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Knoxville radio station aims for reality TV show

6:56 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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Merle FM's headquarters in Clinton, Tennessee.

You understand why Merle FM's headquarters in Clinton is called Radio Ranch after paying a visit.

A temporary vinyl sign marks the station's entrance.  Rusted metal fencing surrounds one side of the complex  A sweet dog, named Honey, greets you at the front door.

"It's unlike any other radio station I've been a part of.  For sure," said Merle FM radio personality Jack Ryan.

The unique setting attracted a popular production company out of California, according to Merle FM.  A film crew will spend January 24-26, 2013 in the Knoxville area taping a pilot for a reality television show focused on the radio station.  If picked up by a cable network, the show could be called Radio Ranch.

"There's a theme across the nation of corporations coming in and gobbling up radio stations.  It's not a theme that just happened here, but it is a theme all across the country.  They [production company] were looking for a radio station that was trying to survive.  They thought this radio station matches what they we're looking for," Jack Ryan explained to WBIR's LiveAtFiveAtFour Wednesday.  "Hollywood, California is coming to East Tennessee and we're going to be filming six random events around town.  This is not just something for the radio station.  This is for the community as a whole."

Merle FM is inviting listeners to be extras in the pilot.  An application is located at the top of their website.  A Radio Ranch Facebook page contains filming times and locations.

"They're going to put together a five to ten minute reel called a demo.  They're going to pitch it...  There's a redneck theme going on across the country and they think this radio station could fit a redneck type of theme.  So that's what we're going to do is we're going to redneck it up," he added.

Some of the scenes include The Merle Squirrel wrestling Santa at a local wrestling shop, The Ciderville Show at the Cider Barn and Merle Girl Auditions.

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