Museum of the Gulf Coast launches unique radio station celebrating the music and legends of coastal Texas and Louisiana

Published 12:16 am Thursday, November 9, 2023

The rich musical heritage of the U.S. Gulf Coast between Houston and New Orleans can now be heard online worldwide with the launch of Gulf Coast Museum Radio.

The 24-hour-a-day radio station is operated by the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur and launches Friday (Nov. 10).

The station features a blend of swamp pop music, classic soul and R&B, Cajun music, and popular song hits that span through the 1980s.

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Musician interviews and feature stories about the musical, athletic and inventor pioneers who either grew up or lived along the Gulf Coast will also be heard on the station.

The radio station can be enjoyed at museumofthegulfcoast.org/gulf-coast-museum-radio-mogc, on phone apps that can be downloaded and via the iHeart Radio and Tune-In apps.

It also can be heard simply by asking Alexa — Amazon’s cloud-based voice service — to play “Gulf Coast Museum Radio.”

“This radio station reflects the amazing musical talent that came from our part of the world,” said Tom Neal, museum director. “It’s a perfect extension to all that we offer at the museum where we honor and celebrate the people, places, and events that shaped the Gulf coasts of Texas and Louisiana.”

Neal cites musical artists as diverse as B.J. Thomas, Cookie and the Cupcakes, Ivory Joe Hunter, Jiving Gene Bourgeois, George Jones, Rodney Crowell, Barbara Lynn, Janis Joplin and ZZ Top as examples of just some of the remarkable talent from the Gulf Coast who will be heard online.

The station has received additional guidance and direction from Dr. Sam Monroe, long-time president of Lamar State College Port Arthur, president of the Port Arthur Historical Society and a former broadcaster for legendary Southeast Texas radio station KPAC.

“Every milestone in our lives — whether it was the day you started school, graduated from high school or college or got married — carries memories of the music that was popular at the time,” Monroe said. “This radio station will bring back a lot of memories from those times and also reach a new audience that may never have heard the great music that has come from along the Gulf Coast.”

Monroe is interviewing recording artists for a series of special programs to be heard on the museum radio station.

Much of the music heard on the station has been curated by museum volunteer and radio station benefactor Bob Buckalew, who grew up in Port Arthur and worked in radio and television here before moving to Austin, where he recently retired from teaching at the University of Texas.

Buckalew is now the director of streaming news programming for Austin TV station KVUE.

“There are so many forgotten songs from the world of swamp pop, R&B, and Cajun music that deserve to be heard by new audiences today,” Buckalew said. “Being able to reach listeners anywhere in the world with the music that we grew up with is a terrific way to shine a light on the rock, soul, and country music pioneers who called the Gulf Coast their home.”