There are few people in the Country Music industry who have the perspective of being actively involved in the history from the 60’s through to the 90’s. Stan Hitchcock was the young kid with the greats, a buddy of the superstars and the media mogul shaping the careers of the up and coming kids who needed to be presented to the television generation.
A native of the Missouri Ozarks, Stan had his first radio appearance on KWTO in Springfield at the age of 12. His love of music continued to grow as he did. Upon graduation from high school, Stan formed his own band while on active duty with the U.S. Navy. His four years of military service led to his performing in such exotic locales as Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
After discharge from the Navy, Stan returned to his home town in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and in 1959 helped his Uncle Bob Johnson start a ranch for homeless boys called “Good Samaritan Boys Ranch”. Stan visited radio stations in a 200 mile radius of the Ranch and the stations agreed to carry his 30 minute radio broadcast from the Ranch to promote the work with homeless boys. On the radio show, Stan would sing with his guitar and a group of his young friends called “The Waymakers”, his Uncle Bob Johnson would preach and folks started supporting the Ranch. The radio broadcasts led to a lifetime career in music and entertainment. In fact, Stan’s first recording project came in 1959-1960 with his “Stan Hitchcock and the Waymakers” EP for the Boys Ranch.
Red Foley discovered Stan shortly after his return to Springfield, Missouri, from the Navy, and invited him to join his show on the state fair circuit. Stan took Foley’s advice in 1962, having signed with Columbia Records Epic label, and moved to Nashville. He enjoyed a continuing list of chart records from 1964 to 1982.
His talents led the way for his extremely productive television career. From 1966-1971, “The Stan Hitchcock Show” ran in almost every major market in syndication. Stan’s program during this period offered some of country music’s rising super stars their first chances to perform on national television — future greats such as Barbara Mandrell, Jerry Reed, Tom T. Hall, Bobby Goldsboro, Dottie West, Mel Tillis and Lynn Anderson.
His next television venture, “Stan Hitchcock From The Ozarks”, appeared in major markets from 1979 – 1983, and continued for several years in syndication.
Stan continued to further showcase his talents, drawing capacity crowds, at some of the leading theaters and auditoriums in America. These memorable appearances included the Eastern States Exposition, Gilley’s, national tours of West Germany Canada, and a special appearance before the U.S. Congress, the Cabinet and members of the Supreme Court at Washington D.C.’s Congressional Club at the Smithsonian.
His career continued to diversify with national commercials for Purina Dog Chow, Ayds Reducing plan and Eckerd Drugs. At the same time Stan continued to strengthen his contingent of fans with his talent, and as a performer during guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, The Porter Wagoner Show, The Bill Anderson Show, That Good Ole Nashville Music, Hee Haw, and The Ralph Emery Show.
Always one looking for the next trend, Stan furthered his professional development by being a major force in the creation and running of the Nashville – based Country Music Television (CMT) in 1984. As Senior Vice President, In Charge of Nashville Operations, Stan provided the hands-on direction and day-to-day creative spark for the network which fostered the atmosphere where new acts were being introduced to his viewing public even before radio began playing their records. It was the first time radio stations were calling the record companies asking for artists that their listeners were seeing on CMT! While at CMT Stan started the interview program “Stan Hitchcock’s Heart to Heart” which was very popular among TV viewers as well as country artists. The show featured relaxed settings in which Stan and his guests picked guitars and talked about the art of music and their personal experiences. It was a conversation among friends and it was a hit with viewers, receiving as many as 1,000 letters per week while on CMT.
In 1991 CMT sold to Gaylord and Group W and Stan left to found a new cable television network, Americana Television Network – the music, the people and the pastimes of this great nation. Stan took the helm as C.E.O. of this new national cable television network.
Stan has always listened to what the viewing public had to say, always asking people to write to him and taking time to read his mail. He knew that Americana Television was the next step in what people wanted in music television. And its programming received rave reviews from critics and viewers alike.
To the fans delight Stan occasionally took off his C.E.O. hat and produced more than 83 new episodes of his “Heart to Heart” show.
In 1995 Americana Television Network sold, a necessity caused by the FCC’s re-regulation environment of the cable television industry, and the resulting channel locked cable systems that were unable to add new services from 1994-1996. Stan returned to television production through his own company, Hitchcock Productions, (HitPro) and syndication of his vast video library through the parent company, Hitchcock Enterprises, Inc..
Currently, Stan and his wife Denise are involved in another television network called BlueHighways TV that they founded, along with their partners Frank Auman, Ronnie Reno and Alan McLaughlin. BlueHighways TV is a satellite delivered television network that can be found on cable television systems nationwide. The network celebrates America through roots music, back roads adventure travel and crafts and culture, all positive family programming. Stan serves as CEO of the network’s parent company, Network Creative Group. Learn more and watch clips at www.BlueHighways TV.com
In 2009 the book, Corner of Music Row and Memory Lane, was published and established Stan as a writer. The book details Nashville’s music business from the 1950’s through the 1990’s.
Stan finds daily inspiration for his writing on the wide front porch of his old farm-house just north of Gallatin, Tennessee.