WDVX: quite possibly the best radio station in the US.
As I sit here at my desk, headphones on, I hear the distinct sound of what I easily recognize as a Southern dialect; East Tennessee to be exact. It is the sound of a radio DJ from the WDVX studio in Knoxville, TN listing off the titles of a few songs just played.
Most of the time when we think of the word:" public radio", we think of stations with serious, dry voices, continuous news, and more than likely- a number of toccata's in E minor played through the afternoon with periodic demands for money. But not so with this one. WDVX is a radio station that doesn't come from the US government, a college, or anything else other than the listeners in the area and online throughout the world.
The music they play ranges from Americana, Bluegrass, Alt country, and blues.
They also play a daily show called the "Blue Plate Special"
where artists from far and wide come and play... sometimes 3 or 4 groups at a time. They play anyone from local bands all the way to bands from other countries. All's fair game and when the mic gets switched on at noon, TN time ( 8:00 Am for me o9ut in California,) The magic of live radio begins.
As many of you know, I am from the Knoxville area originally. When WDVX started way back in 1997, they began life as a tiny station crammed into a small camper. The radio station was an immediate success, bringing back the rich musical element that helped form the TN Valley into what it had become. Prior to this, your only choices was a typical mix of pop, country, classic rock, and alternative stations. There was a weekly 1 hour long show on the local, almost all-symphony public radio station on weekends devoted to regional music. But that was it. WDVX changed all that and in my opinion, brought music back to Knoxville and made it a destination for many. The station brought back an old tradition in Knoxville, long-gone since the farmer's market days of the 30's, 40's, and 50's, when the " Mid day merry-go-round" would feature such future stars like Chet Atkins.
In 2004, WDVX moved to One Vision Plaza on Gay Street in Knoxville, where visitors can stop in for lunch or coffee every weekday at noon to watch a live band. I actually did this last time I was in town to visit my folks, and it was inspiring.
Listening to WDVX makes me realize sometimes how unique Knoxville and TN is in many ways. I am proud to call WDVX my hometown station.