WSM Radio and Television Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MSS.0535

Scope and Contents

The WSM Radio & TV collection is composed of correspondence, photographs, scripts of radio programs, and promotional material. It is stored in thirteen manuscript boxes, eight of which contain scripts of radio programs. Dates of the collection range from 1928 to 1966 with a large portion of the material dated in the 1940s.

WSM Radio is probably best known as the station that broadcasts the Grand Ole Opry. Scripts from Opry broadcasts together with autographs and photographs of Opry stars are among the collection's documents.

During World War II, Variety magazine sponsored a SHOWMANAGEMENT Award. In entries to the contest, WSM Radio outlined its contribution to the "war effort," using photographs to illustrate several points. The Federal Communications Commission Clear Channel Hearings of 1947 also serve as a good profile of WSM Radio during the 1940s.

Dates

  • 1928 - 1966

Chronology

  • October 5, 1925 First radio broadcast over the National Life and Accident Insurance Company's radio station.
  • November 28, 1925 The "WSM Barn Dance," forerunner of the Grand Ole Opry is launched.
  • 1927 The "WSM Barn Dance" becomes the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 1932 WSM is awarded a clear channel at 650 kilocycles. Its power is increased from 5,000 watts to 50,000 watts.
  • November, 1939 The Grand Ole Opry is carried by the NBC Radio Network.
  • 1941 WSM becomes first American commercial frequency modulation radio station, W47NV, a forerunner of WSM-FM.
  • 1943 The Grand Ole Opry moves to the Ryman Auditorium and stays there for the next 31 years.
  • September 30, 1950 WSM-TV debuts as the first television station in Nashville, building its own microwave relay system to Louisville, KY
  • 1951 "The Waking Crew," the second longest running live radio broadcast, goes on the air under the name, "8 O'clock Time."
  • 1955 "Grand Ole Opry," WSM's first network show, is televised on ABC-TV.
  • August 29, 1964 WSM-TV becomes the first television station in the United States to receive satellite weather map photos transmitted from NASA's Nimbus satellite.
  • 1965 WSM-TV brings color programming to Nashville.
  • 1968 WSM-FM makes its debut with 100,000 watts.
  • June 30, 1970 Opryland U.S.A., an amusement park with a musical theme, has its official groundbreaking.
  • May 27, 1974 Opening of Opryland U.S.A.
  • March 16, 1974 The Grand Ole Opry moves into the Grand Ole Opry House situated on the grounds at Opryland.
  • 1974 Opryland Productions television and commercial production operation goes into business in the Grand Ole Opry House.
  • 1975 WSM-TV becomes the first Nashville television station to broadcast an hour-long local news program.
  • November, 1977 The Opryland Hotel, Tennessee's largest convention hotel property, opens.
  • March A, 1978 The Grand Ole Opry is televsied live over the Public Broadcasting Service annually through 1981.
  • September, 1980 WSM forms Opry land Radio Productions to produce and market syndicated and network radio programming.
  • March 11, 1981 NLT Corporation, parent company of WSM, Inc., announces plans for the sale of WSM-TV to make way for WSM's entry into satellite and cable television programming.
  • September 12, 1981 "Nashville Alive," the first live cable television series to be telecast from Nashville, premieres from the Stagedoor Lounge of the Opryland Hotel, being telecast on WTBS from Atlanta.
  • November 3, 1981 WSM-TV is sold to Gillett Broadcasting Company and becomes WSMV-TV.
  • December 8, 1981 WSM and the Associated Press announce the Music Country Network, an overnight satellite radio network, with WSM-AM as the flagship station.
  • January 19, 1982 WSM announces a venture between Opry land Productions and Group W Satellite Communications for the Nashville Network satellite and cable operation.

Extent

5.46 Linear Feet (13 Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The WSM Radio & TV collection is composed of correspondence, photographs, scripts of radio programs, and promotional material. It is stored in thirteen manuscript boxes, eight of which contain scripts of radio programs. Dates of the collection range from 1928 to 1966 with a large portion of the material dated in the 1940s.

Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives

Provenance

President of National Life and Accident Insurance Company, the parent company of WSM, Inc., Jesse Wills appreciated the research value of the wide variety of material related to the activities of WSM Radio and TV. In May 1967 he donated to Vanderbilt University an assortment of this material and added to the collection in July 1968. Jesse Wills also donated the Grand Ole Opry Collection, which complements the WSM Radio & TV material.

Title
Finding Aid for the WSM Radio and Television Collection
Status
Completed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


 

About this Site

This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

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