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Historic WSM Decides to Stick With Country Music, Opry

January 15, 2002|From Associated Press

NASHVILLE — After an outcry from country fans and music stars, the owners of WSM-AM announced Monday that the historic radio station will continue to broadcast country music and the Grand Ole Opry rather than switch to an all-talk, all-sports format.

The announcement by Gaylord Entertainment Co.'s Colin Reed ended two weeks of heated speculation after word leaked that the company was considering changes at the station where the Grand Ole Opry was born in 1925.

Opry members Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Bill Anderson joined Reed for the announcement. The stars, along with thousands of country music fans worldwide, were against the change, and Reed said he had been inundated with telephone calls and e-mails about the prospective changes.

A protest held last week outside the WSM-AM offices drew about 100 people, including country stars George Jones and Billy Walker.

"There has been an outpouring of support from country music fans and performers," Reed said. "The audience is there for country music."

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