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Irving Waugh

May 4, 1993 OHC317 112 min.


Radio and television executive. Born December 8, 1912. Died April 27, 2007. Full name: Irving Cambridge Waugh, Jr. Career active late 1940s-early 1990s. Joined WSM-Nashville as a radio announcer in 1941. During World War II served as NBC radio special correspondent in the Pacific Theater. Returned to WSM in the late 1940s and began a career that included positions as commercial manager, general manager, vice president, and president of WSM’s radio and TV operations. Served as WSM president, 1968-1978.

Interview Summary

1993 May 4 (1 hour, 52 minutes) Broadcaster Irving Waugh talks about his career, focusing on his years as president of WSM, Inc. Discussion includes his response to the competitive environment for television stations in Nashville during the late 1950s-late 1960s; his goals for WSM following the retirement of Jack DeWitt; assigning Bud Wendell to manage the Grand Ole Opry; changes in Opry policies; the decision to move the Opry from the Ryman to a new theater and development of the idea for Opryland; the building of the Opryland theme park; designing the Opry House; the Opry House grand opening, including the attendance of President and Mrs. Richard Nixon; the development of the Opryland Hotel; marketing Opryland and Fan Fair; his role in the effort to bring the Country Music Association’s CMA Awards Show to network television and gaining the Kraft sponsorship; comments on the early televised CMA awards shows, including John Denver’s 1975 Entertainer of the Year Award, and the guest appearances of Lionel Ritchie and Julio Iglesias; WSM management staff he worked with during his career; his reflections on the shortening of career longevity for country performers; and memories from his years at WSM, including a Hank Williams story.

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