WMOT-FM Roots Radio celebrates first birthday at Americana Festival

WMOT Reckless Kelly

Reckless Kelly

WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 threw its first birthday party on Saturday, Sept. 16, in downtown Nashville during the 2017 Americana Music Festival and Conference.

WMOT Paul Thorn

Paul Thorn

The party kicked off at 11 a.m. with a much-anticipated performance by Paul Thorn, who played in the Yee-Haw tent at the corner of Sixth Avenue South and Peabody Street. His set was followed by another dozen artists, including Reckless Kelly, Whitney Rose, The Secret Sisters (including MTSU alumna Laura Rogers), The Deep Dark Woods, The O’Connor Band, Lilly Hiatt, Texas Gentlemen, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Katie Pruitt and the Vandoliers. The evening closed with a rocking performance by Mike Farris, a multi-award-winning singer and musician and Tennessee native.

Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment, along with WMOT Executive Director Val Hoeppner, took to the stage earlier in the evening to thank the staff and members of WMOT for all their hard work. The 100,000-watt professional radio station switched from jazz/classical to an Americana format in September 2016. Since then, WMOT has experienced a 400 percent audience boost in only a year. About 4,300 people listened to WMOT over a day’s time in July 2016; this summer, that number rose to 10,000 listeners during the day.

WMOT Tyler Childers

Tyler Childers

WMOT celebrated Americana Fest with events earlier in the week, including a live watch party of the Americana Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Family Wash, and a Wired In event the next day at Theil Studios featuring performances by Brent Cobb, Tony Joe White and Lori McKenna. The music was in full swing by Thursday evening at Sixth and Peabody, with Music City Roots broadcasting from the Yee-Haw tent until 11 p.m. with Jim Lauderdale, The Cactus Blossoms, John Paul White, Ray Wiley Hubbard and Lee Ann Womack. The Yee-Haw tent continued rocking into Friday afternoon, with musical guests Webb Wilder, Kasey Chambers, Tyler Childers, Linda Ortega, North Mississippi All Stars and Pony Bradshaw.

MTSU students crewed the entire audio and video needs of the WMOT AmericanaFest events. Frank Baird, assistant professor in the Department of Recording Industry, organized his audio production students to handle the live sound for the stage as well as assist in load in and out for the various artists. WMOT student employees video-recorded the performances. M.F.A. student Forrest Dotson and Recording Industry alumna Shelby Bruce, who is a WMOT producer, oversaw the entire production crew at the Yee-Haw tent, and Hoeppner ran the student crew at the Wired-In special.

For more information about WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5, part of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, visit www.wmot.org.

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