Heart returns Oct. 13 to Hard Rock

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/05/2016 02:30 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Heart, led by legendary sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, are set to play The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on Oct. 13. Tickets start at $65 and are on sale.

Heart has sold more than 35 million albums and achieved platinum status 20 times. The duo formed when the idea of two women leading a rock band was still groundbreaking. From the moment 1976’s “Dreamboat Annie” was released, they became stars.

With hits like “Magic Man,” “Crazy On You,” “Barracuda,” “Alone,” “What About Love” and “These Dreams,” the band became one of the biggest hit-makers in the 1970s and 80s.

In July, the legends dropped their 16th album, “Beautiful Broken.” Their first album in four years has the sisters exploring new songs and rediscovering favorites. Songs such as “City’s Burning,” “Down on Me” and “Sweet Darlin’” have been stripped and are delivered in an emotionally raw and velvety nature.

For a full list of upcoming tour dates and news, visit www.heart-music.com.

Kentucky HeadHunters to play Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/05/2016 01:30 PM
ROLAND, Okla. – The southern rock band Kentucky HeadHunters will play a free show at the Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland’s Lee Creek Tavern at 8 p.m. on Oct. 6, with an opening act beginning at 7 p.m.

The band’s Grammy Award-winning 1989 debut “Pickin’ on Nashville” produced four Billboard hot country singles. The first, a cover of Bill Monroe’s classic hit "Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine,” peaked at No. 25 on the U.S. Country chart.

The following year, “Dumas Walker” climbed to No. 15 on Billboard charts. "Oh Lonesome Me,” a Don Gibson cover song, and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Angel,” also from “Pickin’ on Nashville,” peaked, respectively, at No. 8 and No. 23 on the Billboard charts.

The Kentucky HeadHunters earned Best New Vocal Duo or Group award from the Academy of Country Music in 1989. The band earned Album of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year awards from the Country Music Association in 1990 and picked up another CMA Vocal Group of the Year award in 1991.

The Kentucky HeadHunters have released seven studio albums, including the band’s most recent, “Dixie Lullabies,” which was released in 2011 by their own label, Practice House Records.
https://www.facebook.com/electrockytribalcouncil/

John Michael Montgomery, Collin Raye to play Hard Rock

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/05/2016 10:00 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Country music stars John Michael Montgomery and Collin Raye are bringing their hits to The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on Nov. 17.

Tickets start at $35 and go on sale Oct. 6.

Montgomery is known for his rich baritone voice and hits, including “Life’s a Dance,” “I Swear,” “I Love the Way You Love Me,” “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident.)”

His body of work has received many awards, including the CMA Horizon, ACM’s Top New Vocalist, CMA’s Single and Song of the Year, Billboard’s Top Country Artist and a Grammy nomination.

Co-headlining that night will be 1990s hit-maker Collin Ray, who has 24 Top 10 records and 16 No. 1 hits, and has been a 10-time Male Vocalist of the Year nominee, with five CMA nods and five ACMs.

Encore! Performing Society to dance tribute to Oklahoma’s 5 Indian ballerinas

BY STAFF REPORTS
09/02/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Encore! Performing Society will present the Louis Ballard Ballet “The Four Moons” as a tribute to Oklahoma’s five Native American ballerinas at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Northeastern State University’s Center for Performing Arts.

The five dancers – Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, Moscelyne Larkin and sisters Maria Tallchief and Marjorie Tallchief- were reunited in Oklahoma in 1967 to dance “The Four Moons” as a part of Indian Festival.

Maria Tallchief had already retired by that time and did not attend, therefore, the five became four. The ballet, set to music by the Oklahoma native Louis Ballard, a Quapaw-Cherokee composer, consists of four solos that evoke each dancer’s tribal heritage. The Osage solo is dedicated to both Tallchief sisters, thus explaining the title, an Encore! Performing Society release states.

Eleven Native American dancers from Tahlequah, Fort Gibson, Stilwell and Keys will come together to bring the production to life.

