The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, the long-running music and literature program heard weekly on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, was awarded a “Certificate of Merit” by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL) at the group’s annual award ceremony on June 3 in Cleveland, Mississippi.
MIAL honors Mississippi’s artists each year in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, music, photography and visual arts. The Oxford-based radio broadcast was given a special citation to honor the show’s celebration of the state’s literary and musical heritage.
Oxford was well-represented with awards also going to painter Jere Allen, artist Carlyle Wolfe and photographer David Wharton.
A reception at the Grammy museum preceded the banquet at nearby Kent Wyatt Hall on the campus of Delta State University. In introducing Thacker’s award, host Dr. William LaForge, president of Delta State, said, “After attending a reading in Oxford by Larry Brown in 1997 where the local band, Blue Mountain also performed, Caroline Herring and Bryan Ledford searched for a new venue for their radio show, “Words and Music.” Richard Howorth offered Off Square Books under the condition the show would also highlight authors.
“The show will celebrate its 20th anniversary in October,” LaForge continued. “It was born and raised in Mississippi. It continues on in the spirit of its former leaders Jim Dickinson and Duff Dorrough. The show is inspired by the writers and musicians who perform but also by the “Thacker family” of board members, crew and band, interns, devoted audience members, listeners and supporters.”
With that, he presented the award, an original plate by famed Delta potter Lee McCarty – complete with its signature crooked line symbolizing the Mississippi River. On hand to accept the award on behalf of the show was former Thacker producer, Kathryn York, current producer Kate Teague and host Jim Dees.
The award kicked off a big month for the program which also performed a special Mississippi Bicentennial show before a packed house at the Lyric Oxford on June 23.
The show’s next performance will be Saturday, July 22 at 8 pm at the Neshoba County Fair. The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour can be heard every Saturday at 7 pm on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
Photo: Sandi Bert
Left to right: Kathryn York, Jim Dees, Kate Teague and Thacker board member Kaye Hooker Bryant