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Oxford group seeks more money to tout tourism

The Oxford Tourism Council plans to ask aldermen for more money to promote events in the city, including the weekly “Thacker Mountain Radio” show.

“Thacker Mountain Radio” has been a north Mississippi tradition for the past nine years, with audiences gathering at Off Square Books most Thursday evenings to enjoy live music and authors’ readings.

The tourism council on Wednesday approved $15,000 to expand the advertising of the show, requiring that the show find a sponsor to give an equal amount.

“Thacker Mountain Radio” has about 19,000 listeners on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and is heard on a local station, WOXD-FM. In the past, grants from the Mississippi Arts Council and other sponsors have helped pay for the production costs of about $1,000 per show.

Earlier this year, Oxford aldermen set aside $50,000 for all tourism grants, down from a previous grant budget of $80,000.

At the meeting Wednesday, the Tourism Council members approved $43,000 in grants and delayed action until next month on another $10,000 request. Because the council is only two months into its budget year, members agreed to ask aldermen for more money to cover grant requests that are expected in the next few months.

Another new request for a tourism grant came from Ann Abadie, associate director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. The center sponsors the annual Oxford Conference for the Book.

Abadie asked for $15,000 to help with printing of brochures and posters and for an update of a conference Web site. The Tourism Council approved the $15,000, subject to city officials’ putting more money into the grant program.