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New director, new direction for Oxford’s Thacker Mountain Radio

The second show of the season was hosted at The Lyric Oxford, but will be back at Off Square Books for the following weeks. Photo by Lucy Burnam.

Building on a legacy and expanding support, that’s what the new director of Thacker Mountain Radio Hour hopes to achieve.

Native Mississippian Alice Pierotti took over this fall but her relationship with Thacker started much earlier.

“I’ve long been a fan of Thacker Mountain Radio,” said Pierotti. “When I would visit Mississippi from Colorado, Square Books was like my mecca and I kept up with the happenings at the bookstore through their Constant Reader mailer. Those were the bygone days, before internet, when mail you wanted to read came to your mailbox. The cultural vibrations Square Books sends out always spoke to me.”

While Pierotti was raised in Batesville, she moved to Colorado in her late teens and stayed there for 17 years. Pierotti returned to Como, Mississippi to become a town librarian, organizing library programming around music before accepting Thacker’s director position.

“The power of books amazes me,” said Pierotti. “I understand the world better through art. I grew up in a house that loved music. Any time artists use music or books to try to figure out what it means to be human, I’m sold.”

Pierotti said there’s a fantastic fall lineup for Thacker, including a local favorite, Oxford author Neil White. There will also be a partnership with the Sarah Isom Center featuring music from Alabama Rose and Chocala, and the annual silent auction that’s a major fundraiser and a “heck of a good party” at the end of the season.

Jim Dees announcing the show’s sponsors at The Lyric Oxford. Photo by Lucy Burnam.

“The Yalobushwhackers are in top form this fall, bringing us a little bit of everything in that true, masterful, house-band style,” said Pierotti. “Jim Dees, our consummate host, is equal parts Renaissance-man and comedian and keeps our hands on the radio.”

Thacker Mountain has also been able to upgrade its technology, which should provide an improved visual and audio experience for fans who are watching the shows live on Facebook.

Jennifer Lauriello has been an intern with Thacker for two years and will be working with Pierotti.

“I always tell people that Thacker gives my life more of a balance between work and school, combined with the arts that I love,” said Lauriello. “It can be easy to get bogged down with due dates and assignments, but Thacker gives me a place to have different, meaningful conversations with people who I share my passions with.”

Pierotti said that she’s hoping to usher Thacker into its next phase of growth by expanding partnerships, increasing funding, and bringing more support to the Friends of Thacker Mountain Radio, which is the non-profit that helps run the radio show.

“I want to work hard continuing Thacker’s legacy of telling our story, of celebrating who we are, of understanding ourselves a little better through art, with a really great soundtrack playing over the top of it all,” said Pierotti. “I want to honor the hard work of everyone who has contributed to Thacker’s success. So come see us at a live show, tune in on the radio, engage with us on social media, support us with a donation, tell a friend about us, write a book or sing a song and you’ll likely end up on the Thacker stage.”

Explore the show in 360. Photo by Lucy Burnam.

Through the fall season, Thacker Mountain takes place Thursdays at 6 p.m. at Off Square Books or can be heard on the radio at 92.1.

Story contributed by Lucy Burnam.

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