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Dixie Chicks: Hometown Country Radio Stations

Dallas has the distinction of being one of the nation's top radio markets. That's not always a good thing, though, because it raises the stakes to a nearly ridiculous level. The drive to make money has led to corporate giants like Chancellor Media taking over huge chunks of spectrum and "reformatting" good stations like the venerable Q102 (see the September 3, 1998 story in the Dallas Observer).

But as far as country music is concerned, we're lucky. We may only have one rock station, but we have no less than four full-time country stations! Compare this with Chicago's single country station, New York City's zero, or London's lone AM country station.

On this page, I count our blessings. I've detailed the distinctions between the country stations, and even included some other notable local broadcasters.

    [Young Country logo]
  • Superstar Country 105.3 (KYNG)
    Request Line: 214-787-1053

    In January 1999, Young Country "grew up" and became Superstar Country. They even created a new web site at superstarcountry.com. But the music didn't really change, and there was never a real marketing push, so in August or September they changed back to their original name.

    Throught these changes, the station has always been focused more or less exclusively on the most popular songs in mainstream country music. While critics may decry the NashVegas marketing machine -- including myself on occasion -- the fact remains that those album sales talk. If you want to hear something from the Trailer Park Troubadours, (that a real group!) buy their CDs (or listen to KHYI). Meanwhile, Young Country is probably playing a top 40 song by an artist that everyone knows and doing quite well at it, thank you very much!

    While they don't have an online signal (due to corporate ownership's edict), webmistress and PM disc jockey Katie Pruett has put together the best radio site I've seen. Standout features of the page include the daily Gossip column (which often features the Chicks) and a detailed biography of every artist they play -- one of the only places you'll find an accurate history of the Dixie Chicks.

    Which is perfectly appropriate, since this is the station that dared to play She'll Find Better Things To Do in 1993! If the song could have just gotten national exposure, the Chicks could have hit big long ago... but would Little Ol' Cowgirl have sold 6 million copies?

    [96.3 KSCS logo]

  • 96.3 KSCS
    Request Line: 214-787-1963
    Fax: 817-429-KSCS

    The 500-pound gorilla of Dallas country radio, KSCS doesn't even need a nickname. Each time their competitors change names, KSCS runs a teaser about it. The latest is, "We've been playing the Superstars of Texas Music for years!" Their morning crew consistently blows away all competition, and AM jock Terry Dorsey's decade-long reign as the king of the morning drive is virtually unparalleled.

    While The Wolf's strength is in its support of Texas artists, and Superstar Country's focus is on the hits, KSCS is usually the first station to play new releases by national artists. They were the first to put SheDaisy's Little Goodbyes in rotation, when other stations wouldn't touch it for fear that the group would be seen as Dixie Chicks lookalikes (they aren't). They may not be the first to play new releases by Texans like Lyle Lovett, but their variety is still outstanding.

    In fact, the station has recently revamped their Sunday night Texas Music show, the KSCS Hill Country Cafe. This show delivers a great Texas sound that gives the competing stations a run for their money -- again -- and is rumored to play a cut now and then from the Dixie Chicks' indie releases! Listen in at 8pm, right after the Jeff Foxworthy Country Countdown show. And don't miss another unique show; Nadine and Rebel's Five And Dime Show on Saturday nights from 8pm to midnight. It's so good, it's got its own web page at nadinebodett.com.

    KSCS recently added an online feed, but doesn't seem to have a toll-free request line. But the entire air staff is listed on the site, and they do read and reply when possible. Give 'em a listen.

    KHWI 95.3 FM

  • KHYI 95.3 "The Range"
    Request Line: 972-633-0953
    Then press 3 to talk to the air staff

    KHYI 95.3 FM is a station on the northern fringe of the Dallas/Ft Worth area, with its transmitter north of McKinney and headquarters in the North Dallas suburb of Plano. In their words, they play both Country *and* Western -- tracks from alt.country artists like Bad Livers, Lucinda Williams, and Whiskeytown, plus classics from Tom T. Hall, Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard.

    And they also play tracks from all four Dixie Chicks releases! The first day I listened, I heard Pink Toenails for the first time ever on the radio. Later in the afternoon, they played the current Top 10 hit Tonight, The Heartache's On Me. This morning, I called up and requested She'll Find Better Things To Do... they played it within ten minutes!

    According to the info on their web site, KHYI "The Range" is owned by an alumnus -- refugee might be a better word -- of the Chancellor Media mega-broadcasting empire. The air staff has roots in Dallas and Texas independent radio, including community station KNON. You may recognize KNON from my Discography page as one of the only stations to put the Chicks in rotation before they hit big... and the DJ behind that station's "Super Roper Redneck Radio" is now on the staff of KHYI.