Sydney Terry, Emma and Madison Sherron, Hadley Hume, Sinihele Rhoades, Stella and Mena Aldridge, Natalie Walker, Clistia Geary, Reece Cowart, Lacy Ullrich and Kerstyn Thompson are going to showcase the parts of younger and older ballerinas as they show their history in life and throughout the time period of their people, the release states.
https://www.facebook.com/Janees-Taylor-for-Tribal-Council-217063208698059/

Art Garfunkel bringing hits to Hard Rock Tulsa

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/16/2016 12:00 PM
CATOOSA Okla. – Legendary singer Art Garfunkel will perform Sept. 29 at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Tickets start at $40 and go on sale Aug. 18.

The award-winning artist has enjoyed a successful film career, published a book of poetry and released 12 solo albums, the most recent being “Some Enchanted Evening” in 2007.

Garfunkel was revered for his Grammy-winning, chart-topping songs and albums with partner Paul Simon. Their greatest hits collection, which includes “Mrs. Robinson,” “Scarborough Fair,” “The Sound of Silence,” “The Boxer” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is one of the biggest-selling albums.

Notable hits from his collection of solo work include “All I Know,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and "[What A] Wonderful World” with James Taylor and Paul Simon.

For a full list of upcoming tour dates and news, visit www.artgarfunkel.com.
Art Garfunkel
Art Garfunkel

Cherokee Casino Fort Gibson plans a flashback weekend

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/05/2016 04:00 PM
FORT GIBSON, Okla. – Flashback Friday takes on a new meaning as the Cherokee Casino Fort Gibson offers its weekend-long version with tribute bands playing Aug. 12-13.

On Aug. 12, local artist Brent Giddens becomes “An Echo of the King” in an electrifying Elvis tribute show at 3 Rivers Tavern at 9 p.m.

Bad Moon Rising offers a raw, bayou rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival, beginning at 9 p.m. on Aug. 13. Both shows are free to the public.

Giddens is an Elvis tribute artist who competed in national competitions, including Elvis Presley Enterprises’ worldwide competition where he earned the championship in 2010. The artist’s high-energy show features all the eras of Elvis’ career. His uncanny ability to entertain an audience and sultry re-creation of Elvis’ voice are unmatched.

In 1993, five talented musicians came together to form one of the most exciting tribute bands around today, Bad Moon Rising. Lead vocalist Brian Eldredge captivates audiences with show-stopping performances nationwide, effortlessly capturing the spirit that is John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Martina McBride returns to Hard Rock on Sept. 22

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/15/2016 04:00 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Country megastar Martina McBride will be performing Sept. 22 at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Tickets start at $55 and go on sale July 21.

The multiple Grammy Award nominee has sold more than 18 million albums, which includes 20 Top 10 singles and six No. 1 hits. She has earned more than 15 major music awards, including four wins for Female Vocalist of the Year from the Country Music Association and three Academy of Country Music awards for Top Female Vocalist. McBride has been awarded 14 gold records, nine platinum honors, three double platinum records and two triple platinum awards.

Notable songs by the country sensation include “Independence Day,” “This One’s for the Girls,” “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” “A Broken Wing” and “Concrete Angel.” McBride’s latest album released this year features “Reckless,” the title track from the album.

She recently released her first book, “Around the Table,” a full-color illustrated collection of her favorite recipes, hosting tips, practical menu planning advice and themed décor inspiration.

McBride’s fight against domestic violence was recognized with the Covenant House Beacon of Hope Award and Music Business Association’s prestigious 2015 Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award. She will bring her passion for family and music to help Sarah Cannon launch their national Band Against Cancer campaign this year with special concerts in selected markets.
Martina McBride has sold more than 18 million albums, which includes 20 Top 10 singles and six No. 1 hits. COURTESY
Martina McBride has sold more than 18 million albums, which includes 20 Top 10 singles and six No. 1 hits. COURTESY

Lynyrd Skynyrd return to Hard Rock

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/09/2016 10:00 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd is bringing its Southern-style guitar rock on Sept. 17 to The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Tickets start at $55 and go on sale July 14.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band has a catalog of more than 60 albums and sales beyond $30 million worldwide. Their hits, including “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird,” “Gimme Three Steps,” “Saturday Night Special” and “What’s Your Name?” have earned them a spot in rock history.

Their latest album, “Last of a Dyin’ Breed,” was released in 2012 and followed up their 2009 release of “God & Guns,” which debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard Top 200, giving the band their highest debut since 1977.

