Broadcasting the Ozarks: Si Siman and Country Music at the Crossroads

University of Arkansas Press

Adding to cart… The item has been added

Broadcasting the Ozarks: Si Siman and Country Music at the Crossroads by Kitty Ledbetter and Scott Foster Siman

“It’s good to see Si Siman and the Ozark Jubilee get their due in Broadcasting the Ozarks.”
—Willie Nelson

Broadcasting the Ozarks explores the vibrant country music scene that emerged in Springfield, Missouri, in the 1930s and thrived for half a century. Central to this history is the Ozark Jubilee (1955–60), the first regularly broadcast live country music show on network television. Dubbed the “king of the televised barn dances,” the show introduced the Ozarks to viewers across America and put Springfield in the running with Nashville for dominance of the country music industry—with the Jubilee’s producer, Si Siman, at the helm. 

Siman’s life story is almost as remarkable as the show he produced. He was booking Tommy Dorsey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Glenn Miller during the mid-1930s while still a high school student and produced nationally syndicated country music radio shows in the decades that followed. Siman was a promotional genius with an ear for talent, a persuasive gift for gab, and the energy and persistence to make things happen for many future Country Music Hall of Famers, including Chet Atkins, Porter Wagoner, the Browns, and Brenda Lee. Following the Jubilee’s five-year run, Siman had a hand in some of the greatest hits of the twentieth century as a music publisher, collaborating with such songwriters as rockabilly legend and fellow Springfieldian Ronnie Self, who wrote Brenda Lee’s signature hit, “I’m Sorry,” and Wayne Carson, who wrote Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind.” Although Siman had numerous opportunities to find success in bigger cities, he chose to do it all from his hometown in the Ozarks.

About the Authors

Kitty Ledbetter is professor emerita of English at Texas State University. She formerly served as editor of the Journal of Texas Music History. Before entering academia, she was a country music disc jockey at radio stations in Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.

Scott Foster Siman, son of Si Siman, is a country music entertainment executive. He is former chairman and president of the Academy of Country Music and board member of the Country Music Foundation. He currently serves as president of EM.Co, which oversees the management and marketing of country music artist, actor, and author Tim McGraw, among others.

Product Specifications

Published by University of Arkansas Press, 2024. Paperback, 240 pages.