Country Music on the Frequencies of Radio Herford.

The Beginning

It started with record purchases

The original makers of Country Folk met for the first time in 1991 in order to buy records and CDs. The internet did exist back then, but there was no World Wide Web and certainly no vendors online. (That sounds like the stone ages now!) The selection of country recordings on sale in or near Bünde was somewhere between disastrous and non-existent, and so country fans could only choose between buying by mail or driving long distances. The only mail-order country specialist we knew back then was Bear Family Records, which was even back then known for their hefty prices. So it seemed cheaper to drive to Germany's supposedly biggest record shop in Cologne, especially if the cost of the trip could be shared among two or three persons. The prices there were O.K., and one could just browse through the records and even sample some titles. And besides, this one shop was the destination of other country fans from much of Germany and so one did not just buy records there; one got to meet other fans and exchange gossip. And since listening to the music, and not trucker or wild-west romanticism, is central to all makers of Country Folk, this was one of the few chances to meet kindred spirits.

We developed a »Sense of Mission«

During this time we developped the desire to present this very interesting new music to other potential fans. The other media only presented the usual and tired clichees about country music. In 1992 there already was a country music programme in the public access segment of Radio Herford, but we were dissatisfied with it. Young new music fans would not be won over by this programme, because it contained little genuine country music, but instead a kind of German »Schlager« music that just does not belong in a country music programme. Furthermore the programme was presented in a listless way and the producers were not aware of the latest developments in this genre. At first we tried to support this programme by making our records and information available to its producers. But the success was at best fair and the programme was discontinued at the end of 1992. This freed the way for a new programme with a totally new concept.

The plans are taking shape

During the first half of 1993 the original concept of Country Folk was developped and we found ways of producing and broadcasting a radio show. It turns out that every local station in North-Rhine Westfalia is mandated to broadcast the so called Bürgerfunk (public access). That means, that the station has to transmit every programme, that is produced by a group of residents of its legal coverage area and meets some basic criteria set in law. More about that under the corresponding menu item on the left. For us, as newcomers to radio, with a specialist music show, this was the only chance to actually get on the air, without the station's misgivings preventing it. The station very probably would have had misgivings, had it known that we planned to have a lot of background information, even if it doesn't fit into easily digestible 90 second tidbits and also to include music beyond all popularity charts. But also the title Country Folk is a hint, that our show is about more than just core country music, and that we also cover the makers and the audience of the music. (The meaning of Country Folk as »the people in the countryside«, and with a little stretching, »the people, who make country music«, did not escape us. This ambiguity made us choose this title.) By the way, the name of the programme is indeed stolen from the BFBS programme of the same name, running there in the early 80s.

Finally on air!

After a lot of preparation the first edition of Country Folk ran on August, 25th, 1993, on the then only frequency of 92.7 MHz. But we soon realised that we were not able to produce the programme as originally planned. We just were not able to produce a new edition within 14 days, as originally planned, because it was increasingly difficult to agree on the contents. So the each new edition took longer to make each time until on February 2nd, 1994 the last programme aired, for the time being. But by late spring 1994 we could not resist doing a country show and Country Folk returned to the airwaves. By the way, the first show after the break featured a report on Garth Brooks' first concert in Germany. But already a short time later we took another enforced break when another group of public access broadcasters blocked many of the available time slots and prevented, among others, the broadcast of Country Folk. As a result of that, all remaining groups using this airtime agreed on a schedule, which in its current form, is still in use today and gives Country Folk the third and fifth Wednesdays of the month. (See also »The Schedule«.)