    If you're in the Dallas area -- anywhere from northeast Tarrant County on up to the Red River -- tune them in at 95.3 FM. If you can't pick them up -- most of Ft. Worth may be outside their range -- you can tune them in on their 'net broadcast. In fact, KHYI and TwangCast.com make the perfect online alt.country combination: while KHYI is a regular radio station with DJs and a request line, TwangCast strips it down to nothing but the music. Choose yer poison!

    [99.5 The Wolf logo]

  • 99.5 The Wolf (KPLX)
    Request Line: 214-787-1995
    Toll Free: 888-462-1995

    This station didn't even exist in its current format when the Chicks hit big -- the station that called itself simply K-Plex 99.5 went through a radical format change in June 1998 after losing ground in the all-important ratings race. There was a personnel shuffle, but it wasn't massacre like the one at rock station KTXQ (see the Dallas Observer for details). And what emerged was something great -- Texas Country with songs by local artists like Deryl Dodd, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Emily's new husband Charlie Robison, and more! The combination of unheard Texas artists and mainstream Nashville tracks produced a radio station that filled a huge gap in local country music exposure... something sister station 93.3 The Zone had already done for the local alternative scene.

    No other station in town (excluding KHYI, of course) plays the variety of Dixie Chicks songs that The Wolf does. Not only will they play an album cut like Let 'Er Rip on a regular basis, but they're the only station to play live Dixie Chicks tracks. As the Chicks' official "favorite station", they were the first in Texas to play the Chicks' first post-Wide Open Spaces single, Ready To Run.

    One other note: The Wolf was the first country station in town with an online RealAudio feed. They love long-distance requests, so call that toll-free request line and tell 'em you heard about it on the All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks Page!

    [KERA 90.1 Logo]

  • KERA 90.1

    Dallas' Public Radio station used to feature local music all day, every day. They were the best place to hear artists like the Dixie Chicks and Sara Hickman, and even put together a CD featuring local artists who came into the station's studio to record. This disc is still available -- see the Discography for details. Founding Dixie Chick Robin Lynn Macy even worked as a DJ before the station bowed to ratings pressure and dumped its daytime music programming in favor of syndicated talk from NPR and Public Radio International.

    No online broadcast, but NPR news (and many of the talkfest shows) has archives of past reports.

  • KNON 89.3, The Voice Of The People
    Studio Lines: 214-823-8930
    Metro: 972-263-5305
    But check the Schedule first!

    Even more "out there" than Public Radio is Community Radio, and KNON is the prototypical Community Radio station. Their well-designed web site details the mixed bag that ranges from religious programming to gay & lesbian issues to Thai and Native American shows. But weekdays from 4pm to 6pm is Texas Renegade Radio, which features "Americana" and other alternative country. You can also check out the show's own web site.

    No online broadcast, since that would cost money... something not easy to come by when you rely entirely on community support -- and when much of that community lives south of the Trinity.

  • KEOM 88.5, Mesquite's Community Leader

    You won't hear the Dixie Chicks on this station -- it's all 70s top forty! But it's one of my favorites, in no small part because all the DJs are students in the Mesquite Independent School District's broadcasting program! This station, which can be picked up as far north as Atoka, Oklahoma and as far south as... south Fort Worth (go figure!), boasts the first public school radio station with a 24-hour live RealAudio broadcast, so check it out!

    You can dance, you can jive
    Having the time of your life
    Oh, see that girl, watch that scene
    Digging the Dancing Queen...
    -- Abba, "Dancing Queen"

  • KRUD Radio: "You don't like the songs we play? That's your problem!"

    I've listed a public radio station, a community radio station, and a public school station. Here's one that's not even a radio station at all -- but it's required reading for anyone who wants to "look behind the curtain" (like Dorothy, or was it Toto?) and find out what's really going on. The webmasters put it much more succinctly that I ever could:

    What the hell is this? KRUD Radio is a web-site for broadcasters, those that want to be broadcasters, those that were broadcasters but couldn't hack it, and those of you that listen to radio. That's just about everyone. Since we couldn't keep listeners out of this web-site we decided to explain radio in a way that those of us in the business will appreciate. Get ready for an in-your-face look at the inside workings of commercial radio in the U.S.
    The site's not for everyone -- yes, Virginia, the real world includes rude language -- but you'll come back with a deeper understanding of what's behind the dial.

[Original Chick Logo]

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Last update: 10/07/1999 by Robert Brooks
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