do is offer quality entertainment,” says Kate. “We don’t feel like it’s necessary to change what we do just because the times are changing. We’re successful because we respect our past… it’s why our listeners keeping coming back. They feel like they’re a part of something, part of a family.”

It is with this family atmosphere that Thacker Mountain Radio keeps successfully moving forward while toeing its past. The people of Thacker live in the present, unafraid of the future of live entertainment. Instead, they channel their energies into something greater, something more wholesome. Their goal is to simply showcase the honesty of good storytelling and good music. It is an uncomplicated formula. But it is sure to strike a chord in the hearts of every audience member.

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