Air Castle of the South
WSM and the Making of Music CityeBook - 2007
Started by the National Life and Accident Insurance Company in 1925, WSM became one of the most influential and exceptional radio stations in the history of broadcasting and country music. WSM gave Nashville the moniker “Music City USA” as well as a rich tradition of music, news, and broad-based entertainment. With the rise of country music broadcasting and recording between the 1920s and ‘50s, WSM, Nashville, and country music became inseparable, stemming from WSM’s launch of the Grand Ole Opry, popular daily shows like Noontime Neighbors, and early morning artist-driven shows such as Hank Williams on Mother’s Best Flour.
Sparked by public outcry following a proposal to pull country music and the Opry from WSM-AM in 2002, Craig Havighurst scoured new and existing sources to document the station’s profound effect on the character and self-image of Nashville. Introducing the reader to colorful artists and businessmen from the station’s history, including Owen Bradley, Minnie Pearl, Jim Denny, Edwin Craig, and Dinah Shore, the volume invites the reader to reflect on the status of Nashville, radio, and country music in American culture.
How WSM put Nashville on the map of American entertainment
Havighurst recounts the influence of the Nashville radio station WSM, which gave the city the name "Music City USA." He began to research the station's history and impact when he moved to Nashville in 1996, and was also impelled by the public response to its owner's decision to drop the classic country format in 2002. He discusses the artists and businesspeople involved in the station's story, its launch of the Grand Ole Opry and other popular shows, and other events and influences from its origins to the 1990s. Indexes of song titles and subjects are included. Havighurst is a writer, editor, and producer based in Nashville. He is a former staff music writer for the Tennessean and an independent journalist. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)