Texas music returns as station gets back to its roots
CORPUS CHRISTI — Texas music is back 24 hours a day on local radio.
KBSO 94.7 Badlands FM began airing the likes of Kevin Fowler, Robert Earl Keen and Pat Green on Saturday after more than a two-year hiatus. That station aired the genre from 2000 to December 2006 before switching to a Tejano music format.
It promises “Fowler every hour with Keen in between.”
Station owner Manuel Davila Jr., 64, known on the airwaves as Daddy D, said he has been trying to retire for years and has found someone worthy of taking over.
That someone is Robert “Bobby” Lerma, operating the station under the company name Restless Communications. Lerma said he also is seeking to buy the station.
Davila confirmed that they have discussed a possible sale, but would not say he is negotiating exclusively with Lerma.
A postal employee, Lerma said he never thought he might acquire a radio station let alone one catering to Texas, Red Dirt and Americana music.
“My love of Texas music developed after I bought the High Chaparral dance hall in Robstown about five years ago,” said the 47-year-old, originally from Sinton. “When Texas music went off the air, it was heartbreaking. They were actually building band recognition. We aim to do that again.”
Lerma has a team that will oversee the day-to-day operations of the station – Rory Braun and Easton Santos. The two have a long-time running syndicated show, “Texas Music World Radio Show,” which will air locally on weekday mornings.
Santos also will serve as the station’s music director and Braun will be the program director. They’re revamping the studio, which should be ready by next week.
Braun’s love for this type of music is deep-rooted, and he has been ready for this for a while.
“I was into the stuff when Willie (Nelson) and Waylon (Jennings) were doing the Outlaw stuff,” he said. “The music is making a resurgence and our goal is to give listeners what they want and to serve the community.”
Part of that service is educating the listening audience about the music and helping promote artists at local venues such as Concrete Street Amphitheater, Big Sam’s Bar and Grill in Calallen, Brewster Street Ice House and Surf Club Records.
Brad Lomax, owner of the record store, said the station offers advertisers another arrow in their quiver. The store carries other genres of music but he said most of the records sold are by Texas music artists.
Since KBSO stopped airing Texas music, he has had to appeal to Texas music fans on mainstream country radio.
“You’re spending the same or even more dollars and not quite knowing if you’re reaching your niche audience,” Lomax said. “This (station) will enable us to advertise to our specific market. I’m excited and I hope it works out.”
Mark Schaberg general manager of Concrete Street and operating owner of Brewster Street, said having a local radio station dedicated to the genre speeds up the learning process for fans. Fan knowledge of up-and-coming artists on the scene is the key to filling up venues and booking artists, he said.
“Corpus Christi is about 18 months behind the rest of the state in knowing the newer artists,” Schaberg said. “Fans get to know them through live performances and that takes time. I’ve had to sit there with artists and explain to them that they have to be patient with this market. The station is going to help shorten that learning curve.”
As a lifelong fan of Texas music, Schaberg said, he is excited about the return of the station’s format. He received a call from one of the station’s principals about two minutes after it began airing on Saturday.
“I might have been the first listener who wasn’t a station’s employee,” said Schaberg, who was a booking agent for Green and Cory Morrow in the 1990s. “I think they played Kevin Fowler’s ‘100 Percent Texan’ for the first 20 minutes straight before moving on to another song. I wish them the best because it can only help venues like ours.”