Alice Pierotti living her ‘dream job’ as Thacker Mountain Radio’s new director
By Jake Thompson
Alice Pierotti moved to Colorado when she was 19, but when the Batesville native would return home, she would check in on her favorite bookstore, Square Books, and all that was happening in Oxford.
That helped her discover the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour. Now, the longtime fan of the local radio show is running it.
Earlier this week it was announced that Pierotti was taking over as the new executive producer and director for the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour. She is replacing Kate Teague, who served as the director for several years, but is now focusing on her music career full-time with the release of her first EP and an accompanying tour.
“Square Books was kind of like what I considered my mecca, and I always paid close attention to what they had going on and some of the cultural vibrations coming out of that place really spoke to me,” Pierotti said. “So, when Thacker started, I was just thrilled.”
When Pierotti moved back to Mississippi, she took a job at the Emily J. Pointer Public Library in Como. She continued to attend Thacker Mountain Radio shows once back in Mississippi full time, and when she saw the job was posted, Pierotti “jumped” at the opportunity. She had been applying for library jobs all across the country, but the Thacker Mountain position was the only job in Mississippi she had applied for.
During her time at the Como library, Pierotti was responsible for music programming, which is a skill that fits nicely into her new duties with Thacker Mountain. When she got the call telling her she had the job, several emotions hit Pierotti at once, she said.
“It was a nice moment,” Pierotti said. “I was thrilled to be able to stay in Mississippi. That’s where my heart is and that’s where I want to be dedicated to the good work that’s going on here. Telling our story and when they offered me the job it just felt like a really good fit for my skill set, my interest and what I think I can bring to the table as the executive director.”
Thacker Mountain is a few weeks into its fall 2019 season, but Pierotti got her feet wet by first attending the last remote show of the summer in Ocean Springs on Aug. 24. She also shadowed Teague for the first couple shows back in Oxford. She ran her first solo show last Thursday at The Lyric.
“It was a bunch of feelings rolled into one,” Pierotti said of her first show. “I consider working in Mississippi a dream job and I consider working for an organization that is telling our story a dream job. Books and music are the two things I measure my life with. That’s about as dreamy as it comes.”
Earlier this year, the show was awarded $1,000 by the Lafayette-Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow (LOFT). The money will be used to purchase live streaming equipment that will allow the show to live stream their broadcast in video and audio. The Mississippi Arts Commission also awarded Thacker Mountain Radio $15,400 for operating expenses. The MAC grant is a portion of the $1.4 million in grants the Commission will award in 2019 and 2020.
The show also received a $20,000 contribution from Dr. Ralph and Douglas Vance, a couple from Jackson who retired to Oxford in 2012.
“We are honored and humbled to receive the magnificent gift from the Vances,” said Mary Margaret Andrews, board president of Friends of Thacker Mountain Radio, Inc. “This money will help us improve our show on many levels, including better pay for our crew and attracting top talent as guests.”
Thacker Mountain Radio is in its 22nd year and broadcasts live every Thursday in the fall and spring on WUMS (92.1 FM). Shows also air on Saturday nights on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.