Central Argument: In the early days of commercial country music, radio broadcasts provided artists with a potential for exposure that was previously impossible. Beginning in 1946, Bristol, Virginia’s WCYB presented “Farm and Fun Time,” a daily broadcast which featured future legends as well regional artists that faded into obscurity. By providing regional artists who were performing music that was essentially “bluegrass” in the time immediately following the Grand Ole Opry debut of Bill Monroe’s 1946 Bluegrass Boys, Farm and Fun Time was able to not only provide the first generation of bluegrass performers with the means to be commercially successful, but also helped to establish bluegrass music as distinct subgenre of Country Music that grew out of the Appalachian String Band tradition.
Methodology: To gain a better understanding of WCYB’s “Farm and Fun Time,” surviving performers from the show have been interviewed, with more in the works. For this project, these interviews, as well as sources housed in the collections of the Birthplace of Country Music museum will be utilized to gauge the impact of Farm and Fun Time on the development of bluegrass music.
Conclusion: WCYB’s Farm and Fun Time provided the first generation of Bluegrass with the means to present the emerging genre to a wide audience in the earliest days of its creation. By allowing these earliest bluegrass artists to gain a following and a commercial foothold, Farm and Fun Time is perhaps the most significant program in the development of Bluegrass Music as a distinct genre.