The band enjoys a legacy of more than 40 years.

For a full list of upcoming tour dates and news, visit www.lynyrdskynyrd.com.

Cherokee National Youth Choir releases Christmas CD

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
11/09/2015 01:41 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee National Youth Choir is releasing a new Christmas music CD and will be performing songs from it at two concerts in November and December.

“Cherokee Christmas” can be purchased at all Cherokee Gift Shops, at the concerts or by calling CNYC Co-Director Kathy Sierra at 918-453-5638. The CD has 12 songs that were recorded this past summer.

“We are doing all styles of music from ‘Up On the Housetop’ and ‘Silver Bells’ to ‘O Holy Night,’” CNYC Co-Director Mary Kay Henderson said.

This is the third Christmas CD the choir has recorded. The previous one, “Comfort and Joy,” was released in 2006.

[BLOCKQUOTE]The choir’s CD release concert will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame at 401 S. Third St. in Muskogee. This event is free and open to the public. A second concert will be at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Wagoner Civic Center located at 301 S. Grant in Wagoner. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased by calling 918-485-3414.
“Cherokee Christmas” can be purchased at all Cherokee Gift Shops or by calling 918-453-5638. COURTESY
“Cherokee Christmas” can be purchased at all Cherokee Gift Shops or by calling 918-453-5638. COURTESY
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Culture

CHC to host 16th annual Cherokee Ancestry Conference
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/15/2017 12:45 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Discover your family history and Cherokee ancestry at the Cherokee Heritage Center’s 16th annual Cherokee Ancestry Conference June 9-10 at the Tribal Complex.

The event provides participants with the tools to research their ancestry with Cherokee historical records and features a variety of discussion topics, including historical events before and after the removal, inter-tribal relationships and advancements in social media and its effect on genealogy research.

Participants will also learn about various CN records available online as well as resources available in their local area for Cherokee ancestry research.

A discount is given to those who register before June 3. Pre-registration is $60 for Cherokee National Historical Society members and $75 for nonmembers. The deadline is June 3. Registrations after June 3 are $70 for CNHS members and $85 for nonmembers.

The Cherokee Ancestry Conference will be held in the Osiyo Room at the Tribal Complex. It is located at 17725 S. Muskogee Ave. in the same building as Restaurant of the Cherokees.

For more information, including accommodations and registration, call 918-456-6007, ext. 6162, or email ashley-vann@cherokee.org.

Education

OU to host symposium on environmental issues on March 24
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/20/2017 04:00 PM
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma College of Law on March 24 will host the American Indian Law Review’s annual “Indigenous Peoples, Law, and Power Symposium.”

This year’s theme is “Oil and Water.” The symposium is co-sponsored in partnership with the OU’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Native American Studies Department. The event will begin at 10 a.m. in the Dick Bell Courtroom in Andrew M. Coats Hall.

Experts of Native American environmental issues will sit on two panels and give two keynote addresses. The speakers and their topics include:

Morning Panel: “The Chickasaw-Choctaw Compact in Context,” Sara Hill, senior assistant attorney general of the Cherokee Nation, and Taiawagi Helton, professor of law, University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Morning Keynote: “Water Sovereignty and Stewardship: The Historic Chickasaw-Choctaw Water Settlement,” Stephen Greetham, chief general counsel and special counsel on water and natural resources, Chickasaw Nation and Michael Burrage, managing partner, Whitten Burrage Law Firm;

Afternoon Panel: “Justice and Juxtaposition: Environmental Justice and Protest in Parallel,” Taiawagi Helton, professor of law, University of Oklahoma College of Law; and
Afternoon Keynote: “The Impact of Fracking on Indian Nations: A Case Study,” Walter Echo-Hawk, of counsel, Crowe & Dunlevy.

“This year’s “Indigenous Peoples, Law, and Power Symposium” builds upon several dedicated events we have held this year, all of which have focused on the intersection of Native American rights and environmental law,” said OU College of Law Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. “We are honored to host these discussions on such important issues and we’re pleased to have the partnership of OU’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Native American Studies Department as we do so.”

