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Happy Trails Y’all! Big Tex Is Riding Off Into The Sunset

I’m a “rip off the bandaid” sorta guy, so here goes: This Friday, April 23, will be my last day full-time on 97.9 KGNC-FM. I’d like to say I’ll keep this short, but y’all mean too much for me to go without an explanation.

If you’re just a casual listener to KGNC-FM… well then you probably don’t even know who this guy is that’s decided to hang up his spurs. If that’s you, then a) Thanks for stopping by, and b) this post is probably just a waste of your time, but if you go back to the home page there’s a report right underneath this one about some new M&M’s ice cream bars that’ll make your mouth water. But, if you’ve been a regular listener to this station the first thing I want to do is express my overwhelming gratitude to you. I’ve had so many loyal listeners over the past nearly six years that I literally don’t have the space to list them all here. I want those folks to know that I’m so grateful to you for opening your ears and hearts to me and the great staff here at KGNC.

I got into radio purely because I’m a people person, and while politics and “cable news networks” and a thousand other things in this world breed hate and tear people apart, music brings people together. I wanted to find a way to make my listeners’ lives just a little bit happier, but I didn’t realize when I got started just how much happier my listeners would make my life. You welcomed me into your trucks, your offices, and your homes as if I were a member of the family, and that is truly humbling. Decades from now, it won’t be the country superstars I got to get to know that I remember most fondly; it will be the listeners. Where else would somebody I’ve never met before go so far as stitching together a custom baby blanket and hats to keep my baby girl warm purely out of the kindness of her heart because she heard my wife was expecting? (Thanks Lois; by the way she still sleeps with that blanket every night. And Bobby, don’t think I forgot about my favorite Bobby Labonte hat).

Secondly, I’d like to thank all the staff that I’ve gotten to know along the way. I have had the distinct privilege to work with some absolute legends of radio at a station that is, in itself legendary because of the people that came before me. And take it from me, I’ve gone back and listened to what I sounded like when I got started, and it was rough. If not for some of those legends having faith in me I would’ve never had the opportunity to get to where I am today.

Of course I have to thank the good Lord for opening doors at the perfect time for as long as I’ve been alive (even when I was too hard-headed to realize it was perfect timing), and keeping me alive through the far too many occasions that I got a little too redneck and put myself in situations that are far too conducive to serious bodily harm.

And lastly, but certainly not least, Thank you to my incredible wife, Bekah for being there to brighten those days that weren’t so sunny, and supporting every wild-haired plan I’ve ever come up with, for better or worse.

Now, the pleasantries have gotten pretty long-winded, and I’m sure if you’re still reading this you’re wondering why on Earth I’m leaving. While, in all honesty, I never expected to go out on my own terms. As most Texans will tell you, we tend to have a bit of a rebellious streak. Sam Houston once said, “Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may,” and boy is that the truth, especially for myself! But somehow, I’m one of the rare personalities in radio that’s still never been fired. Quite the contrary in fact, I’ve been given the open invitation to come back any time I’d like (another opportunity I’m extremely grateful for), and you might even hear me on the weekends going forward on KGNC-FM, but we’re still ironing out the details.

No, my decision, while difficult, was purely voluntary. Unfortunately, I have to face facts. Radio is easily one of the least-stable professions in the country right now. Trying to support a family through radio feels like living in that parable about the guy that built his house on a foundation of sand. That was a fact that I could talk myself into ignoring when I was younger (and did for nearly 6 years). But the man upstairs opened up a career opportunity to me that seems like I’ll take to it like a duck to water, and it offers as much stability as any job I’ve ever had, if not more. Radio has been a dream come true, but I just couldn’t live with myself as a father if I didn’t walk through that open door and see where it leads, for the sake of my family and myself. This doesn’t mean I intend to quit radio cold turkey, but for now it’s better as a hobby than something my family depends on for income.

So with that, I’ll tip my hat, make like Dale and Roy, and wish you happy trails until we meet again, and I do sincerely hope that we meet again.

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