Local Bands

Ed Newman - Glen Howell 1939

In the beginning the music heard on Roanoke Radio consisted of local talent. The first performer was Ray Preston on May 5, 1924. Soon after groups with names like the Roanoke Jug Band, the N & W String Band and the Blue Ridge Fox Chasers were performing on a regular schedule. Some say that Roanoke Could have become the Country Music Capitol.

All of the key players were in place. Mac Wiseman, Sunshine Sue, Louis Marshal Jones (Grandpa Jones), Charlie Pool, Roy Hall, Don Reno, Earl Scruggs, Jim Eanes, Dixie Playboys, Texas Troubadours, Wanderers of the Wasteland, Shenandoah Pals, The Little Hillbillies, Tommy Magness, and the Virginia Hillbillies. By 1925 WDBJ had moved to 930 Khz with 500 watts of power and featuring local talent. It has been felt that if WDBJ had been able to move to a clear channel frequency and increased it's power to 50,000 watts, Roanoke could have very well been the Country Music Capitol! (Clear-channel status meant it was the only station in the entire U.S. permitted to broadcast on a given frequency.)

Some Interesting Points

WDBJ signed on the air June 20, 1924 some seven months before Nashville's WSM. Former WDBJ announcer and Danville native, Irving Waugh moved to Nashville and went to work for WSM. Waugh later became the President of WSM and was instrumental in getting the CMA awards shows presented on CBS television.

In the beginning WSM relied mostly on classical and dinner music, until the night of November 28, 1925, when everything changed. It was on that late-fall Saturday evening that George Hay introduced 77-year-old fiddler Uncle Jimmy Thompson as part of a show called the WSM Barn Dance. By 1927, Hay would rename his show "The Grand Ole Opry" and it wasn't long before the Opry became known as one of the most entertaining country music shows on radio. By late 1932, WSM had joined a small, elite group of maximum-power, Class 1-A, clear-channel broadcasters. The stations new 50,000 watt status, coupled with the low 650 kilohertz frequency, made WSM a nation-spanning giant.


Roanoke Jug Band - 1929 - 1939

Roy Hall & His Blue Ridge Entertainers - 1939 - 1949

The Texas Troubadours - 1933 - 1942

The Tide Family
- 1962 through 1976


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