Beginning in the 1930s, radio towers along the Mexican border beamed everything from revival meetings to pitchmen selling cures for cancer to advice for the lovelorn. And music all kinds of music: gospel, hillbilly, Tex-Mex, and eventually rock & roll, rhythm & blues, and soul. Wolfman Jack got his start on border radio. Woody Guthrie and Lydia Mendoza were heard there, too. Because of the megawatts blasting through the airwaves, this eclectic mix of music and talk was heard by listeners around the world.
Using Fowler and Crawford's book as a guide, Texas Folklife Resources is presenting The Border Radio Show, the first of a three-part radio series, recorded live before an audience at the Paramount Theatre. The show includes a stellar cast of Texas-bred artists: Rick Trevino, Miss Lavelle White, Joe "King" Carrasco, and Patricia Vonne, among others. Dallas "Nevada Slim" Turner, an original border radio pitchman, will be on hand, as will Kinky Friedman, Jan Reid, and Border Radio writers Fowler and Crawford. Independent radio producer and Abilene native Ginger Miles is producing the show. Her documentary Hometown Texas: To Mother With Love was recognized as an outstanding documentary by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She is currently working with UT-Austin students to launch Keep Austin Weird Radio.
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