There's little dead air in life for local radio personality Egon Barthels. After a recent stint with Shiner country station Texas Thunder KYKM ended, the local deejay, emcee, and sometimes tour guide is back to doing what he does best, booming his voice over vast miles of South Central Texas farmland.
Barthels is currently sitting in for Larry Marble of the famous “Down on the Farm Radio” while the host is away on business in South Africa. The program is syndicated from Abilene to Corpus Christi and brings along livestock market reports, agri-business news, crops, futures, weather, and industry news. Each program is produced for the specific market and station where it airs with topical and specific content relevant to an area.
“I’ve known Larry for years,” Barthels said. “When I was on the radio in Gonzales [KCTI], we carried his show there.”
Barthels is used to spinning old polka hits from the likes of Joe Patek and Adolph Hofner, though recently it was downloading the latest offerings from the Nashville revolving doors of pop country, of which many of the names are already forgettable. In producing farm news, it's a more back-to-your-roots effort and fits well with his gig last weekend at the Gonzales County Go Texan fundraiser as he was heard announcing auction items and upcoming area events, popping jokes and dry wit here and there. It's hard to keep up with the man sometimes.
“Today, you can almost be anywhere and do a show if you have internet access,” he said. “I enjoy filling in for [Marble]. Shows like his are what got me interested in radio when I was a kid, listening to Bill McReynolds and Jud Ashmore on WOAI, and when that program ended, Larry created Down on the Farm Radio in 1996 and it’s been very popular with the farming and ranching community.”
Across Gonzales County and nearby, you can hear Down on the Farm Radio on 680 AM and 104.9 FM KKYX in San Antonio, KWED 1580 AM in Seguin, 96.3 KGID in Giddings, and 96 Country Edna/El Campo. They are also on 97.5 Real Country KFTX in Corpus Christi, 92.3 The Ranch in Kerrville, KSAQ 102.3 Jourdanton, as well as stations in San Angelo, Junction, Sonora, Ozona, Ballinger, and Abilene.
That's quite the spread for the local heightened hayseed. You're likely to see Barthels pop up playing the hits somewhere else soon, and he's the first to say that the road ahead is unknown. They have spoken a little about his future with Down on the Farm Radio, and Barthels hosts another local show called SoCenTex Community News — which is quick two-minute shots of internet-based news — as well as a weekly show called Guadalupe Valley Views which airs here on Texas Public Radio AM 1450. All of those shows are posted on his SoCenTex Bulletin Board Facebook Page.
In addition, he has been independently producing radio commercials for clients, emceeing events, and lining up a busy schedule in 2019.
“I’m glad to still be playing radio, and if anyone wants to say hi, I invite them to my Facebook page, 'Egon Barthels,'” he said. “You can also learn more about Down On The Farm Radio, at downonthefarmradio.com.”