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American roots music and radio programming, streaming live from the Birthplace of Country Music for a worldwide audience.
American roots music and radio programming, streaming live from the Birthplace of Country Music for a worldwide audience.
251 backers pledged $103,583 to help bring this project to life.
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WBCM - Radio Bristol: music with roots

$103,583

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We think of ballads, blues, spirituals, folk, and Americana – country music’s old-time roots. 

Our town of Bristol, on the Tennessee-Virginia state line, first played its part in country music history when Ralph Peer, a record executive from Victor Talking Machine Company, traveled to Bristol in 1927. Peer had set out to find and record the makers of “hillbilly” music. In just two weeks, he recorded 76 songs in his portable recording studio from artists like Ernest V. Stoneman, The Carter Family, and Jimmie Rodgers. Commercial country music would gain widespread popularity in homes across the country – both on record and on the radio. 

Bristol has been part of country music ever since. With your help, we won’t just be part of history; WBCM - Radio Bristol will be part of country music’s future.

 WBCM – Radio Bristol is a radio station and online media center that listeners can find on the dial at 103.5FM, online, and through an app on your mobile device. Programming will focus primarily on American roots music. Our free streaming content will include three channels: 

  • Classic: Playing the greats, and more obscure artists of old-time, bluegrass, and country music, and including archival material and rare recordings from America’s past.
  • Americana: Featuring a diverse selection of contemporary artists, as showcased at our annual music festival Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion.
  • Live and Local: Live original programming focusing on local and regional music and culture from yesterday and today. This is the programming of our physical station at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

First and foremost, our programming will give up-and-coming artists a platform to be heard. It will explore country music’s diverse history with live performances, lectures, seminars, and interviews – in-studio, in the museum’s state-of-the-art Performance Theater, and recorded remotely around the region. 

Located inside the Birthplace of Country Music Museum (a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate), WBCM – Radio Bristol will broadcast from a studio equipped with historic vintage gear, restored to meet the modern needs of a fully functional radio station. The studio will serve as a working exhibit where visitors and students can experience a live broadcast firsthand. 

WBCM will broadcast from a studio equipped with historic vintage gear, restored to meet the modern needs of a fully functional radio station
WBCM will broadcast from a studio equipped with historic vintage gear, restored to meet the modern needs of a fully functional radio station

We have a 1940s Raytheon console, microphones (including an RCA 44 used by Tennessee Ernie Ford for WOPI broadcasts), and other pieces of historic gear that were generously donated, but we still have a long way to go before we hit the airwaves this summer. 

We’ll use your donation to fund: 

  • Staffing: We’ll start with a small staff of two people and focus on programming. 
  • Programming: We’ll invest in some amazing music catalogs with your help, creating fresh and original programming like our Farm and Fun Time revival. 
  • WBCM - Radio Bristol App: An app that will give you, the listener, full access to an abundance of country music programming, including both video and audio. Funds will also go towards app management and new media personnel. 
  • Production Construction: Funds will go towards the finishing touches for our separate production space, including computers and software. 
  • Webcast Fees and Services

As part of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, WBCM – Radio Bristol is a registered 501(c) 3 nonprofit, which means that not only is your donation tax deductible, every single cent will be spent wisely. 

So what do you think of when you think of country music? We know one answer will be WBCM – Radio Bristol. With on-air and live programming, we’ll continue to dig into country music’s roots and blaze new trails from this special place of Bristol. 

WBCM - Radio Bristol is located inside the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, TN-VA
WBCM - Radio Bristol is located inside the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, TN-VA

Risks and challenges

A registered nonprofit (and Smithsonian Institution affiliate), The Birthplace of Country Music will oversee the operation of WBCM – Radio Bristol, along with Program Director Tony Lawson, who brings over 20 years experience to the station.

Like any fledgling project, we may encounter a few bumps in the road, but we’re confident that our talented staff has the experience and creativity necessary to make WBCM – Radio Bristol not just a great radio station, but a successful one.

We’ll keep an open line of communication with you – our donors – during and after the Kickstarter campaign to keep you posted on our progress. We’re up for the task and hope you’ll join us!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    THANK YOU!
    Thank you for your donation! You're a big part of supporting a rich history, growing community and great country music. Your name will be listed as a supporter on WBCM's website.

