Once the tallest tower in the country, the Blaw-Knox diamond-shaped vertical antenna that serves 650 AM WSM remains a radio broadcasting icon. The tower will celebrate a notable birthday early next month.
Nashville’s WSM will hold an open house on Nov. 10 at its tower/transmitter site on Concord Road in Brentwood, Tenn., to salute the 808-foot structure and its 80 years of service. The signal from the tower can be heard in 38 states. As tower enthusiast and Radio World contributor Scott Fybush wrote when the tower was about to turn 70: “There are a few tower sites around the country that every tower hunter should see at least once in a lifetime.”
The event is part of a month of activities centered around WSM’s 87th birthday. The station went on the air in 1925 and has been at 650 kHz since 1928. It switched on a 50 kW transmitter in 1932. As WSM states on its website: “The station today still spans the nation with its AM signal, of course, while also circling the globe online.” WSM has a legendary place in country music thanks in part to its role as birthplace of the Grand Ole Opry.
The open house will offer a tour of the historic transmitter facility, a chance to meet air personalities and lunch on the grounds. According to The Tennessean newspaper, a historical plaque placement also is planned. The tower was named to the National Register of Historic Places last year.
Jack DeWitt: An Engineer’s Engineer (Radio World)
Blaw-Knox Towers (Wikipedia)