The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly American 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….and is currently owned and operated by Opry Entertainment….which is a division of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc…..and is the longest running radio broadcast in US history…..which is dedicated to honoring country music and its history….as the Opry showcases a mix of famous singers and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrass, Americana, folk and gospel music….as well as 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.” ….with other slogans include “Home of American Music” and “Country’s Most Famous Stage”. In the 1930’s, the show began hiring professionals and expanded to four hours. Broadcasting by then at 50,000 watts, WSM made the program a Saturday night musical tradition in nearly 30 states…..when 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. 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. In addition to the radio programs, performances have been sporadically televised over the years.