"I have a couple in the Pacific Northwest, Chicago, Arizona as well as overseas listeners in Ireland and Australia," he says. "There may be more, but those are some of the places that I've been contacted from. I give out my email address regularly, and I am often surprised by old friends reconnecting, and once in a while I even get emails from artists that I play thanking me for airplay."
A recent "Chicken Shack" playlist saw Ziegler spinning everything from Ronnie Dawson, Hank Williams Sr. and Patty Loveless to R&B and blues greats such as King Coleman, Gino Washington and Lightnin' Hopkins.
Ziegler sees online radio as a blessing to cubicle dwellers and those who want to check out what's going on in other cities.
The "Roots Rockabilly Roadhouse" (Tuesdays, 1-5 p.m. eastern) on Princeton University's WPRB (wprb.com) features Hotrod Scott and the Professor. The show also has its own website at rootsrockabilly.com
Featuring a highly eclectic blend of music, the "Roadhouse" has attracted listeners from such unexpected places as Cuba, according to the Professor.
Artists on a recent show included The Cramps, Carl Perkins, Ray Campi and Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant as well as non-country British veterans Roxy Music and Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies. '
The Professor says as more people get high-speed internet access, even more diverse shows will show up online.
"The mainstream media does not represent the majority, especially in the country market," he says. "I think the majority is really a mixture of small niche or specialty markets, and what is called the majority is really the lowest common denominator and not really the most or largest number of people."
He hopes to use the internet even more to expand the show's audience as well as promote the various music and car events he and Hotrod Scott coordinate.
"Technology is the tool," he says. "We should be the master. Often it becomes the other way around."
"Bashful" Bob Letson is the host of Memphis' WEVL's "Sho-Nuff Country" show Wednesdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (CST). Letson, who is in his early seventies, says he grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry and what was called hillbilly music.
"At a very young age, I started playing guitar and singing these kind of songs," he says. "I mostly just listen to old country music. Selecting music for the show is simple, I just play what I like to hear. And any request that fits the show. Sometimes bands or record company's send me CDs, and if they are sho-nuff country and I like them, I will play it."
Letson lives in Blue Springs, Miss., near Tupelo, which is out of WEVL's range, so he has to listen online to hear it. Letson says he usually tapes his shows on digital tape and mails them to Memphis.
"Sho-Nuff Country" has attracted a wide range of fans, Letson says.
"(There are listeners) in Houston, Springville, Ala., New Orleans, South Carolina," he says. "I got an e-mail from a night nurse listening in Melbourne, Australia. An old couple who lived in Memphis moved to upstate New York, and they said bought a computer just so they could listen online. I have got e-mail and phone calls from people listening on radios in farm tractors, fishing boats, riverboats, many truck drivers and several prisoners at the federal prison."
"Many older people who cannot find this kind of music on local radio will listen online or wherever they can find it. Nashville does not apparently care about older people. I get phone calls and e-mail from many younger people saying, 'I remember Mom or Dad singing these songs,' so I know at least some younger people listen."
WEVL has numerous other shows of interest including "Back to the Country" (8-11 a.m. Tuesdays), "Hillbilly Jazz" (2-3 p.m. Wednesdays), the "Bluff City Barn Dance" (6-9 a.m. Saturdays) and "House Bayou" (4-6 p.m. Wednesdays).
St. Louis' KDHX (kdhx.org) offers some of the best roots programming available online. Even better, the station provides archives for the two most recent editions of its shows.
Highlights include "The Back Country" (8-10 a.m. Tuesdays), "Country Function, Bluegrass Junction" (10 a.m.-noon Tuesdays), "Fishin' with Dynamite" (noon-2 p.m. Thur-days), "Memphis to Manchester" (8-10 a.m. Thurs-days), the "Greaser's Lunchbox" (10 a.m.-noon Thursdays) and "Feel Like Going Home" (8-10 a.m. Wednesdays). All times are CST.
Jeff Corbin, who co-hosts "The Back Country" with Bluegrass Bob, thinks online music programming will only expand, but is hopeful that it won't lead to people-/DJ-less radio.
One of the best radio stations in the country period is East Orange, N.J.-based WFMU (wfmu.org), which in addition to a wide variety of interesting and terrific programming, offers years worth of show archives.
Musician Laura Cantrell's "Radio Thrift Shop" is currently off the air, but she does fill-in shows from time to time and archives of the show date back to 2000.