Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City by Craig Havighurst

By Craig Havighurst

Started by means of the nationwide lifestyles and twist of fate coverage corporation in 1925, WSM grew to become probably the most influential and unparalleled radio stations within the background of broadcasting and kingdom track. WSM gave Nashville the moniker “Music urban united states” in addition to a wealthy culture of track, information, and broad-based leisure. With the increase of kingdom track broadcasting and recording among the Nineteen Twenties and ‘50s, WSM, Nashville, and nation track grew to become inseparable, stemming from WSM’s release of the Grand Ole Opry, renowned day-by-day indicates like Noontime Neighbors, and early morning artist-driven indicates comparable to Hank Williams on Mother’s top Flour.


Sparked by way of public outcry following a suggestion to tug nation song and the Opry from WSM-AM in 2002, Craig Havighurst scoured new and current assets to record the station’s profound impact at the personality and self-image of Nashville. Introducing the reader to colourful artists and businessmen from the station’s heritage, together with Owen Bradley, Minnie Pearl, Jim Denny, Edwin Craig, and Dinah Shore, the amount invitations the reader to mirror at the prestige of Nashville, radio, and nation track in American culture.

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Nashville’s tiny radio community had to coexist with the suddenly powerful WSM. Initially, cooperation was the rule. Stations shared talent and observed “silent” nights in deference to one another. Jack DeWitt’s former collaborator Harry Stone continued to build a broadcasting career quite literally out of thin air. Working part-time at WCBQ and part-time at a radio store, he impressed potential customers by calling the station and having the operator there play a record over the air at the customers’ request.

Indd 11 7/17/07 10:27:35 AM Vaughan could supply the programming between 9:00 and 10:00 on weeknights and 9:15 to 10:15 on Sunday nights. It wasn’t an ideal solution for Craig, but it was all he had to work with. By April 10, the deal was in Carson’s hands, along with a cordial letter from National Life general counsel Thomas Tyne, asking for permission to go ahead with the time-sharing plan. Now things moved forward rapidly. Craig, doubling his initial power requirements, ordered a 1,000-watt transmitter from Western Electric, promising to make his the only station in the South equal to Atlanta’s WSB.

The Banner editorialized with enthusiasm about the National Life’s “vision, courage and civic enterprise” and pointed to Kirkland’s talk as the kind of public service it appreciated and expected from its new local tribune. ” Other groups embraced WSM as a promotional tool. The Nashville Shrin­ ers offered a live, on-air preview of their minstrel show to attract people to an upcoming three-night run at the Orpheum Theater. When a hurricane hit Miami in 1926, WSM made appeals for American Red Cross donations and helped with emergency communications in the faraway disaster.

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