Who Let the Dogs Out?
Net Radio Dogs Fetches Bluegrass and Americana for Listeners
by Stephen Pitalo
When Rick Dollar decided to make a move in radio after more than twenty years — both geographically and genre-wise — there were two reasons: love and health. Dollar formed Net Radio Dogs in 2002 after major surgery, deciding right there and then to return to his native Tennessee and produce an audio experience that reflected his love of bluegrass and Americana.
“I had recovered from brain tumor surgery and my friend Tony Dean had a great idea!” Dollar said. “To me, it was a no brainer. I loved radio and Bluegrass.”
Having worked as a talent at pop and rock stations, Rick knew the lay of the land but longed to promote the music of his youth.
“I grew up in Bristol Tennessee, and my favorite artists growing up were Doyle Lawson and KISS,” Dollar said.
Initially, Net Radio Dogs served as an interview program and aired on YouTube, but these days Rick has pared it down to feature both classic and contemporary bluegrass and Americana music in a one-hour format. Dollar himself hosts the weekly, one-hour radio show to spotlight the genre. At present, the show is offered via streaming radio and podcasts, but Rick says that he is excited to see what opportunities will develop with terrestrial radio.
“We at Net Radio Dogs Road Show have done what we do best, and that is to create an amazing bluegrass/Americana radio show. We began our search for a syndicator and we looked at all of them before selecting Fishnet Syndication.”
Dollar cited Fishnet commanders Kent Jones and Mike Tyler as veterans in the radio industry with a very impressive track record. For those not familiar, Fishnet offers a wide range of programming to independent broadcasters, including more than two dozen music and talk specialty shows for syndication, in addition to voiceover talent services.
He has also served as host of the Pickin’ Porch Show, held each Thursday for many years at The Mountain Music Museum in Bristol/Kingsport, TN, and as the President of the sponsoring organization, the Appalachian Cultural Music Association
“Tim White asked me to get involved with the organization as a board member,” Dollar explained. “Soon after, I was voted to the position by the Board of Directors.”
During the pandemic and since quarantining is the best practice, Jeffrey Garrett of the Infamous Stringdusters decided to take on the creation of the Net Radio Dogs Intro. Writing, playing, and producing this project became a personal challenge and incorporate some of the processes he uses when he performs and records as a solo artist.
“Rick Dollar was familiar with my music with The Infamous Stringdusters,” Garrett said, “as well as my solo music incorporating a loop machine, effects, and other instruments that I play. Through conversation, he approached me about designing a jingle or theme song for the show. I loved the challenge and am stoked to have it included on the show.
“I play all the instruments and every sound you hear is either, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, my vocals, or a Roland Hand Drum,” he said. “I tried to think of something inclusive as far as the type of sound and something that would both hopefully pop and be memorable.”
Net Radio Dogs holds a special place with Garrett as a writer, a performer, and a fan of bluegrass music. He said it provides entertainment, education, and more to fans and players alike.
“I think it means the ‘meat and potatoes’ of musicians and singers — the ones that are deep into the industry and process of writing, recording, and performing music.”