Grand Ole Opry is regarded as the world’s longest-running radio show and helped many artists to find their way into the showbiz industry. It is often called the ‘country music’s most famous stage‘. The first show of Grand Ole Opry was aired on 28th November 1925 in the office of National Life & Accident Insurance Company.
One of the founders of the insurance company was a big fan of radio shows, therefore, he built a radio studio to fill in his fascination with radios. The live shows conducted there became insanely popular and the radio show moved to Hillsboro Theatre in 1934 which is known as Belcourt now.
The weekly radio broadcast shows had run for more than 4600 Saturdays. Its Saturday shows were broadcasted at SiriusXM satellite radio WSM-AM which is an area radio station in Nashville. Now, some of the shows feature on Friday nights too and one Tuesdays and Wednesdays according to the season or opportunity. Nashville’s reputation as a home base for country music was made because of the Grand Ole Opry broadcast.
The powerhouse of home entertainment, Grand Ole Opry, had six homes in 95 years. It moved to Dixie Tabernacle in 1936 from Hillsboro which housed the radio show for three years. It remained for 4 years in War Memorial Auditorium before moving to Ryman Auditorium in 1943. Finally, it moved to Grand Ole Opry House in March of 1974.
What was WSM Barn Dance?
It was christened as the WSM Barn Dance by its founder and it was named Grand Ole Opry in 1927 after George D. Hay, a radio announcer called it such in a show. He was inspired by the selection of classical music and grand operas played on the show. He would announce the opening of classical music jokily as ‘now the listeners would be enjoying the Grand Ole Opry’.
Premises of The Grand Ole Opry House used 15.8 million feet of cable with a giant transmission tower for broadcasting live shows to millions of people. The transmission tower is located at Brentwood Tennessee. It has been fulfilling ours since 1932 and was once the tallest tower in the USA.
The first performance on Grand Ole Opry
Uncle Jimmy Thomson was the first artist to perform for the Grand Ole Opry. he was 77 years old at that time. He was a fiddle player and played fiddle for National Life Offices on 28 November 1925. The music broadcast station has over 200 members who are famous and established artists of the music world from Hank Williams to Luke Bombs including Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, Martina McBride, and Carrie Underwood. Its membership is regarded as one of the highest honours in the music industry that a music artist can be endowed with.