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The Grand Old Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country-music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee, which was founded on November 28, 1925, by George D. Hay as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM. Currently owned and operated by Opry Entertainment (a division of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.), it is the longest-running radio broadcast in US history, albeit not the longest-running one on a radio network. Dedicated to honoring country music and its history, the Opry showcases a mix of famous singers and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrass, Americana, folk, gospel, and comedic performances and skits. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world and millions of radio and Internet listeners. The Opry's current primary slogan is "The Show that Made Country Music Famous". Other slogans include "Home of American Music" and "Country’s Most Famous Stage". In the 1930s the show began hiring professionals and expanded to four hours; and WSM, broadcasting by then with 50,000 watts, made the program a Saturday night musical tradition in nearly 30 states. In 1939, it debuted nationally on NBC Radio. The Opry moved to a permanent home, the Ryman Auditorium, in 1943. As it developed in importance, so did the city of Nashville, which became America's "country music capital". The Grand Ole Opry holds such significance in Nashville that its name is included on the city/county line signs on all major roadways. The signs read "Music City|Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County|Home of the Grand Ole Opry". Membership in the Opry remains one of country music's crowning achievements. Such country music legends as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Marty Robbins, Roy Acuff, the Carter family, Bill Monroe, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells and Minnie Pearl became regulars on the Opry's stage. In recent decades, the Opry has hosted such contemporary country stars as Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, Chris Young and Ricky Skaggs. Since 1974, the show has been broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry House east of downtown Nashville, with an annual three-month winter foray back to the Ryman since 1999. Performances have been sporadically televised in addition to the radio programs.[wikipedia]

 

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