Growing up in a musical family in Northeast Arkansas, it seems only natural that Rod Lawrence ultimately landed in Branson, but it didn’t start out that way. He actually went to school for a medical degree and eventually got into modeling and radio. Moving to Branson 2 years ago, he has built a loyal following through his website, weekly radio show, and a new project that he hopes will bring voices to the viewpoints of many across the Ozarks.
Rod had a radio show where he used his natural ability to come up with witty responses to what people said, but he quickly realized that audience interactions and reactions were something that there needed to be more of, and a stage show was born. “People started wanting to ask questions and share their opinions,” he tells BransonBloggers. The revelation inspired him to start a new show called Viewpoint Live, which will make its debut Thursday September 20th at 8:30 PM at the Branson Central Theater, and it will continue weekly afterwards. The format of the show will allow a variety of topics to be discussed and debated, in what he describes as a “Very fun, vocal and animated discussion with a whole big bunch of Southern Humor thrown in.”
The debut show will feature a political theme with a representative from both major parties to get what Rod describes as, “The Official Word.” He promises a funny but informational debate. It probably doesn’t hurt that there will be plenty of refreshments nearby at the bar to ease any tensions that might arise. “We’ll have an intermission during the 2 hour show, and if people can kick back and have a cocktail then that’s even better.” The goal is to take the show on the road eventually, with different locations hosting the show across the Ozarks. The response so far has been very positive. “People want to get their voices heard.” Future topics may include increasing medical expenses and single moms in today’s society.
Rod thinks that this being an Election Year it seems very appropriate to get the ball rolling on this new venture. “I’ve been aggravated listening to the news lately. Everyday people’s viewpoints are not being heard. Celebrities and politicians are heard every day, but until now there have been few opportunities for the average person to ask questions and get answers.”
Another project that Rod is continuing to pursue is the popular “Branson Minute” weekly interview program that can be heard on bransonradio.com Saturdays at 10AM with replays on Mondays at 8PM. Rod describes it as “Pure and shameless publicity for Branson area shows and entertainers.” The 15 minute program features interviews with local performers, and “everything pertaining to Branson.” Recent guests have included Mel Tillis, Clay Cooper, The Rankin Brothers and Terry Wayne Sanders. “You find out where and when they perform, what’s new, and a little about where they came from.” A fun feature of the show is a question that often catches guests off guard. “I ask them What’s A Typical Day Is Like In Your Life and it’s not something they get asked every day so the responses are real and genuine.”
“The Branson Minute” was inspired the night of the 2012 Leap Day Tornado in Branson. Rod did several live updates about the damage in Branson on air that night for Thayer, MO radio station K-Kountry 95.1 for a friend who is an announcer there. A few weeks later a new show was born. “Out of disaster, new things grow.” It is definitely clear that Rod Lawrence has a lot on his plate, but apparently that’s just the way that down home southern guys like it.