From Galleywinter’s 20 Questions with Brandon Rhyder, back in early 2006:
North East Texas is my home. It’s where I go to recharge my batteries. It is, however, a little behind the times maybe. You would think I could get more radio play in the area since I am a “home town boy”, but until I get a record deal and am considered “main stream”, they could care less. …Now, before all the north east Texas people get pissed off I wouldn’t discount the fact that I may live in the area again someday when it’s time to settle down.
People can get pissed off all they want, but as someone who grew up in Northeast Texas, I can tell you he’s exactly right. I am not 100% sure how it is now, but at least up to the time that interview was done, Northeast Texas was a radio wasteland when it comes to country music. I remember moving from Texarkana to College Station and being utterly amazed at the stuff I heard on the radio down there that I had almost never heard after about 1996 or so, and only every so often before that. When I left, pretty much the only good radio station Northeast Texas had outside of Dallas was KWKH out of Shreveport, and even then most of the old stuff they played was late at night — and once KWKH-FM changed formats in early 1996 that was pretty much it. I keep thinking one of the Longview or Tyler stations had a Texas music thing in the early 2000s, and there was this one station in Greenville that I could get in Sulphur Springs when the weather was just right, but other than that it was pretty much the same 40-50 songs everyone else was playing. (And it’s not like I could get Tyler radio stations for shit in the house or the truck most of the time in Texarkana anyway.) Apparently Texarkana radio got better for a time a couple of years after I left, as they had a Texas music station on 107.1, but from what I remember that didn’t last long either. Northeast Texas got better for classic country a while after the Hot New Country , even if it was all on separate stations than the new country, but it’s always sucked for Texas music. I don’t know how it is now, but I’d be willing to bet money that it’s not much if any better than it was back when Rhyder made that observation.
And it’s okay. It is what it is, and as we all know, terrrestrial radio isn’t the only game in town anymore anyway. But it still sucks for all those poor souls up there, because for a number of them it is the only way to hear music, for all the reasons Sabra mentioned here.