Many fans of Texas / Red Dirt station 95.9 The Ranch out of Ft. Worth spoke up, and now the radio station has responded. Not just in words, but in action. Late last week the radio station rolled out a slightly revised format from its usual dose of almost exclusively music from Texas and Red Dirt artists. The format tweak included a little more Americana, a little classic rock, and some songs from a few select Nashville artists such as Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley.
Many fans were not happy, and responded in kind with angry feedback, and some outright protest and boycott. Some fans even promised to boycott advertisers of the station, and let the advertisers know why. Usually such protestations don’t work, and are chalked up as one of the rigors of changing a radio format. But after such a spirited public backlash, The Ranch has reversed course, at least for the moment.
In an interview on the station posted Thursday (3-9), program director Justin Frazell explained they were listening to all the feedback, and after a week of trial, had decided to re-evaluate the new format tweak.
“This was something that as we developed this plan, we felt strongly that this was going to work overall for everybody, and some it has and that’s great because that is what we intended. And some it has not. So we just kind of have to figure out where is the line between all that, where we’re going to find a good balance of making a great radio station, and entertaining everybody who wants to be entertained, and at the same time be the best promoter of Texas and Red Dirt music.”
Justin Frazell assured listeners of The Ranch that the change was not about adhering to a corporate structure and a decision that came down from on high, or that anyone was paying the radio station to change their format. Instead, according to Frazell, the idea was to entice new listeners to the format with an expanded playlist, and hopefully create new Texas and Red Dirt fans by exposing them to them music along with more familiar songs.
“I’m certainly not trying to cram anything down anybody’s throat that nobody wants,” Justin Frazell explained. “That’s part of me having to sit with it for a while and understand if I was even I was understanding it and getting it.”
Though Justin Frazell seemed to leave open the idea that in the future the station could once again try a slightly revised format, the format the station is currently serving looks very similar to the one that fans have been listening to for many years. A current snapshot of the playlist (see below) shows that it once again is almost exclusively Texas and Red Dirt music.
Going back to the old format certainly solves the concern of angry listeners, but it leaves the reasons the station felt the need to tweak the format in the first place unresolved. It is once again an example of how music scenes can develop incredible grass roots for artists and other entities on a local and regional level, but they also can restrict the ability for these artists and entities to grown beyond the local and regional level. Though the current chapter of the 95.9 The Ranch drama has concluded, the bigger issues of how to keep the scene growing remains.
Current 95.9 The Ranch Playlist Snapshot:
- “Pat The Point of Rescue” – Hal Ketchum
- “Drunken Hearted Man” – The Devil Makes Three
- “It’s A Shame” – Hayes Carll
- “Jackpot” – Nikki Lane
- “Family Tradition” – Hank Williams Jr.
- “Forever Today” – Reckless Kelly
- “Long Haired Tattooed Hippie” – Eleven Hundred Springs
- “Swinging from the Chandaliers” – Roger Creager
- “Trouble Knows” My Name” – Randy Rogers Band
- “Best Mistake I’ve Ever Made” – Kevin Fowler
- “Bread and Water” – Ryan Bingham
- “Texas in 1880” – Radney Foster
- “Gunpowder and Lead” – Miranda Lambert
- “Oklahoma Breakdown” – Stoney LaRue
- “Willie, Waylon, & Me” – David Allan Coe
- “I’ll Be The One” – Paul Cauthen
- “Fire Away” – Chris Stapleton
- “Beat Me Down” – Wade Bowen
- “Don’t Forget Where You Come From” – Kyle Park