Network focused on Texas roots music before expanding to include states of the Third Coast.
By Jerico Magallanes
Sam’s Burger Joint’s fluorescent sign glowed above a line of eager fans waiting to see country rock and soul funk band Shinyribs perform at KSYM’s celebration of Third Coast Music Network’s 25th anniversary.
Third Coast has been on the air since 1991, showcasing “Cajun music, Texas music, Americana, folk, country, alt-country, along the lines of that,” music business sophomore Jacob Peirce said.
“I was really into Texas music,” Third Coast Music Network founder Joe Horn said, “And nobody was playing any on the radio.”
Horn’s general manager at the time, the late Fred Weiss, headed this college’s music business program.
Weiss considered Third Coast to be “heritage programming” or what Horn called “Texas roots” music.
Texas roots music consists of a broad take on blues, rock and country, Horn said.
“It really was concentrating on Texas music, of the roots variety,” Horn said. “Surely, I realized, there was way more going on than the state of Texas. That’s when it became Third Coast, which is the left coast, the right coast, and then the third coast.”
With Third Coast’s prominent history in San Antonio, radio-television-and-film students at this college have an opportunity to flex their radio broadcasting skills.
Horn said Weiss wanted Third Coast and KSYM to be more of a city asset rather than just a radio lab for students.
“It was more or less a laboratory for students,” Horn said. “Mr. Weiss was in the process of consolidating some ideas he had to change that. And there’s a difference with working in a lab as a student and being on the air live as a student.”
Third Coast has a strong cult following in the city, with fans garnering usage names such as “New Orleans Bob.”
“The music they play, it’s not programmed,” Robert “New Orleans Bob” Herzog , Air Force veteran and long time Third Coast supporter, said. “It’s just amazing the type of music they have. And since they play off of CDs, the DJs pick the music. And it’s amazing to me how they pick the music to make the shows as good as they are.”
Originally from New Orleans, Herzog donates to Third Coast and KSYM and calls in often to thank them.
“It emphasizes Texas and Louisiana music and it’s the music that you’re going to hear when you go to a bar or a club,” longtime supporter Lewis “Buzz” Buttles said.
Buttles couldn’t pick a favorite DJ, saying, “They know the music that they’re playing; they know the bands. It’s not just somebody that also says, ‘Hey this is what you gotta play.’”
Peirce, Third Coast DJ from 3-5 p.m. Mondays and Close Up the Honky-Tonks from 7-9 p.m. Thursdays, said KSYM’s motto is “We are your only alternative!”
“You don’t hear too many other things like it in town,” Peirce said. “If you appreciate finding new music, then it’s the best place to listen, too.”
“Third Coast is just a very small part of it, but what you can hear on KSYM is so unique,” Horn said.
“There’s so much competition beyond terrestrial radio for anybody’s ears, particularly young people’s ears. So in that sense, value KSYM because these days it’s probably undervalued or totally taken for granted.”
When asked if Horn could say anything to Third Coast’s supporters and fans, he said “Thanks for listening and mainly thanks for contributing.”
Third Coast is on KSYM 90.1 FM 4-7 p.m. Monday and 3-6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.
For more information, visit KSYM.org or call 210-486-5796.