Talk Time ends as radio station changes format

by Cristin Parker

An era has ended and the last voice of Cherokee County has been silenced.

Local radio personality John Robinhawk and his popular morning radio show ‘Talk Time’ have been taken off the air, as of Friday, Nov. 30. The station, KTLU 103.9, was recently purchased and moved from Rusk to Jacksonville, and is now changing formats.

“I was called into the office (Friday, Nov. 30) and simply told my services were no longer needed -- that they were changing formats,” Robinhawk said. “That’s the shape of radio these days, unfortunately. It’s a shame – Talk Time has been around so long, for four decades. It was a handy way to sell things in a hurry – sometimes life throws situations at people where they needed to sell something quick and Talk Time helped a lot of people be able to do that. But it wasn’t just a format to sell things. We promoted our local organizations like the Cherokee Civic Theatre, Second Glance resale shop, the Good Samaritan. That kind of support was invaluable to those entities, I know.

“But I’m especially saddened to have my show end because of my listeners – some of those longtime listeners called in just to be able to talk to someone. Yes, it was a silly show but we had a lot of fun with it through the years and I’m really proud of what it brought to our area and what it was able to do for our listeners.

“I am saddened that I didn't have the chance to say goodbye to the Talk Time and Robinhawk family. I worry about the loyal listeners who have listened to me over four decades and know I keep each of you in my thoughts.

“It's been my honor to have been of service to the community and to have been such a great part of Rusk, Alto, Jacksonville and all of East Texas. Penny and I love all of you and you'll be missed. Thank you!”

Robinhawk hosted Talk Time, off and on, since 1981, he said, and is proud to say he worked with some of the best local radio people Cherokee County had to offer, including Emmett Whitehead, Stan Nolley, Johnny Helm, Merv Dawson, Park Watson, Heavy Metal Bob and Tara Tatarski, the current Rusk Chamber of Commerce manager. Other hosts included Robert Gonzalez, Sam Florian, Quinten Boyd and Randall Birdsong.

“I can remember being a little girl and hearing my mamaw call in to let them know it was her birthday,” Tatarski stated in a post on social media last week. “I eventually hosted that afternoon show, Country Corner. I loved it; it helped bring me out of my shell.”

Another staple of local radio Robinhawk brought to listeners across Cherokee County was Plant Talk, co-hosted with Cherokee County AgriLife Extension Horticulture Agent Kim Benton.

“For eight years now Robinhawk and I have been co-conspirators at Plant Talk,” Benton said in a Facebook post she shared when she got the news of the show’s cancellation. “I still remember my first show and how terrified I was. John’s laughter made quick work of my nervousness though and we have had a great deal of fun since then. It has been such a joyful part of my work as an Extension agent. Thanks, John, for bringing me out of my shell. I am deeply blessed to have gained some lifelong friends.”

Robinhawk said since he and his wife and Saturday morning co-host Penny, have been working seven days a week for so long, they plan to take a little time off before seeking out their next endeavor.