A blog by Opry staffers, Opry members, friends, and others about the flooding of the Opry House, subsequent clean up and refurbishment, and an eventual return home for the show that made country music famous.
Chapter 2: The Air Castle of the South
by Joe Limardi, 650 AM WSM Operations Manager
When flood waters inundated the Grand Ole Opry House and the Gaylord Opryland Resort earlier this month, they also made their way into the regular studio home of 650 AM WSM, located in the Magnolia area of the resort. As the waters rose, WSM continued broadcasting at the Resort until the last possible minute it was safe to do so. The most important thing to the staff of WSM that morning was to keep our listeners safe and informed. Even when we were evacuated from the hotel, WSM carried continuous National Weather Service updates, forecasts and warnings over its 50,000 watt signal from the Air Castle of the South and around the world at wsmonline.com. In less than one hour, our crew moved from Opryland to the historic WSM tower site 10 miles south of Nashville, dismantling the hotel studio and reassembling it in the main transmitter room at the tower.
We are grateful we have this facility to continue to provide our listeners with the programming they love so much on WSM. It’s not home, but it’s becoming a great home away from home. There’s something reassuring about working just a few yards from the tower that has beamed out our signal for so many years. With that tower over us, it’s a little like we’re working in the shadows of all the great broadcasters who have come before us at WSM, not to mention the shadows of voices like Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, and Johnny Cash.
We’ll drop in from time to time from here at the tower to keep you updated on plans to return to Opryland along with everyone else from our WSM and Opry family. See you in Nashville this summer!