knoxville + americana = 205,000 hits

On WDVX, the Barndance Comes to Town

Many locals wonder why Nashville, Knoxville’s more urbane neighbor 180 miles to the west, become known as the country music capital and Music City U.S.A. when WNOX was the first radio station in Tennessee (only the eighth in the country) and many of the early country music stars, people from the hills and hollows around Knoxville, got their start on Mid-day Merry-Go Round. Some in East Tennessee harbor a belief that Knoxville lost its chance because of a lack of vision—an inability to see the potential under their very guitars. Perhaps, but a more likely explanation is that Nashville’s WSM was owned by a wealthy insurance company, Life and Casualty, that was willing to bankroll the station in order to advertise itself and sell insurance policies. In 1932 WSM became a 50,000 watt clear channel station, while WNOX by 1933 operated at only 2,000 watts. When in doubt, follow the money.

Chuck Shuford, July 23, 2008,

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