Country music star Joe Nichols wasn’t always the musician we know him as today. Before his country music days, Nichols served as a radio deejay. However, his career as a disc jockey didn’t last long. According to Nichols, his last days working for a radio station ended with him losing his job.
Nichols started his career playing in high school gyms and small clubs with The Rodeo Band. Over the course of his tenure, Nichols released a total of nine studio albums resulting in over 14 Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts. His singles that hit Number One include “Brokenheartsville”, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”, “Gimme That Girl”, “Sunny and 75”, and “Yeah.”
Prior to his success as a country music singer, Nichols worked the overnight shift at a small Top 40 country radio station in Arkansas. “For like 10 minutes,” Nichols describes the stint speaking with Taste of Country. “I was so bad at it.”
The “Good Day for Living” singer is passionate about his craft and holds an unparalleled dedication to traditional country music. In fact, Joe Nichol’s enthusiasm is so vast he’s happy to discuss the many reasons why the likes of Gene Watson and Keith Whitley belong in the Hall of Fame.
Nichols opens up about his experience working at the station in an interview with Taste of Country Nights’ Evan Paul.
Joe Nichols shares memories of working at a small radio station
As Nichols remembers, it was his comments regarding American singer-songwriter Merle Haggard that got him into some trouble.
“When I’d do overnights, midnight to 5 AM,” shares Nichols. “I’d slide in some of my favorite records because, you know? Nobody’s listening.”
“I kept getting calls at about 4 o’clock in the morning when my program director would wake up and he’d say, ‘Yeah, I haven’t programmed a Merle Haggard record in 15 years, so you need to stop doing that and I’m not going to warn you again.’ … I’m like, ‘Ah, sorry. Totally slipped. It was probably in the wrong CD (case) or had the wrong label.'”
Shortly thereafter, the station’s program director arrived and ended up firing Nichols for attempting to play Haggard a third or fourth time. However, in the end, Nichols came out on top.
“The weird twist is,” Nichols continues with a grin, “like two weeks later, that guy got fired and they switched to real country, the classics. I was like, ‘Maybe my ratings were up!'”
Parts of Joe Nichols’ Taste of Country Nights interview are in the video clip below. Listen closely for a great story of the country music singer drinking with Blake Shelton. Additionally, find out why Mark Chesnutt became upset with Nichols for a time.
Joe Nichols’ Good Day for Living album was released to the public on Feb. 11.