In December 2015, the OU Board of Regents unanimously voted to elevate Native American Studies from a program to department status at the request of OU President David L. Boren. Since 1994, OU’s Native American Studies focus has attracted and served students of diverse backgrounds who are committed to using distinctly Native American perspectives to place the sovereignty of Native nations and the cultures of Native peoples at the center of academic study. In addition to a graduate certificate in American Indian Social Work, the Department offers bachelor’s, master’s, and joint master’s and juris doctorate degrees.

“This is our sixth year to co-host this special event,” said Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham (Chickasaw), chair of the Native American Studies Department and director of the newly established Native Nations Center. “Our partnership grows out of our joint M.A./J.D. program, which makes all of our students uniquely competitive. This year’s symposium topic is of critical importance to Native nations and communities. The subject matter is dear to our hearts as it impacts our lands as well as our political and cultural identities.”

Council

Tribal Council accepts U.S. Forest Service apology
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
02/22/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Tribal Councilors on Feb. 21 unanimously voted to accept an apology from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region for damages to a Trail of Tears site in the Cherokee National Forest near Coker Creek, Tennessee.

In July 2015, U.S. Forest Service cultural resource managers notified higher-ranked Forest Service officials that they had discovered damage made in 2014 to a site on a Trail of Tears section. The damage consisted of holes dug by a bulldozer and other heavy equipment.

“At that site, 35 large holes were dug into the historic Trail of Tears to create large, earthen berms,” Sheila Bird, Cherokee Nation special projects officer, told the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. “They used bulldozer and other heavy equipment, and this earthmoving resulted clear and extensive damage to the historic national trail.”

She added that Forest Service employees did the work and claimed that it was done for erosion control and to prevent areas of the Trail of Tears from washing out.

“This is a well-known and mapped Trail of Tears path, but it was not marked because it was privately owned. This land was purchased by Conservation Fund and held for the U.S. Forest Service,” she said. “The District Ranger failed to follow federal laws requiring consultation with Indian tribes. The Forest Service has acknowledged fault and committed to restoring the site.”

According to a Feb 21 resolution, the U.S. Forest Service-Southern Region “recognizes the cultural and historic significance held by the Cherokee Nation regarding the Trail of Tears historic site and extends an apology for the unfortunate and adverse effects that have occurred.”

It also states the “Cherokee Nation agrees to consult on a government to government basis with the U.S. Forest Service-Southern Region regarding the restoration and mitigation of these adverse effects to this Trail of Tears sacred site.”

It adds that as a “Good Faith Effort” and to commit to jointly pursue meaningful mitigation the Tribal Council accepts the apology.

Also during the meeting, Tribal Council voted 17-0 to support the nominations of Michael Doublehead and Steven Wilson as commissioners to the Tax Commission. They also voted Ceciley Thomason-Murphy onto the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.

Tribal Councilors voted to donate three surplus vehicles from the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service to the Nowata Police Department and Muskogee and Delaware counties sheriff’s offices.

Three CN citizens were also honored with the Cherokee Medal of Freedom – John Thomas Cripps III, who served in the U.S. Army, and John Paul Atkinson and Jesse James Collins, who served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and were activated in 2011 to the RECON 1-279th 45th Infantry to Afghanistan.

Two budget modifications were also passed. The comprehensive capital budget was increased by $1.8 million for a total capital budget authority of $279.6 million. The tribe’s operating budget was also increased by $2.1 million for a total budget authority of $666.6 million. The changes consisted of a decrease in the general fund by $92,000 and increases in the indirect cost pool, motor vehicle tax, Department of Interior Self Governance and IHS Self Governance and budgets.

Health

Effective interventions prevent alcohol use among Native youth
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/16/2017 12:15 PM
ATLANTA, Ga. – Community-based and individual-level prevention strategies are effective ways to reduce alcohol use among American Indian and other youth living in rural communities, according to a new study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also provided support for the study.

“This important study underscores our commitment to finding evidence-based solutions for alcohol problems in American Indian and other underserved populations,” said NIAAA Director George F. Koob “This study is one of the largest alcohol prevention trials ever conducted with an American Indian population, and the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of screening and brief counseling intervention in significantly reducing youth alcohol use at a community level.”

