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Birthplace of Country Music Launches WBCM – Radio Bristol

May 27, 2015

At a press conference Tuesday, The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) announced the launch of a new radio station, WBCM – Radio Bristol (103.5 FM). Debuting this summer, the new station will broadcast from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and will focus primarily on American roots music, including bluegrass, old-time, Americana, and country music.

“WBCM Radio Bristol is an exciting new way that we can share our music heritage as the birthplace of country music with listeners worldwide,” said Leah Ross, executive director of the Birthplace of Country Music. “Following the years of success of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival and the opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum last fall, this new radio station will allow us to promote Bristol to audiences year-round, as well as provide up-and-coming artists a new platform to be heard.”

WBCM will broadcast on 103.5 FM, as well as provide an online media center where listeners have the opportunity to stream WBCM through the BirthplaceofCountryMusic.org website and a mobile app. The station will include three streams: a Classic Stream – playing a variety of old-time, bluegrass and country music; an Americana Stream – highlighting a diverse selection of contemporary artists, as featured at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion; and a Live Stream – WBCM’s terrestrial station playing live original programming focusing on local and regional music and culture.

WBCM will broadcast from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in a studio that is equipped with historic vintage gear, restored to meet the modern needs of a fully functional radio station. The studio will also be a working exhibit for museum visitors to experience a radio broadcast firsthand.

In preparing to launch WBCM – Radio Bristol this summer, BCM has hired veteran radio professional Tony Lawson to guide the launch and day-to-day running of the station. Lawson founded the award-winning WDVX Radio in Knoxville and joined the BCM team in April.

In addition, WBCM has already begun receiving support from the community. Fit-out for the station has been made possible through the engineering work of Jim Gilmore and Tom King of Kintronic Labs and through generous donations of time, equipment, and infrastructure from ERI – Electronics Research, Inc., Holston Valley Broadcasting, Jim Gilmore, Kintronic Labs, Nautel Limited, Telos Alliance, and the William Mountjoy Estate.

BCM is also initiating a Kickstarter campaign this week to help raise additional funding for the station. Funds from the campaign will go to developing programming, production construction, and webcast fees and services. More information about the Kickstarter campaign will be available on BCM's website.

“WBCM — Radio Bristol is a radio station, an app, an interactive museum exhibit, and an online media center featuring free Americana and roots programming, streaming for a worldwide audience,” continued Ross. “We are working diligently to get the station ready to launch this summer and looking forward to the impact the station will have on our community.”

For more information about the Birthplace of Country Music, please visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org or call 423-573-1927.