Saturday, October 10, 2009

Celebrating THE legend and pioneer radio station

Monday evening I was involved in my final delivery run or two for Bradley Drugstore, and as usual on Monday evenings I was listening to WSM-AM 650 radio and deejay extraordinaire Eddie Stubbs. Ever since Eddie came to Nashville and the station back in the 1990s I've admired his love for real, traditional country music and his inexhaustible knowledge about every detail about every country hit song.

This evening he displayed a slightly different facet of his knowledge. For on this 5 October he took time to call attention over the airwaves to this date being the birthday of the very radio station for which he is deejay. He even remarked that it was about this very hour, "the 7 o'clock or 8 o'clock hour", of 5 October 1925 that sound began to be heard via the airwaves that a new station was broadcasting from Nashville. Thus was born a station which has become legendary in broadcasting. The station's call letters came from the slogan of National Life & Accident insurance company, which was "We Shield Millions". National Life got "sold" on the benefit of having a radio station (of its own) for advertising purposes, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Indeed, WSM became so prominent in broadcasting and so influential in not only broadcasting but also the development of "hillbilly music" that later was called "country and Western", that it was also called "The Air Castle of the South". And its broadcast tower, south of Nashville and close by IH 65 south, became a landmark. It's rather distinctive, since it looks like a very elongated pyramid atop an inverted, equally elongated pyramid.

So, here's a "Happy 84th birthday, 'Air Castle"!" from yours truly.

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