Radio is changing, shows and stations are adapting

After over 30 years, the Rick and Bubba show is signing off.

ALABAMA/MISSISSIPPI (WCBI) – The one constant in the world is change, and that’s true in almost every setting. One area that’s really seen its share of change from technology to the business side of things is radio.

What used to be on cassette tapes and live is now at your fingertips at any time of the day you may want. As radio stations are adapting, they all have one thing in common that doesn’t change.

After over 30 years, the Rick and Bubba show is signing off.

“I really would have liked to go on a few more years, but, it is what it is, and we’re here,” said Rick and Bubba’s Bill “Bubba” Bussey. “We just want this last year to be a celebration to all the listeners who have given us this time to do what we’ve done for 31 years.”

“The ‘leave them wanting more,’ has always been a great slogan in entertainment, and it feels good to hear people saying, ‘we don’t want it to be over.’ I think that’s how you want to always be,” said Rick and Bubba’s Rick Burgess.

What started in a college Spanish class for two young men turned into something local. And then went national.

Both Rick and Bubba said that one of the things that helped them become so successful in their career is that they have always been more than a jukebox.

“I think people are still drawn to radio personalities they connect with,” Burgess said. “So I believe you’re going to have to get back to having a host on the air that the audience connects to. That is providing something that a streaming service wouldn’t provide.”

That’s exactly how Glenn Crawford has kept his local station WJEC in Vernon, Alabama successful for over two decades.

“We still come in and make it a community environment, we talk on the radio, we don’t do it off voice tracking and stuff,” Crawford said. “We came from a reel-to-reel tape player to cassette tape, to 8- 8-track tape, then CD, and now it’s simply all off of the computer.”

One thing The Rick and Bubba Show and WJEC have in common, they connect with listeners live on the air.

“It’s something that the people like, love, but here we like to keep it about our people it gives them something they can learn about their community,” Crawford said. “Keeping it involved in the community is the key to the local station.”

Curt Smith at WJEC says that’s the secret to keeping local radio alive.

“I think radio will always be relevant, as long as we put good stuff out there for them to listen to, they’ll hang in there with us,” Smith said.

Bill Thurlow has been with Lazer 96.1 in Starkville, the Golden Triangle’s Rick and Bubba affiliate, for over 20 years.

He said it’s all about adapting to change.

“I think one of the main things that keeps radio alive and keeps changing and adapting to things is staying live and local. Radio is still that #1 platform that does that,” Thurlow said.

Bill Thurlow says there will still be local flavor and even more up his sleeve at Lazer 96.

“A lot of the things about the show that you really liked will continue,” Thurlow said. “I’ll put it that way. And we’ll go into more of it the closer we get to the end of the year. But I think will be very happy with the direction things will ve going.”

Stay tuned: we will bring you more updates on future plans as they become available.

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Categories: Featured, Local News