The longest-running live radio show in history began broadcasting on November 28, 1925 in Nashville, Tennessee. Originally named the Barn Dance, the broadcast was patterned after the National Barn Dance that aired a year earlier in Chicago, Illinois. After being renamed The Grand Ole Opry, the program became the most popular venue for western music and is the show that made country music famous. Still going strong in the 21st century, the iconic country music show draws folks from all over the world. With the advancements in technology since the era of the 20s, The Grand Ole Opry presents on-stage shows every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night, while millions more tune in to its live radio and television broadcasts.
The Grand Ole Opry, originally known as the WSM Barn Dance, hit the airwaves in November 1925 with the fiddling of 80-year-old Uncle Jimmy Thompson. When announcer George D. Hay contrasted the weekly broadcast of down-home string music to the grand opera that had aired just before, he said, “And now we will present the Grand Ole Opry.” That was 1927, and the name stuck. [Source: The Grand Ole Opry - What a Show!]
Both shows, Chicago and Nashville, created a growing audience for a uniquely American style of music. They epitomized the launch pads for many of America's most-loved musicians. The singing cowboy Gene Autry got his first big break on the National Barn Dance.
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...