Old-time radio


In 1937, Louisvillians had a choice of four stations they could pick up on their radios. Two local, WHAS and WAVE, and two out-of-town, WSM in Nashville and WLW in Cincinnati. The stations signed on at 6am and signed off at midnight.

The morning might start with Grand Ole Opry stars like The Delmore Brothers or hillbilly musicians like the Hank Keene Radio Gang. Or with Dr. John Holland's Morning Devotion or B.R. Lakin's Family Prayer Period.

Throughout the day, a person could listen to music shows, serial dramas sponsored by soap companies (the forerunner of soap operas), and talk shows such as The Farm and Home Hour. The evening would be filled with variety shows, comedies, and dramas.

During the 1937 Flood, radio programming quickly became replaced by news reports and advisories. When the floodwater overwhelmed power plants and threatened to end radio reporting, WSM generously offered to broadcast WHAS's coverage and did so via a single telephone line.

Louisvillians had to be resourceful during the flood. Without electricity to power the radios in their homes, they turned to their automobiles for a radio with the latest news.


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