Michael Klein
Ozark Internet Radio Network
PO Box 1673
Harrison, AR   72602

In 1959, a band of four brothers started to play music for visitors in the now historic Downtown Branson area. Another family built the first theater on a dirt road leading from downtown to Silver Dollar City. The four brothers then built a second theater, across from the first, on that same dirt road.

That dirt road is the now famous “Country Music Boulevard” – or “The 76 Strip”.

While major celebrities come and go through Branson, we remember that it was “Independent” family musicians which began the city’s claim to fame. It is for that historical fact that three nonprofit organizations have combined resources to promote and preserve Independently produced music – not just from the Ozarks, but from across the nation.

Organization President Michael Klein says, “Even today, there’s still a great pool of talent that never gets to be heard, because they don’t have that magic record deal. Many come to Branson because of its notoriety and fame. While some very talented people actually do make it into one of the theaters, most end up going back to where they came from. Kind of like a Nashville or Hollywood. With the background and experience of each of our organization’s board members, we are working to change a little part of that.”

The nonprofit organizations include:
• Branson Independent Coalition of Musicians and Artists (BICMA)
• Ozark National Coalition of Artists and Musicians (ONCAM)
• North Arkansas Performing Artists Coalition (NAPAC)

With their 501(c)(3) status pending, the combined resources of these organizations will provide performers with access to national promotions, media, publicity, marketing opportunities, performances and events. Resources include broadcasters, record labels and producers, event coordinators and syndicators.

More than just promoting unsigned performers, the organizations also look to benefit school music programs with instruments, uniforms, sheet music, transportation and other necessities. Other projects include working with local food banks and creating shelter for the working homeless in Branson. Klein says that “by promoting these artists and their performances, we can create special events that not only promote the artist, but also benefit other area programs and agencies”.

Since first organizing in the fall of last year, the nonprofits have applied to the FCC to build new FM Community Radio Stations in Branson, Kimberling City and in Harrison. Michael Klein says “If you’re going to promote music, you have to have a way to guarantee radio play. So we’re building a small network of FM stations that will feature a Classic Rock format from the 70s and 80s, but will also provide ‘Visitor Information'”. So far, the FCC has awarded Construction Permits for two of the three stations, Branson and Harrison, with the Kimberling City application still pending approval. Along with the FM broadcasts, the stations will also simulcast on the Internet as the sister-station to Branson’s “Original” Internet radio station, “B-Country BWR”.

Klein adds, “These FM radio stations are what is commonly known as ‘Community’ stations. We have no intentions of competing with the other stations in the area, because we won’t have the same range on the air. Of course, the Internet stream will solve that problem. But since the other stations do such a great job of providing what many locals are interested in, the purpose of these stations will be to help our area visitors with the information that they need to truly experience a tour through the Ozarks”. Klein says instead of “commercials”, there will be features and spotlights to go along with an all request music format.

With the goal to be broadcasting in time for the next visitor season, the stations will feature area events and festivals, location remotes, and will focus on the services available to visitors while in the SW Missouri and NW Arkansas region.

Unlike “advertising”, supporting businesses and organizations will be highlighted to inform both visitors and locals alike. Special programming will feature the new and Independent artists that are members of the organizations. Klein says, “The FM broadcast will be offered to the millions of visitors to the Branson/Lakes area, as well as for those travelling through North Central Arkansas. By making it available through our Internet stream, visitors can literally take a piece of the Ozarks home with them, and visit all year long with a choice of Hot Country Hits or Classic Rock, with GREAT Independent music either way”.

While focusing on area information, listeners will benefit from local news and weather information, participation in local events, contests and giveaways when available.

Now that the permits have been issued, the organizations are on a membership drive to help build the radio stations and have them on the air by the end of May – the official start to vacation season. While local bands, performers, writers and actors are encouraged to join, music fans are also invited to support our causes. Major events are already being planned, including the “Bikes, Blues & BBQ” event in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This event draws more than 400,000 visitors in one weekend!

Individual memberships begin at $35.00 per year, and include access to the website to download music, videos, discounted event passes, and you’ll also receive a cool T-Shirt! Artists and performers can register as a “Talent” member, and there’s a place for corporate sponsorship as well.

Visit,, or for details and to get registered.

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