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    FRIEND OF WBCM - RADIO BRISTOL:
    STICKER AND CERTIFICATE

    Be a part of our WBCM Radio Bristol community. You'll receive a WBCM sticker, certificate of recognition and your name will be listed as a supporter on WBCM's website.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    WBCM - RADIO BRISTOL EMBROIDERED PATCH

    You will receive a WBCM embroidered patch and your name will be listed as a supporter on WBCM's website.

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    Pledge $16 or more About $16

    2 FARM & FUN TIME LIVE RECORDINGS!

    Two live MP3 recordings from WBCM Radio Bristol's Farm & Fun Time pilot. Your donation will help us bring back this classic program. You will receive two MP3's via email, featuring Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys, and Blue Ridge Entertainers.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    WBCM - RADIO BRISTOL COFFEE MUG

    Start your morning off right knowing you are a supporter of WBCM - Radio Bristol! You'll receive a WBCM coffee mug and your name will be listed as a supporter on WBCM's website.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    THE FULL FARM & FUN TIME

    The complete, 45 minute Farm & Fun Time pilot, chock full of live music. Your donation will help us bring back this classic program. You will receive one full-length MP3 via email, featuring the tracks listed above plus a never-before heard performance from American legend Dr. Ralph Stanley.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $47 or more About $47

    ORTHOPHONIC JOY GIFT PACKAGE:
    T-SHIRT AND STICKER

    Celebrate the long anticipated release of "Orthphonic Joy: 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited." You will receive a Birthplace of Country Music-exclusive Orthophonic Joy t-shirt and sticker.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THE PETS OF WBCM 2016 CALENDAR!

    The Birthplace of Country Music staff is a fairly good looking bunch, but let's be honest...their pets are much easier to look at! Receive a 12 month calendar with photos of the BCM staff pets working in the station. Pippa running the console, Lefty spinning wax, Gnome setting up the boom stands...We had no idea how talented, devoted, and hard working our pets really are! They must take after their owners.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    WBCM FIELD RECORDINGS:
    EXCLUSIVE PERFORMANCES ON VIDEO

    Receive five never-before-seen video downloads of the WBCM Radio Bristol Field Recordings. Join WBCM staff backstage, behind the scenes, and in the field, catching exclusive performances from artists like Steep Canyon Rangers, Shawn Camp,Tim O'Brien, New Country Rehab and more.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    ORTHOPHONIC JOY LIVE:
    EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

    Receive a never-before-released MP3 download, highlighting two nights of the Orthophonic Joy Celebration at Houstonfest 2015! Featuring 12 tracks of live performances from Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Marty Stuart, Chuck Wagon Gang, Steep Canyon Rangers, Jesse McReynolds and more!

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    Pledge $103 or more About $103

    YODEL OF APPROVAL!
    RECORD YOUR OWN RADIO DROP

    WBCM Radio Bristol is Jimmie Rodgers approved - you can be too! Receive WBCM Radio Bristol's very first official t-shirt, featuring a Jimmie Rodgers graphic exclusively designed for WBCM by Grace Van't Hof. And that's not all: record your very own WBCM radio drop with your name (or company name) and a special thank you from Jimmie himself. Radio drops will air on WBCM Radio Bristol beginning in August 2015.

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    Pledge $144 or more About $144

    SUSTAINER PROGRAM:
    MONTHLY DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

    Your donation will help WBCM Radio Bristol launch and sustain new content. Keep up with the exciting programming monthly - this incentive includes 12 exclusive downloads of WBCM - Radio Bristol music and programming, delivered to your inbox each month. Not interested in a download? We'll send you an annual compilation of all 12 sessions on a thumb drive or CD. Delivered monthly beginning July 2015 through July 2016.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    BOUND TO BRISTOL:
    ONE OF A KIND OVERALLS

    L.C. King and WBCM - Radio Bristol have teamed up to bring you the first ever WBCM overalls. These limited edition overalls are made right here in Bristol, exclusively for WBCM's Kickstarter campaign. Receive one pair plus the 45 minute Farm & Funtime pilot MP3. It's Bristol, baby! Size options available at end of campaign.

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    Limited 13 backers
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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    RADIO BRISTOL SESSIONS: VIP CONCERT
    RED KNUCKLES AND THE TRAILBLAZERS

    As a special thank you to our Kickstarter supporters, WBCM will host three exclusive, live radio shows during Rhythm and Roots Reunion at the Birthplace of Country Music. Receive one ticket to this VIP event and experience what you have helped us build! Concerts are all ages and will take place the weekend of September 18th.

    *Donor responsible for travel to concert. Donors do not need a ticket to Rhythm and Roots Reunion to attend the VIP concert series.

