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Oldies Radio Show Broadcasts From Small-Town USA

Dex Rowe lives in Northfield Falls, Vermont, which boasts less than 100 residents

Broadcasting in the heart of the Green Mountains from Northfield Falls, Vt., (pop. 30 or 46 depending on your sources), Dexter “Dex” Rowe is the driving force behind the “Timeless Oldies Variety Show” — a passion project that his co-hosts say is “unlike anything else out there.”

Rowe, who boasts 53 years of broadcast experience, says it’s all “personality radio” — free, unscripted, all requests, with contests and listener involvement.

“We’ve done this for years because we love it,” said Rowe. “From a two-man operation we now have six co-hosts from around the country — thanks, Zoom!”

To hear more about the program, Radio World caught up with Rowe, who answered our questions via email.

Radio World: Who created the program, and who is involved in producing it?

Dex Rowe: Rob Wills and I created the Timeless Oldies Variety Show. It’s been on so long I’ve forgotten when we started, but it’s likely been a dozen years. Rob and I produce it. Cheri Even joins via Zoom from Texas, Linda Perry from California and Steve Walton from Pennsylvania. Separately I do a weekly Oldies hour.

I’m the radio guy of the group: 53 years so far, starting in Ithaca, NY, in 1970 and now in Vermont. Rob is a newspaper guy, Cheri worked for an airline, Linda was a teacher and Steve? He’s our resident Beatles expert.

Dex Rowe at work.

RW: Tell us more about the show format and its target audience. What sets it apart?

Rowe: We play all requests; anything through 1979. Most requests are oldies but some are a bit older than others. For example, we’ve had requests from the WWII era, the Roaring 20s, Big Bands, even one on a wax cylinder!

We have features like a weekly Beatles song with the stories behind it, contests such as the Mystery Person (we play an audio clip for listeners to identify the person), and a “name that tune” contest with a scant few seconds of a song for listeners to identify.

It’s true “personality radio,” totally unscripted and unedited with a lot of laughs and we never know what will happen. Other than song requests and planned contests, the banter can take us on tangents. We’re all really good friends and the warmth comes through. And we really care about our listeners. When we don’t hear from someone for awhile, we get concerned about them.

If you remember the oldies, or even if the songs are new to you, you’re in our target demo.

Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Seymour, who’s central to the Variety Show. Picture this: 4’2″, mutli-color propeller beanie and bowtie to match, pocket protector with sharpened #2 pencils… a little guy with a big attitude! He stands on a box to reach the mic.

RW: What stations currently carry the program?

Rowe: We do a TOH ID for our friends who carry the show. We’re fortunate to have stations in Vermont, Indiana, Brooklyn, Michigan, Pennsylvania, several in California, including a new Southern California internet station and a station just north of London, England. Our stations are a mix of terrestrial, educational noncoms, community stations and internet. Many stream the programs.

RW: How is it delivered to station affiliates?

Rowe: The show is sent Thursdays via the HighTail ftp platform.

RW: What other business arrangements should stations know about?

Rowe: We save the shows in 3 lengths: 60 min, 59:30 and 58 min so stations can insert local spots or underwriting mentions. And — trumpets, please — no money changes hands. This is totally free (and worth it!)  We do it because we love it. Like to hear? Zip an email to [email protected].

Submit business announcements to [email protected].