NashvilleBroadcastingHistory.com

Home
Radio History
WCBQ Radio
WSM Radio
WLAC Radio
WSIX Radio
WKDA Radio
Television History
WKRN-TV 2
WTVF-TV 5
Nashville's Radio and TV Personalities
Links
Contact Us

We're still building...
   We're building this website station by station, year by year. It's a slow process, but we're making progress every day. We invite you to keep checking back because we're adding new material every week, and when we're done, the history of all radio and television stations that went on the air in Nashville between 1922-1970 will be chronicled here.
___________________________________________________ 

 
 

Book-Cover-Full.jpg
Available at all area bookstores and Amazon.com

   Nashville Broadcasting is now available at all Nashville area bookstores including Borders, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million and Davis-Kidd, as well as at Amazon.com and Arcadiapublishing.com.  It is part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series, and includes 214 photos depicting the growth of broadcasting in Nashville. Radio stations which went on the air beginning in 1922 and television stations in 1950 are included.
   Lee Dorman is making appearances at book signings throughout the area---the next one scheduled is Saturday, May 30th from 2-4 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble in Hendersonville.

photo courtesy of Nick Archer
P1010015.JPG.jpg
Late WSMV news anchor Dan Miller at Davis-Kidd signing

photo courtesy of WSM
John_DeWitt__Jr._wsm.jpg
"Jack" DeWitt, Jr. founded WSM in 1925 as well as Nashville's first station in 1922

   Nashville has a rich broadcast history, beginning in 1922 with a radio station started by 16-year old John "Jack" DeWitt, Jr. at Ward-Belmont School. Many other stations have come and gone since then. Some survive, and have thrived over the years, including WLAC and WSIX, two of the other earlier stations in Middle Tennessee. Others have long since departed the airwaves, such as the station owned and operated by the city's daily morning newspaper, the Nashville Tennessean, appropriately designated WTNT,  WBAW and WDAD, an offshoot of Dad's Auto Accessories in downtown Nashville. This website will tell the stories of all of these stations, both radio and television, with a wealth of history and photos which show the announcers, disc jockeys, news staffs and program hosts we listened to and watched as we grew up in Nashville.


Luke Lea, publisher of The Nashville Tennessean, started WTNT
    Wonderful photos and a nostalgic look at the early days of Nashville television include portraits of Channel 4 (WSM) with Jud Collins, Dave Overton, the Waking Crew and The Five O'Clock Hop; Channel 5 (WLAC) with Bill Jay, Bob Lobertini and others; and Channel 8 (WSIX) with Noel Ball, Ken Bramming, Hudley Crockett and the ever-popular Live Studio Wrestling.

wsix_in_Springfield.jpg

   WSIX radio was originally a radio station located in Springfield, Tennessee. Started by the 638 Tire and Rubber Company, WSIX moved to Nashville and eventually added an FM station and the television station which became the ABC afilliate. It changed its call letters to WNGE and later to WKRN, and also moved from Channel 8 to Channel 2.

mak_fan_club.jpg
   WKDA and WMAK were Nashville's two most popular radio stations among listeners 18-49 years old between 1955 and 1970. During this period, the two battled for supremacy of the airways in almost every way. They tried to outdo each other in contests and prizes; with the "coolest" DJ's and air personalities; with the most music and the best concerts and shows; with the biggest station promotions and on-location

Photo courtesy of Nick Archer
P1010013.JPG.jpg
Book signing at Davis-Kidd

photo courtesy of WSM
earliest_opry_pic.jpg
Earliest photo of WSM'S Grand Ole Opry

   Although there were several radio stations in Nashville which went on the air before WSM, the station owned by the National Life and Accident Insurance Company was the earliest broadcaster which is still on the air today. Hitting the airwaves for the first time in 1925, WSM was to arguably become this city's most prominent and successful radio station, joining the NBC network and originating the Grand Ole Opry, as well as going on to also become Nashville's first television station.

wsm_tower.jpg

   The story of WSM, the creation and rise of the Grand Ole Opry, how the station became known across the country and not just here at home, and how and why it also became Nashville's first television station, is told on both the Radio and Television pages of this website. Other interesting stories you will find include how, after National Life and Accident Insurance Company founded WSM, one of its biggest competitors, Life and Casualty Insurance Company, decided to begin its own station and started WLAC; how WSIX was started as an offshoot of the 638 Tire and Rubber Company in Springfield, then moved to Nashville; how Luke Lea, publisher of the Nashville Tennessean newspaper decided he, too, wanted a radio station and put WTNT on the air; and the "radio wars" between rock and roll giants WKDA ("Home of the Good Guys") and WMAK ("Home of the All-Americans") in the late 1950's and early 60's.

  

WKDA.jpg
remote broadcasts...even with the "hottest" station jingles. For fifteen years they slugged it out, the WKDA "Good Guys" versus the WMAK "All-Americans"...with WKDA usually ending up a few points ahead of WMAK in the Hooper ratings---radio's popularity polls of listeners' choices. 



    Enjoy what you see and read here, and feel free to make any suggestions if you think we have forgotten something important. If you wish to e-mail us, simply click here.