Yokels sleeping in Sat. with show airing later 6/9/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 5, 2015

Yokels sleeping in Sat. with show airing later

By Rupert Howell
The Local Yokel radio show’s purpose is steadfast—”We play Mississippi local folks, we advertise good community events and we have no political affiliations,” according to the chief Yokel himself, Ricky Swindle.

But the time, it is a changin’.

The show began March 22, 2003 with the help of then-station manager John Ingram and 11 CD’s of music of Swindle’s friends and one of his own. It was a 30-minute format from 7:30-8 a.m. on Saturday  and Swindle said after the third show, “I unexpectedly picked up sponsors.”
The show will now air from 9-11a.m. beginning Saturday, still on WBLE 100.5.

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Swindle was aware of the local musical talent that filled the hills and hollows, choir lofts and church pews in Panola and adjoining counties in 2003. He found  a venue to expose that talent, or sometimes lack thereof, and the show was off and running.

The show expanded from 7:15 to 8:30 for the next 12 years and during that time Johnny Pace and Gena Cotten have joined in “organized chaos” as Swindle often refers to the weekly show.

Pace came in to relieve Ingram and Cotten, who originally came by to help answer the phones, became a bright spot, exposing her smile through the airwaves. Pace will continue to help produce but Cotten has signed off to attend her local business during the new time’s hours.

Pace had previously been in radio, working with WONA in Winona and later MS 98 before coming to WBLE where he occasionally fills in when not tied to his current insurance adjusting job.

Through the years Swindle’s late mother, Annie, tape-recorded on cassette 257 shows with most of the remaining shows recorded on CD, including several live shows celebrating the show’s anniversary.

Those live shows featured local artist, many who have passed on, including Ladd Rogers, Mark Peeples and Robert Reed.

The estimated 10,000 CD’s and recordings may serve later generations as a treasure trove of the local musical culture for all to hear.

“We’ve got some new twists in store plus it’s gonna be a lot easier for artists who come and sing live to sing after 9 a.m. instead of 7,” Swindle said of this weekend’s change.

Pace agreed stating, “We’ll have more elbow room to do some fun stuff—more music.”
Reflecting of the show’s significance over the years, Swindle said, “I believe we’ve been able to help a few folks along the way . . . advertising their benefits, fundraisers, playing music and just bringing a little humor to your week.”

He went on to say that his life events including his marriage and the marriages of his daughters, the service of his sons-in-law in the Middle East, the births of his grandchildren, deaths of his family members and more has all been shared with listeners on the weekly show.

“The audience has been with me through it all,” Swindle added.

On the lighter side, Swindle said he now can have instant rebuttal, “If Rev. Tommy Darby, (who now occupies the time slot prior to the Yokel show), preaches about me.”

Darby’s Saturday morning broadcast previously followed Swindle’s show in the old time slot which led to occasional lighthearted bantering between the two over the years.

Swindle explains, “He’s my friend. Truth be known, he’s my kinfolks, too.”