Tennessee station switches to Americana format

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WMOT-FM in Murfreesboro, Tenn. will switch from a hybrid news and jazz/classical format to Americana music on Friday.

With a 100,000-watt signal on 89.5 FM that reaches into Nashville, the station will air a mix of bluegrass, folk, gospel, soul, country and blues music. Jazz programming will move to the station’s HD channel and its FM signals 104.9 in Brentwood and 92.3 in Murfreesboro. The Middle Tennessee State University-owned station announced the format change Aug. 26.

The station will continue to offer training to university students and will retain campus-oriented programs such as broadcasts of athletic events and MTSU On the Record, a public affairs show on university news.

To create the new format, WMOT has partnered with Music City Roots, a live music show that airs on public radio and television stations. The programming team of Music City Roots will curate the playlist for the station, which will brand itself as WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5.

Music City Roots is a for-profit company based in nearby Franklin, Tenn. It was the only applicant in a public bidding process to partner with WMOT, according to The Tennessean.

In addition to programming a broad range of musical genres encompassed by the term “roots music,” the playlists will mix old and new Americana songs “in defiance of standard radio industry demographic micro-targeting,” according to a press release.

The new format features live radio hosts on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; John Walker,  Music City Roots’ e.p., will helm the morning drive.

“We have, over the years, had partnerships with different radio stations,” Walker told The Tennessean. “We’ve always dreamed there would be a radio station that would fully embrace the Roots, Americana music going on all over the country, but centered right here in Middle Tennessee.”