Although American Indian teens drink at rates similar to other United States teens, they have early onset alcohol use compared to other groups and higher rates of alcohol problems. Rural youths, including those who are a racial minority relative to their community, are also at increased risk for alcohol misuse. Early prevention is critical in these populations, but both American Indians and rural communities have been underrepresented in studies aimed at finding effective solutions for underage drinking.

To address this gap, researchers led by Kelli A. Komro of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta worked with the Cherokee Nation, the second-largest tribe in the U.S., to implement a rigorous research trial of two distinct strategies to reduce underage drinking and its consequences.

Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol is a community-organizing intervention designed to reduce alcohol access, use and consequences among underage youths. The second strategy, called CONNECT, is an individually delivered screening and brief intervention delivered in schools. The study was conducted within the 14 counties of northeastern Oklahoma that comprise the CN jurisdictional area, which is home to about 40 percent of the tribe. While CN citizens constitute a significant proportion of the population, whites and other racial/ethnic minorities also live within this area. Results of the trial are reported in the March 2017 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

“Community organizing has been used effectively in multiple other health intervention trials and appeared to be an optimal strategy to engage diverse citizens in these multicultural communities,” explained Dr. Komro. CMCA involves training teams of adults to implement policies and take actions to reduce youth access to alcohol through social and commercial sources. In the school-based intervention, a school social worker conducts a brief one-on-one health consultation with each student each semester to encourage healthy behavior change related to alcohol consumption. Students who report high risk drinking attend follow-up sessions and are referred to specialty treatment when appropriate.

Six communities, each served by a single high school, participated in the study. The student population in these communities was nearly 50 percent American Indian. The study population consisted of students who were in ninth or 10th grade when the study began and followed over three years through 11th or 12th grade.

By random assignment, students in two communities received both the community-organizing intervention and the individually delivered intervention. Students in two different communities served as controls, and received neither intervention. One of the remaining two communities used only the community-organizing intervention while the other used only the school-based individually administered intervention.

Over the course of the study, researchers found that self-reports of alcohol use, including any use and heavy drinking episodes (five or more drinks on at least one occasion) in the past 30 days, was significantly reduced among students receiving either or both interventions, compared with students in the control communities.

“The two distinct interventions alone and in combination resulted in similar patterns of effect across time,” said Komro, “but, interestingly, we found no evidence that the two interventions combined had significantly greater effects than either alone.”

Komro and her colleagues conclude that, while alcohol use among high school students remains a serious public health problem, and rural and American Indian youths are particularly vulnerable populations, the specific community and school-based interventions they examined are effective approaches for addressing alcohol problems in these diverse communities.

Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov.

Opinion

OPINION: I’ll just leave this here
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
03/09/2017 04:00 PM
I'm going to share some “feels” with you. I'm not going to weep all over the page, but I will share with you what this job has meant to me, what it’s done for me and how I come to spend nearly 10 years doing it.

This job has shaped not only my career but also my life. I wasn’t one of those kids who had their tribal heritage shared with them as they grew up. I mean my story isn't that different from a lot of people. I was Cherokee. I knew that, but I missed out on the cultural aspect of being a tribal citizen. This job gave me the opportunity to not only grow and establish a career, but I grew to understand my culture, where I came from and what the Cherokee people have overcome. I learned of a tumultuous history that my ancestors faced as well as a personal history regarding my direct ancestor, Anderson Springston. I even wrote a column about it explaining the roles my people played in the killing of three prominent Cherokees: Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot. I also learned of the connection the son of that ancestor, John Leak Springston, had with the Cherokee Phoenix. He was known to be an Indian activist, an interpreter, newspaper editor, attorney and Keetoowah revivalist.

There have been so many stories that have left a mark on me. I’ve covered countless meetings, several tribal elections, as well as your basic health, education, cultural and people stories, and they all served a purpose of educating, entertaining and informing the Cherokee people.

It’s been nearly 10 years since I started here, and I have loved having the opportunity to work for such a historic newspaper. I’ve met some great people and made lasting relationships, but my most favorite aspect of working in this capacity has ultimately been helping people by both informing them of what their government is doing, as well as giving our Cherokee people a voice - something that has been taken from them time and again.

