Mar 20, 2009

Death Of A Tradition???

EC and I went to Granny Garton’s house for supper last night. Thursdays are a special treat, because dinner and supper are served. In the South, the midday meal is dinner and the evening meal is supper. I may be Southern, but it is still hard for me to call lunch by the dinner term.

Right before supper, the telephone rang and one of Granny’s friends told her that the local radio station was closing due to the economic conditions. Now, there is no story in the paper about it today (Today happens to be one of the days the paper is published.) and the radio station is still on the air as of right now. I really hope that it was a nasty rumor and that WDKN does not close.

The conversation at dinner reminded me of the below post that I wrote about WDKN back in April 2007. You can find the original post HERE. There is not a Flashback Friday this week at My Tiny Kingdom, but I just wanted to repost this as my own flashback. Enjoy!

Sounds Of A Small Town (Originally Posted 4/6/2007)

We drove to another town last night to have dinner with some friends that we had not seen since our wedding. They were in town from South Carolina where his military service has taken them. It was good to sit for hours and talk with another couple that is very similar to us.I was thrilled when they said they were going to move back to this area when his military service was finished. They weren't sure about what town to live in, not wanting the city life of Nashville , but something a little more rural and homey. Then, they asked about Dickson.

Now, I tease about Dickson all the time. It isn't hard. Dickson is about as country as turnip greens. There are things in this town that have not changed for fifty years. That is the way that people like it and that is the way it is going to be…….dag-nab-it. If you don't like it…….go somewhere else.

If you listen to the only AM radio station in town, you will get a good feel of what Dickson is really like. WDKN aired its first broadcast in January of 1955 and it sounds like nothing has changed in the 52 years that it has filled the airwaves. Some of the daily lineups include the agri-business news, friendly neighbor time, Crazy Chucky's Country Classic Corner, things to do in Dickson County and the staples of Paul Harvey and Focus on the Family. There are prayers and hymns sponsored by local churches and an obituary report every afternoon. (Because the paper is only published twice per week and someone might be pushin' up daisies before it is in print.)

There are two times in the day that I really get a kick out of…….Swap-N-Shop Times! This is a very popular show in Dickson that comes on in the morning and the evening. If you are ever in the need for fresh farm eggs, chicken manure, guns, puppies, Volkswagen parts, Star Trek tapes, Cadillac converters or ping-pong tables, please let me know. I will be happy to listen to Swap-N-Shop for you.

The best part of the show is listening to the people that call in. Apparently it is the same people every day and the DJ knows them by voice. They talk about how their daddy is sick or how hot the weather is…….and somebody is missing a real deal on the goats that they have for sale.

WDKN also shows a softer side to Dickson. For the whole month of April, the radio station has an auction for one hour in the afternoons. All of the proceeds go to Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. It melts my heart to listen every afternoon. Today is only the fifth day of the auction and they have already sold over 700 items. Almost every business in town donates some kind of item or service. There are homemade cakes, cookies and pies of every kind made by every grandmother in town………some that sell for well over a hundred dollars. There are ferns, peonies, lilies and tulips. Items can range from a tea-kwon-do gift certificate to a stop sign donated by the public works department…..each item donated in the memory of someone special.

I am glad that I live in a town that has a radio station like WDKN and I think, no matter how much I giggle, that its programming reflects our small town life to a T. I am glad that I live in a place where Sundays are filled with church and family, where people eat dinner together, where there is bluegrass music at the Grand Ol' Hatchery every Saturday night, and where there are more hardware stores than clothing shops. I am glad that I live in a place where I am not scared to leave my door unlocked or my windows open. A place where I look forward to raising my children, where lightening bugs dance in my yard at twilight, and where there is a 90% chance that I am related to the person driving the tractor down the road.

I truly hope that my friends and their children come to live in Dickson County . I am sure that they will appreciate its charm as much as I do.


Shannon Dauphin said...

Unfortunately, it is true that WDKN is no more. My husband, Chuck Dauphin, worked at the station for 18 years...until noon on Thursday, he was the Operations Manager and the voice you heard every weekday morning. The news of the closing came only four hours before the final sign-off. To say it's a shock is an understatement.

The Herald has information on its website - the link is here:

WDKN was a Dickson County staple, and it hurts to see it go. For Chuck, the reality is just starting to sink in. He's very hopeful that someone local will step up and take the station to the next level. The people of Dickson County deserve no less.

Shannon Dauphin

Anonymous said...

That's terrible. They can't close shop, who is going to cover the cancer auction? What about Old Timers' Day? I would rather get rid of the Dickson Herald than the radio station. (It would save the trees anyway.)

Shannon Dauphin said...

That's a good question. Beyond what you've mentioned here, the closing also impacts the schools, as WDKN was the "Voice of the Cougars" and broadcast all the games. Baseball season started the day before all this happened, so what now? Where will the schools go to get the coverage they deserve?

I hate to think of all the people and organizations this abrupt closing has hurt. The ripple effect is sure to go on for a good long while.

(By the way, Ladybird...I LOVE what you wrote about the station. You captured the very essence of what a great hometown place WDKN has always been.)

Mommy of M's said...

I just have to tell you that my Dad carries a 'Dinner Bucket' to work everyday. It's LUNCH, DAD, LUNCH!!!