AUSTIN (KXAN) - One of Austin's iconic radio stations is back on the air this weekend.
KOKE, or KOKE-FM, returns to the airwaves after 25 years away with that Old Time Austin sound.
KOKE-FM launched in 1972. Call it "redneck rock" or "country rock" or "outlaw country." It was a unique and eclectic mix of music that made its own rules. It defied the more established "classic country" Nashville sound heard around the country at the time. It created its own sound.
"It's like a chain restaurant," said co-founder Bob Cole. "Chain restaurants are fine, but the local mom-and-pop salt of the earth dives and joints are all about Austin, and that's what we pride ourselves on here."
They also take pride in the fact KOKE will be the only locally owned FM commercial radio station in Austin.
"Ain't that weird?" asked Cole.
On KOKE-FM, you can hear Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker and Kris Kristoferson alongside the Rolling Stones. KOKE's new owners hope long-time Austinites remember the mix, since the local effort will rely on memories and word of mouth, rather than a big PR budget.
"We're kind of like insurgents that come out of the hills, make a little noise and then run back," Cole said. "We're comfortable with that role. All of us here, we've done it both ways, and this is more fun."
Cole, a long-time fixture on the Austin radio scene, will be KOKE's morning host. He did stints at KVET and KASE. Those were just the latest gigs. Cole has been on the air since he was 14. And he says he can't wait to saddle up and start his shift on Monday morning.
"It's been great my whole life, but I've never had this much fun as I'm having right now," Cole said. "I think the folks that are here, we've all said the same thing."
KOKE can be heard on 99.3 FM. In 1974, Billboard magazine called KOKE "the most innovative station format in the country." It's that aura that Cole wants to recreate.
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