‘Thacker Mountain Radio Hour’ Goes Junior

Kids' version of iconic radio show features special guests and youth hosts, musicians

Rebecca Cohen and Darrick Stribling Jr. banter during their audition for Thacker Jr. They are among the hosts for this year’s show, which airs live from Nutt Auditorium at 6 p.m. Saturday. Photo by Dason Petit

OXFORD, Miss. – “Thacker Mountain Radio Hour,” a live radio show featuring literary and musical guests, is teaming up with the University of Mississippi’s Living Music Resource to produce an episode that is for – and, to a large extent, by – a young audience.

The show will feature children’s author Gloria J. Burgess, Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill, and young hosts and musicians.

Thacker Jr. is free and open to the public. The show is set for 6 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 26) in Nutt Auditorium and will be live-streamed from 6 to 7 p.m. at http://livingmusicresource.com/. The show will be rebroadcast on 92.1 WUMS Rebel Radio at 6 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 29).

Although this is the fourth Thacker Jr., 2019 is the first year that “TMRH” has partnered with Living Music Resource to produce the episode.

“The partnership between ‘TMRH’ and LMR just makes sense on so many levels,” said Nancy Maria Balach, associate professor of music and LMR artistic director. Kate Teague, Thacker director, is a former student of Balach’s and has been a featured LMR artist.

UM music education student Ava Street (left), executive director of Thacker Jr. 2019, gives a mic and some direction to Oxford second-grader Rebecca Cohen as Cohen auditions to be one of the hosts. Photo by Dason Petit

“Kate mentioned that she was looking for a partner to produce this year’s Thacker Jr.,” Balach said. “At the same time, my current student, Ava Street, wanted to do some youth programming as part of her Honors College capstone project. It couldn’t have worked out better.”

Street, a senior music education major from Purvis, is focusing her thesis on music entrepreneurship and community-based musical experiences.

“I have a passion for working with smaller kids,” she said. “We tell them all the time to dream big, that they can be whatever they want, but we don’t provide many opportunities for them to do that while they are still young.”

That’s why this Thacker Jr. is all about letting kids be the stars.

“We wanted to create a free opportunity for kids to perform on stage and do what they love,” Street said.

Oxford seventh-grader Captain Alexander is among the performers for this year’s edition of Thacker Jr. Photo by Dason Petit

Young talent will be featured as hosts and musical acts, and while Street will produce and direct the show, the young hosts will interview special guests Burgess, author of the children’s book “Pass it On!” that tells the story of her father and William Faulkner, and Tannehill.

Hosts include Rebecca Cohen, Mary Cile Meagher, Darrick Stribling Jr. and Thomas Franklin. Musical guests include Captain Alexander, Noah Garneau, Elsie James Bridgers and Mac Edwards. Lainey Schuesselin will read a short story.

LMR is housed in the Ole Miss Department of Music and expands music students’ education by offering opportunities to add related skills to their classroom experiences, connect with community and schools, and think about the business of being a working musician in an integrated and creative way.