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

By Craig Havighurst

Started through the nationwide existence and twist of fate assurance corporation in 1925, WSM grew to become the most influential and unprecedented radio stations within the heritage of broadcasting and state track. WSM gave Nashville the moniker “Music urban united states” in addition to a wealthy culture of tune, information, and broad-based leisure. With the increase of kingdom tune broadcasting and recording among the Twenties and ‘50s, WSM, Nashville, and kingdom song turned 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 indicates akin to Hank Williams on Mother’s top Flour.


Sparked through public outcry following an offer to drag kingdom tune and the Opry from WSM-AM in 2002, Craig Havighurst scoured new and latest resources to record the station’s profound impression at the personality and self-image of Nashville. Introducing the reader to colourful artists and businessmen from the station’s historical past, 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 song in American culture.

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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.

During the first week of November, Bate and other WSM regulars were part of a gala evening at the Ryman Auditorium—a fund-raiser for the Policeman’s Benefit Association. The eclectic slate of local talent looked like a match for WSM’s ambitions, so its newest engineer, Jack Montgomery, hired in late October from WCBQ, was charged with setting up the microphones and telephone lines that would connect the studios to the city’s venerable concert hall. indd 24 7/17/07 10:27:37 AM ovations, WSM’s Jack Keefe presided as master of ceremonies.

In July 1925, Edwin Craig received clearence fron the Federal Bureau of Navigation to use the call letters WSM. He seems to have had a clear preference for the name, as he reportedly negotiated with the Navy to have the letters reassigned from a ship. All that remainied was a slight refocusing of the company’s slogan, so that as with Sears and most other radio owners of the day, the call letters could reinforce a brand. ” After the inauguration of the station, “We Shield Millions” became the de facto motto of Nashville’s fastest-growing insurance company and its newest, most prestigious broadcaster.

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