In the Knoxville, TN area, Tony Lawson is something of a bluegrass and Americana music legend. He’s the man who in 1997 started radio station WDVX in an borrowed camper trailer in Anderson Couty, TN. With Don Burggraf, they ran the station there for 5 years as a listener-supported, community radio outfit before moving operations to the basement of a house in Andersonville, and ultimately to downtown Knoxville where they now have a home in the Visitor’s Center.
The station broadcasts on three frequencies in the Knoxville area, and plays a mix of live and pre-recorded music throughout the day. Their signal is also streamed online.
Now, after 18 years at WDVX, Tony Lawson is moving to Bristol, TN/VA to be part of the new radio station being launched by the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. He’ll start work there April 13, serving as general manager and program director for WCBM, which will broadcast on a low power FM license starting sometime this Summer.
Lawson says that the station will depend primarily on their online signal to reach listeners throughout southwestern Virginia and east Tennessee, and wherever people enjoy American roots music. The idea is to tie together the original country music that Bristol is known for bringing forward, with the sort of acts and sounds that are featured at the twin cities’ annual music festival, the Rhythm & Roots Revival.
“WBCM will play roots style music (bluegrass, old time, classic country), with lots of artist interviews. We intend to create a lot of our own content, and include live music from our 100-seat radio theater.
This will be what showcases what the museum and the Rhythm & Roots Revival does, along with everything going on in Bristol. The synergy between the three will be incredibly exciting.”
Like WDVX, the new station will be listener-supported, and located in the Museum just off State Street on the Virginia side. He’s been consulting with the Birthplace of Country Music folks since last Fall, and is looking forward to this next move in his radio career.
He’s also quite confident that WDVX will thrive in his absence.
“We’ve built a great staff and have a hardworking Board of Directors and I think the station is in a position to continue to grow and flourish.”
Tony has also been in communication with other potential show hosts, and plans to announce more about that soon.
Look for more details on WBCM, including broadcast frequency and stream link, as the year progresses.