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    Limited 4 backers
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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    WBCM - RADIO BRISTOL OFFICIAL STAFF JACKET

    Wear the Radio Bristol Brand. Receive the first edition staff jacket of WBCM's annual collaboration with L.C. King. Staff jackets are limited run items - pledge now and be part of the WBCM team! Size options available at end of campaign.

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    Limited 8 backers
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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    I BOUGHT A WATT!
    RECORD YOUR OWN RADIO DROP (MULTIPLE PLAYS)

    "Buy A Watt" and become recognized as an important part of WBCM - Radio Bristol's history. Record an exclusive radio drop for repeat plays, live over the airwaves. Your drop will be played on WBCM - Radio Bristol once a week for the first 90 days we're on air! Our station is powered by 67 watts. Join us and be 1 of the 67 donors who "Buy A Watt!"

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    OUT OF PRINT RHYTHM AND ROOTS REUNION POSTERS

    For the past 15 years, Bristol's Rhythm and Roots Reunion has explored the roots of Appalachian sound and lifted its branches to new heights with incredible performers hitting the BRRR stage. Own a piece of the history and receive five OUT OF PRINT Rhythm and Roots Reunion posters, from 2003, 2006, 2010 and 2013.

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    Limited 3 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    GIVE A KID A GUITAR

    Place a banjo or parlor guitar in the hands of kids! Donors at this level will select a youth program to receive either a guitar or banjo, making sure kids have the hands-on experience that will get them excited about music for years to come. We'll make sure a well built, easy to play, and historically accurate guitar or banjo gets into the hands of kids that want and need it. At the end of our campaign, a survey will allow you to select the youth program that will receive your instrument donation.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    RADIO BRISTOL SPONSOR - 2 FOR 30 DAYS

    Your business will receive two (2) announcements per day ON WBCM- RADIO BRISTOL LP for the first month (30 days) we're on the air.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    COMPLETE RHYTHM AND ROOTS REUNION POSTER SET

    Celebrate 15 years of music, art and tradition from BCM's Rhythm and Roots Reunion. Receive a complete set of promo posters from the iconic music festival, beginning with 2001 through 2015. Includes copies of the otherwise out of print 2003, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    RADIO BRISTOL SPONSOR - 5 FOR 60 DAYS

    Your business will receive five (5) announcements per day for the first two months (60 days) we're on the air - website and app.

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    Pledge $1,927 or more About $1,927

    EMMYLOU HARRIS BEADED TOP

    Receive this one of kind beaded top generously donated from country music legend Emmylou Harris. Own a piece of country music history!

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    RADIO BRISTOL SPONSOR - 5 FOR 5 MONTHS

    Your business will receive five (5) announcements per day for the first five months we're on the air - website and app.

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    3 backers
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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    JOIN US FOR THE FARM AND FUN TIME FAMILY HOOTENANNY!

    You will receive ten invitations to our VIP Farm and Fun Time Launch Reception, featuring music and southern eats like Martha White flour biscuits from scratch, legendary Ridgewood hams, homemade pimento cheese and much more. Includes meet-and-greet with Farm and Fun Time personalities and guest artists. If that’s not enough, you will also be acknowledged as one of our biggest fans and supporters.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    GET SCRIPTED INTO FARM AND FUN TIME!

    Includes the above VIP invitation to our Farm and Fun Time Launch Reception (the Hootenanny) PLUS you or your company will be written into a Farm and Fun Time Script. We’ll write a fun piece that highlights the values (or quirks!) of who you are. Our team is great at scripting this stuff, but you’ll get an opportunity to review and request changes. You and ten guests will be invited to the live show, and you’ll receive a copy of the taped and edited show for your listening and viewing pleasure. Not only will you be immortalized in Farm and Fun Time fashion, you will be acknowledged as one of our biggest fans and supporters.

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    RADIO BRISTOL SPONSOR - 6 FOR 10 MONTHS

    Your business will receive six (6) announcements per day for the first 10 months – website and app

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE FRIENDS OF WBCM:
    SIGNED RECORDING KING GUITAR

    Artists like Jim Lauderdale, Emmylou Harris and Dale Watson have pledged their support for WBCM - Radio Bristol, adding their signature to a Recording King 000 guitar, exclusively for this Kickstarter campaign. Receive this one-of-a-kind instrument plus the 45 minute Farm & Fun Time pilot MP3 download.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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Funding period

- (30 days)