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The mother of all Nashville landmarks, WSM, or 650 AM, introduced country music to the world when it launched The Grand Ole Opryover its airwaves in 1927. Nashville-based writer and filmmaker Havighurst's fast-paced chronicle of the rise of the station and its contributions to Nashville's economic base and cultural identity recounts the challenges, the personalities, and the music. In 1925, the National Life and Accident Company started the station with radio guru Jack DeWitt at the technical helm and Edwin Craig as the first broadcaster. By 1930, WSM (which stands for "We Shield Millions," a slogan for National Life and Accident) was so popular that it was one of five stations that the Federal Radio Commission permitted to grow to 50,000 watts, thereby increasing its audience from Nashville to as far north as the Arctic Circle. Havighurst includes snapshots of early Opryperformers such as Uncle Dave Macon, DeFord Bailey-the only African American on the show-and Minnie Pearl, as well as performers such as Dinah Shore and Pee Wee King, who got their starts on WSM. Havighurst's superb book belongs in every library's country music collection.
—Henry L. Carrigan Jr.