One of the most celebrated country music stage concerts of all time, the Grand Ole Opry was founded on November 28, 1925 by a gentleman named George D. Hay. The show started out as a one hour barn dance on WSM-AM, and it is surprisingly still going on now as you can see from the recent Grand Ole Opry schedule. It is credited as the longest running radio show in the history of the United States of America. It is currently owned and operated by the Opry Entertainment Group, which comes under a division of the Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc. There will be very few people disagreeing when it is said that The Grand Ole Opry is the prime reason why country music has the same respect and participants today as when it was most popular.
Five years after it began, the show extended from 1 hour to 4 hours, and started hiring professionals. By then they were already broadcasting at fifty thousand watts. WSM soon made the program a Saturday Night event, making it a musical tradition in almost 30 states. In 1939, the Grand Ole Opry debuted nationally on NBC Radio. Four years after their national debut, the Grand Ole Opry moved to their current permanent home, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Very soon, due to the influence of the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville came to be known as ‘The Country Music Capital’ of America, and earned itself a plaque
Membership in the Grand Ole Opry is still considered one of the most prestigious achievements in country music.
The show is broadcast live on WSM AM at 7 pm Central Time on Saturday Nights, changed from its usual previous time of 6.30 pm. Two similar programs also run parallel to the Grand Ole Opry: the Friday Night Opry which airs every friday night and the Tuesday Night Opry which is aired live from the month of February to the month of December. Wednesday night shows are also hosted in the summer, with a few Thursday night ‘Opry Country Classics’ airing sporadically. This features only older artists and is broadcast from Ryman Auditorium. The Opry even provides them with a 14 piece house band if the older artists do not have a band of their own. Even though the show is most famous on WSM AM, it can be heard live on Willie’s Roadhouse, channel 59 on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. In 1985, Gaylord owned ‘Nashville Network’ began airing half hour versions of the Grand Ole Opry programs as the ‘Grand Ole Opry Live’. The show then made its way into television where it expanded under the name of ‘Country Music Television’ and then moved to the Great American Country cable network. Recently, Gray Television and Ryman Hospitality Properties resumed telecasting the Grand Ole Opry on a new over the air digital subchannel called CIrcle