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

By Craig Havighurst

Started through the nationwide existence and coincidence assurance corporation in 1925, WSM turned essentially the most influential and extraordinary radio stations within the historical past 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 state song broadcasting and recording among the Twenties and ‘50s, WSM, Nashville, and state tune turned inseparable, stemming from WSM’s release of the Grand Ole Opry, renowned day-by-day indicates like Noontime Neighbors, and early morning artist-driven exhibits resembling Hank Williams on Mother’s most sensible Flour.

 

Sparked by means of public outcry following a suggestion to tug nation tune and the Opry from WSM-AM in 2002, Craig Havighurst scoured new and present resources to rfile the station’s profound influence 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 kingdom song in American culture.

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Radio stars Leo Fitzpatrick and Lambdin Kay returned, as did political ally Major Van Nostrand. Local radio mover and shaker Harry Stone was also on hand. indd 28 7/17/07 10:27:38 AM Edwin Craig thanked the city and its musical talent for a year of support and entertainment. He noted that the station, now with three full-time engineers, was growing. He thanked Martha Rowland Brown, who had taken over the bedtime story slot and its large fan club. And he gave special kudos to George Hay and Jack Keefe for holding down the announcing duties during more than 1,200 hours of broadcasts.

Newspapers, radio equipment makers, churches, and telephone companies were starting radio stations, with varied agendas and uncertain prospects. indd 9 7/17/07 10:27:34 AM insurance companies or similarly conservative financial services firms taking to the airwaves, and Edwin Craig began asking himself why not. About this time, probably early 1922, Craig sought out young radio guru Jack DeWitt. Neither left a record of their first meeting, but it marked the beginning of a lengthy and prolific friendship.

When Uncle Dave took the stage, seated as if on a bouncing chair, with a banjo tilt-a-whirling in his lap, Sidney cut away on “Sugar Walks Down the Street” and “Turkey in the Straw” to enthusiastic whoops and applause. It was this broadcast, aired just as George Hay was making his move to Nashville, that most directly anticipated the birth of the Grand Ole Opry. The oft-repeated story goes that a few weeks after Hay’s arrival, on November 28, 1925, he invited country fiddler Uncle Jimmy Thompson to play for an hour on a Saturday night.

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