GRATIS — 105.9 The Rebel is alive and well in Preble County, thanks to Gratis resident and long-time radio DJ Donald Cronan.
The once popular county radio station which went off air several years ago has found new life thanks to Cronan and his team of DJs who are running a new station at Rebel1059online.com. The station also has a phone app. Cronan said to search for Rebel1059 or look for the site on Tune-In.
The station still features the more traditional county music in a similar fashion to the old radio station, but now features a playlist of 3,000 songs according to Cronan. “Most stations maybe have 300 songs in the playlist, so we decided we wanted much more than that to cut down on the repeats, so now we have a library of about 3000 songs in the playlist. Most stations have the top five or ten we have the top 25,” he said.
Cronan said for him, operating the station is about passion and filling a void for more traditional country music in the area.
“I missed working in radio and The Rebel was a very unique station. It was a station that was fun both for those who worked there and the listeners. There was just a big void when you turned on the radio and listened around here, a big void because it was the same crap over and over, all the repeats and lack the fun and local feeling to it,” Cronan said.
For Cronan, the goal was to create a radio station that kept a local feel even though through the internet they broadcast all over the world.
“We run this station just like the old Rebel, we run it as a local station, we focus on the Dayton, Richmond, Cincinnati area but because we are in Preble County, we are focusing on Preble County and would love to have more things like we are getting from the district library now, like public service announcements from schools and other civic groups,” Cronan said.
Cronan encouraged anyone who has something for the radio station to email the station to help them provide listeners in the area with more local news and stories to talk about it while on the air.
Cronan said people began asking him about doing an internet radio station the night of the last party for the old station. He said it took three or four years for it happen but the time is right now.
“Internet broadcasting is getting ready to explode, it’s becoming more and more the norm, and not to knock the broadcast stations but it seemed like radio kept getting worse and worse so this is the perfect time to bring it back,” he said.
The station will have a familiar sound to it, as several of the same DJs and shows from the old Rebel are featured.
Madison Taylor is back doing “Madison in the morning.” Two-Tall Jennings is now doing afternoons immediately following The Donald just as it was at the old Rebel. Cronan said Jennings acts as his right hand man, and said in all his years being on radio he has never met someone who has as much music knowledge as Jennings does.
Cronan’s brother, Bob Crow, is on from 6-10 p.m. and Rambling Bob is on from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.
The station also features specialty programs like a bluegrass special hosted by Chase Johnson starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday night. Tim Harris hosts a program that features gospel music on Sunday mornings called “Sunday Sunrise.” Jennings hosts the “Legends of Country hour” from 9-10 a.m. immediately following “Sunday Sunrise.”
Currently all the DJs volunteer their time and do the work simply as a passion project, according to Cronan — and because of that, Rebel 105.9 is back.