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WCYB (Radio station : Bristol, Tenn.)



WCYB Radio in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia was among the many new post-World War II stations which broadcast country music. The station, which went on the air in December 1946, had a clear broadcasting channel which gave it coverage in five states: Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

Prior to going on the air, WCYB auditioned 35 "rustic string bands," as Billboard Magazine called them in 1947. Bands hired included Curly King and the Tennessee Hilltoppers, the Stanley Brothers, and the Clinch Mountain Boys. These groups performed on such daily programs as the noontime "Farm and Fun Time Show" and the late afternoon "Thrift Supply Company Show." These shows were fifteen-minute programs of country music, which featured fiddle music, hymns, "heart songs," and early bluegrass tunes. The "Farm and Fun Time Show" and the "Thrift Supply Company Show" reached the height of their popularity in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The shows continued, however, until the early 1960s.

The focus of six of these tapes is the regional group Curly King and the Tennessee Hilltoppers. The group usually included four members at any given time. Members included King (vocals and guitar); Don Campbell (vocals and electric Hawaiian guitar); Leslie Keith (fiddle); Roy Russell (fiddle); "Cousin Zeke" Leonard (bass); and Shorty Morris (vocals). Keith joined the group in the summer of 1948 after almost a year-long stint with the Stanley Brothers, whom he had joined in 1947 as a replacement for Bobby Summer.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

WCYB Radio Tapes

Identifier: AppMs-0356
Scope and Contents

The WCYB Radio Tapes include country music performed on the WCYB programs "Farm and Fun Time" and the "Thrift Supply Company Show," 1947-49. The featured group on six of the tapes, the Tennessee Hilltoppers, played country music which featured electric guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass, and vocals. One of the tapes contains WOPI Radio (Bristol, Tennessee) transcriptions. Included on this tape is a segment of the "Tennessee Ernie Ford Show."

Dates: 1947-1949