A former editor of The Ledger said his family lived “so far up in the hills of West Virginia that we only got the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday.”
That distance surely represents a lot of axle greasing, as the Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting on Nashville’s WSM 650 AM radio in 1925 (first as WSM Barn Dance; name change came two years later). At the time, the station had a 1,000 watt transmitter, allowing it to reach listeners as far away as Nebraska and Puerto Rico.
In 1932, the station increased its transmitter power to 50,000, giving it coast-to-coast radio coverage and the coveted “clear channel” designation. As a clear channel, WSM was the only station in the country allowed on its assigned channel 650, preventing interference.
More Gadget Dad:Reagan era indoor/outdoor thermometer replacement. My, things have changed
And:Gadget Daddy: A great entry-level device that will make you smarter about smartwatches
Today, the Grand Ole Opry airs every Saturday night, making it America’s longest-running radio show. And WSM Clear Channel 650 still plays it.
Which brings us to today’s topic: there’s an app (and website) for that.
It’s RadioGarden (www.radio.garden), and users can not only listen to WSM in Nashville on their smartphones and computers, but will have access to over 30,000 radio stations across the United States and around the world.
PREVIOUSLY FROM GADGET DADDY:
The app is available for Android and Apple operating systems in Google Play and App Store respectively. The apps are free; both versions are highly rated by their users.
The concept is easy to learn. A 3D view of the world is displayed. As the globe spins, the countries that appear are covered with countless green dots. Each of them represents a radio station. Click on one of them and it will start playing whatever station is playing.
The project started in 2016 when it was commissioned by the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Image. It was supposed to be temporary and was only available on the web. But in 2018 it was available in an app, and in 2019 the founders spun it off as an independent company.
Radio Garden lets you listen to the radio you listened to as a child. Or to listen to the radio at home during the holidays. Or indulge in music from other countries and cultures.
It’s like having a shortwave radio to listen to various broadcasts around the world – but much more powerful. Be aware that it’s easy to spend more time exploring Radio Garden than expected.
Speaking of powerful: this is it. Radio Garden found it. WSM 650 AM in Nashville, Tennessee. Radio Garden is so well done that it will bring the Grand Ole Opry on a Saturday. Even in the hills of West Virginia.
Lonnie Brown can be contacted at [email protected]