It was November 28, 1925
when The Grand Ole Opry first came alive
on WSM radio of Nashville, Tennessee.
There was no hint of what it would one day be.
The WSM call letters served the function
of reminding of their slogan, “We sell millions,”
of the National Life … Insurance Company
who owned the station in it’s entirety.
WSM had hired broadcaster George D. Hay,
who introduced the “WSM Barn Dance” that day
from the fifth floor studios of WSM.
The “sober old judge’s” program soon outgrew them.
Several more and larger venues were outgrown
as “The Opry” became better and better known.
To keep the crowds from being quite as large,
“The Opry” instituted a twenty-five cent charge.
The Grand Ole Opry name was first invoked
when “Sober Old Judge” Hay spontaneously joked
after a previous announcer had said with sarcasm,
“There is no place in music for realism.”
Hay said, “We’ve been listening to music from grand opera.
From now on, we’ll present The Grand Ole Opry.”
For ninety years, “The Opry” has displayed
a constant flow of artists on parade
who say, “If you get to ‘The Opry,’ you’ve got it made.”
To name them all is an impossibility,
but Elvis and Dolly performed there joyfully.
“The Opry” continues this popularity
with myriads of musical venues to hear and see:
folk music, gospel, bluegrass, skits and comedy,
but the base format of the show is still country.
© 2016, cbs