Photo and story by Aaliyah Johnson / Contributing Writer
WMOT “Roots Radio,” Middle Tennessee’s first full-time Americana radio station, celebrated its first full year as an Americana station Saturday by throwing a birthday bash on the corner of 6th Avenue South and Peabody Street. The bash was an all-day music festival complete with live performances a-plenty.
According to WMOT’s Executive Director, Val Hoeppner, the station is the fastest growing Nashville radio station. While it used to primarily be a jazz and talk-show station, it now prides itself on being a full-time Americana station, playing a mixture of genres with a hundred thousand-watt signal, which is the largest signal in all of Middle Tennessee.
“It’s been a chaotic year for us,” Hoeppner said. “It’s been a lot of learning for all of us — adjusting and changing — but to stand here today and to have this amazing party going on behind me, I can’t believe I’m standing here doing this.”
At the beginning of the event, the Dean of MTSU’s Media and Entertainment, Ken Paulson, introduced WMOT to an inviting crowd, and he also thanked the station’s supporters for making it what it is today. University Provost Mark Byrnes added to Paulson’s introductory speech, and he ended it by thanking Hoeppner for all of her energy dedicated to the station.
Guests enjoyed themselves with live performances every hour, which included acts such as Paul Thorn, Reckless Kelly, Whitney Rose, The Secret Sisters and MTSU alumna Laura Rogers. Food trucks were also available to feed each guest’s hunger.
“This is a lot of fun,” said 33-year-old Andrew Murphy. “I love the atmosphere and the vibe I get from being here, and I listen to WMOT almost every day.”
While some guests mingled amongst each other and stood in the food truck lines, most sat listening and jamming to the live music being played. Regardless, all were enjoying the big birthday bash.
“I love the station, and I love Nashville,” said 25-year-old MTSU journalism major Kelsey Adams. “It’s the best.”
WMOT’s celebration went beyond the birthday bash itself, though. The week prior to the festival, the station partook in AmericanaFest with a live broadcast with Jessie Scott, an Americana Honors and Awards watch party and many other live performances from varying artists.
For more information on WMOT “Roots Radio,” click here.
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