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

By Craig Havighurst

Started through the nationwide lifestyles and twist of fate coverage corporation in 1925, WSM turned essentially the most influential and remarkable radio stations within the historical past of broadcasting and nation song. WSM gave Nashville the moniker “Music urban united states” in addition to a wealthy culture of song, information, and broad-based leisure. With the increase of state track broadcasting and recording among the Nineteen Twenties and ‘50s, WSM, Nashville, and nation tune grew to become inseparable, stemming from WSM’s release of the Grand Ole Opry, well known day-by-day exhibits like Noontime Neighbors, and early morning artist-driven exhibits resembling Hank Williams on Mother’s top Flour.


Sparked via public outcry following a suggestion to tug kingdom song and the Opry from WSM-AM in 2002, Craig Havighurst scoured new and latest 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 background, together with Owen Bradley, Minnie Pearl, Jim Denny, Edwin Craig, and Dinah Shore, the quantity invitations the reader to mirror at the prestige of Nashville, radio, and nation song in American culture.

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Two years later the couple moved to Nashville and had a daughter. During World War I Craig organized and managed the company’s new “ordinary life” department. By 1924 Craig was a vice president and manager of the much larger industrial department. ” During those years, perhaps as early as 1921, Craig began to bother his father and the National Life board about a company radio station. Craig could see businesses spawning radio stations by the score, from local concerns to national giants like Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Bate and Uncle Dave were early regulars. And on at least one occasion, Bessie Smith, the Empress of the Blues, two years into her wildly successful recording career on Columbia Records, visited the city and played with her orchestra over WDAD. ” The coverage marked a rare instance of mainstream Nashville celebrating black blues, which locally was as segregated as the record bins delineating “hillbilly” and “race” or “sepia” music. More propitious for the future of country music and WSM were the WDAD origins of another black performer, the Harmonica Wizard, DeFord Bailey.

Vance, pastor at the First Presbyterian Church, whose sermons were broadcast every Sunday and who announced that he was convinced the radio was saving souls and boosting church attendance. ” A birthday show called on some 130 entertainers who had been a part of the station’s first year. The studios filled with gifts from well-wishers: fruit baskets, sweets from the Union Ice Cream Company, and scads of flowers, including an arrangement made to look like a broadcast station with two tiny aerials.

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