What do you love about country music?
I love how real this music is. It goes beyond any other kind of music in the realness of life. The music we play speaks to how music can connect to someone listening by themselves or listening at work or in the car. From the rich to the poor, blue-collar to business, single mom, dad to the wife & husband. No matter who you are, there is a song for you and I get to play it on 96.7 Merle.
What do you like about being on the radio?
I get to make a difference. You could be having the worst day and something I say or play could change your outlook and make your day better. If I can make one person smile, I’ve done my job. When you are at work, I want to be your happy place. I’m that escape you can listen to because I have the stars and the songs that can help your day go faster. Try it for a week and see if you don’t feel better at work.
Who is your favorite country legend?
I can’t believe you want me to name one. One? I’ve loved this music for so long I don’t know how people pick from the rich history and the music we have today. I have several legends I love. Waylon Jennings first and then Merle Haggard.
Who is your favorite new country star?
Miranda Lambert. She says what is on her mind. Isn’t that what we all wish we could do all the time? She has a band. I have a band (smile here, I am trying to be fun about why I might love her). She isn’t afraid to sing what she wants and how she wants to sing. There’s a lot to admire about her songs, her perspective. She is a true artist.
96.7 Merle makes a big deal out of playing the songs other country stations seem to be missing these days. With such a rich variety of artists and forgotten favorites, as well as what y’all call “only the new country you love,” what do you like about mixing all these songs and artists on the radio?
I think it’s a great thing because our radio station represents our local East Tennessee people. Not just listening, but those of us who serve you on 96.7 Merle and serve this community. This is our place. Our music has such a great appeal. This isn’t about old music or new music. It’s about the best music and it is about actually playing the favorites that haven’t been on country radio or songs that might not fit some national company playlist. 96.7 Merle is owned by someone truly local living here in East Tennessee. They want us playing music Knoxville and East Tennessee loves. What a relief that is when you figure out that’s one of the things that makes this radio station so different. You only have to listen to 96.7 Merle to hear that difference. We’re not hiding it. When you can hear a new song and then hear something you grew up on (they call that ‘raised on country’ where I come from), it helps you to reflect on what makes you who you are today. A lot of people are proud of who we are in East Tennessee and 96.7 Merle is for those people. Welcome aboard! We love you are here and we want to make every experience you have with us excellent. It’s just radio, but when you are at work or alone in the car, we’re there for you and this is East Tennessee on the radio.
When you are on the air, how do you make it special for someone just tuning in to 96.7 Merle?
I remember what it is like to listen to the radio before I was on radio. When you listen to my show on 96.7 Merle, I want you to hear so much music that you love and I want you to experience a journey with me. I’m really just a guide. Tuning in on my show is like a journey of the songs you grew up on and the best songs today can really entertain you and make your day happier. This radio station and my show is for you. It’s a place where you can go, be listened to by us and where we play the songs you want to hear and not some big corporations idea of what they think East Tennessee should get for entertainment. That’s meaningful for me and I hope it is for you, too.