A number of roots artists were on hand to help switch WMOT-FM to the Americana format on Friday morning (Sept. 2) during a celebratory event at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5, is a 100,000 watt station operated by Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Murfreesboro. It’s the first station in the region dedicated to Americana and roots music.
John Walker and Todd Mayo, executive producers of radio program Music City Roots, have partnered with WMOT to assist with programming the music, in addition to educating MTSU students about running a radio station.
Welcoming remarks at the event were given by Ken Paulson, Dean, College of Media and Entertainment, as well as Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, President of MTSU. Radio personality Keith Bilbrey provided an introduction to the program.
That was followed by a performance of Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown” by the Roots Radio All-Star Band, composed of bassist Mike Bub, Dobro player Randy Kohrs, banjo player Alison Brown, fiddler Tammy Rogers and banjo player Richard Bailey (both of The SteelDrivers), fiddler Jim Van Cleve, acoustic guitarist Stephen Mougin, and mandolin player Jenni Lyn.
Jim Lauderdale gave artist introductions, including one for Will Hoge, who performed “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.”
MTSU’s Val Hoeppner, who is executive director of WMOT and director, Center of Innovation in Media, spoke about the university’s partnerships, while senior producer/journalist Craig Havighurst explained the station’s concept. The closing jam offered music from Lauderdale, the Roots Radio All-Star Band, and special guests Suzy Bogguss, Mike Farris and Will Hoge.
The event concluded with WMOT program director Jessie Scott officially launching the station and broadcasting live with an interview with Americana Music Association’s Jed Hilly. The first song played on the air was “Hurry Up Sunrise” by Luther Dickinson.
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