MTSU’s WMOT Switches To Americana Format, Adds ‘Music City Roots’

WMOT_rev2WMOT-FM 89.5 is moving from jazz and classical music to Americana music next month, becoming Middle Tennessee’s only radio station devoted to roots music. The switch will take place on Sept. 2 at 11 a.m.

The weekly Americana music program Music City Roots will also be heard on WMOT, which is operated by Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.

PBS program and radio show Bluegrass Underground, which is recorded in Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, Tennessee, will be broadcast on WMOT as well.

Listeners can expect live radio hosts, including veterans of roots music broadcasting, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Jessie Scott, the first roots music director on satellite radio and a founding board member of the Americana Music Association, will direct the musical programming.

John Walker, an executive producer of Music City Roots will host morning drive. Grand Ole Opry veteran Keith Bilbrey will handle midday, tapping his expertise in country music. Whit “Witness” Hubner will work early afternoons.

Walker and Todd Mayo, also an executive producer of Music City Roots, have partnered with the station to provide a Nashville-centric perspective on Americana.

“This will give our students the opportunity to work and learn in a vibrant professional environment and provide greater interaction with the music industry,” said Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment, which operates the station. “Among Nashville artists charting with Americana albums in recent months have been Sturgill Simpson, the Mavericks, Elizabeth Cook, Darrell Scott, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell and many more.”

WMOT-FM will continue to serve as a training ground for MTSU students who are integrating audio editing and narration skills into their multimedia portfolios, which include television, social media, print and website management.

WMOT launched in April 1969. Its 100,000 watts reach north to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and to the Alabama border in the south.

In 2009, the station moved to an all-jazz format. MTSU’s jazz station will move to the MTSU Jazz Network on WMOT’s HD channel on Sept. 2, as well as its FM signals 104.9 in Brentwood and 92.3 in Murfreesboro.

The station will remain the flagship for Blue Raider Athletics and will continue to air MTSU On the Record, a 30-minute public affairs interview program highlighting the university community, as well as regular area news updates.

“Imagine, in our neck of the woods, a radio station with real people playing music they actually care about, even love,” said artist Rodney Crowell, recipient of the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting. “WMOT is bringing Middle Tennessee real music when we need it most. Miracles happen.”

A special public kickoff celebration will be held on Friday, Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Music City Roots also airs nationally on American Public Television; its fourth season will launch Oct. 28.




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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at

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