My concern for the Cherokee people and their involvement in the goings-on within their government is something that during the past several years I’ve noticed is most important. So I’ve tried to do that. It’s important to become educated in your government. You should want to have a say in what happens within your tribe. We’ve seen in our history what happens when we allow others to decide for us, and we’re a stronger people than that. I personally missed out on being involved with my tribe while growing up, but that will not be the case any longer and neither will it be for my children.

I buried the lede with this one friends, but on purpose, because once I’ve written it and once you’ve read it, it’s real. I have tendered my resignation from the Cherokee Phoenix effective April 8. I have accepted a job with the city of Tahlequah. Although I’m sad, scared and nervous for what is coming I know this is the best move for me.
This change will afford me the chance to reach for goals that working for the tribe will not allow. Although those goals may be far down the road, I need to give myself a true shot at accomplishing them. But new is always scary.

I hope the Cherokee Phoenix, a newspaper that has been at the forefront and example for excellent tribal journalism, will continue to be what it was created to be, what it should be – a true voice of the Cherokee people. One that stands up for what is right by its citizens and one that the Cherokee people can count on to be a real representation of the what happens within our tribe, not just what you need to know.

You are the Cherokee Nation. No voice is too big or small and at the end of the day the Cherokee Nation is not a thing, it’s a people and those people should be treated with respect and love like all people.

I wish all my fellow staffers, current and former, the best. You made me better, smarter and definitely more quick-witted.

So with that said, I bid you a fond farewell. Much love to anyone who played a part in the stories I’ve told over the years. This isn’t goodbye. If I can be of any help to someone in the future, you can email me at jamilynnmurphy@gmail.com. Do-na-da-go-hv-i.

People

Pettit thrives as radio show host
BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
03/16/2017 08:15 AM
SALLISAW, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Justin Pettit grew up with a passion for radio broadcasting after listening to sports on the radio during his early years.

Pettit said he grew up listening to broadcasts of the University of Oklahoma Sooners and University of Arkansas Razorbacks basketball teams.

“Now, I do my own stuff. I do basketball or game of the week here on 105.1 (KXMX in Sallisaw). I do the play-by-play, the color (commentary), all my own stats, everything,” he said.

He initially thought about going into the radio broadcasting business in 2010 while working as realtor in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

“I always had a passion for radio, and I got a note from one of my friends about doing broadcasting school, and it was all online so I was able to do it,” Pettit said.

In 2011, he graduated from the American Broadcasting School and started with Cumulus Broadcasting Inc. in Fayetteville. While there, Pettit honed his skills as a radio broadcast host by covering local and college sports.

In 2015, he became a host at Mix 105.1 FM with a show called “JP in the Morning.” He is also the station’s sports director.

“I’m on the air 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. having a good time, getting people ready for the morning, getting them ready for their job or school or whatever it is they got going on,” Pettit said.

He said one of his favorite aspects of the job is interacting with listeners and fans.

“I love the interaction. That’s probably my favorite part. We’re a local radio station. We’re not owned by any big company. We get to do whatever we want. So if there’s a big event happening across town that involves the kids or anything, we’re there. We go out and interact with all the people. They love us,” he said.

He said the radio station provides more than just a show to its listeners.

“We play a mix of music. We play country, rock, Christian, all of it. They know any type of music they like they know they can listen to us and we’ll have it there for them,” he said. “They know if they need any kind of breaking weather, if there is any news happening in and around the area they tune to us. We’re live on the air. A lot of radio stations aren’t live anymore. So if there’s an accident or a road’s blocked off or anything, the people know they can tune to us or call us and we’ll let them know where to be and where not to be.”

He said to work in radio his personality has to come through in his voice.

“In radio you got to have a big personality, and a lot of guys have a radio voice. I don’t really have one. I don’t put it on because when I go out with the public, we have a lot of interaction. People say ‘well you sound just like you do on the radio.’ Well I don’t put the big…radio voice on so that’s kind one of my trademarks,” he said.

Pettit said though the radio station is only 3 or 4 years old, the ratings “are up there with the guys” who have been in the radio broadcasting business for 30 or 40 years.

His fellow employees praised Pettit for his work ethic.

Delanna Nutter, sales director, said Pettit steps up when they need him to do extra voice work and that he is “always right on point.”

“I’m just a normal guy working the job that I love and living the dream,” Pettit said.
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