Radio Programs

Shortly after the Williams family moved from Georgiana to Montgomery in the late months of 1936 or early '37, Hank Williams made his first appearance on radio station WSFA. When he was out selling peanuts, Hank would make it a point to stand across the street from the WSFA studios so he would be heard by those working there. Bill Hunt, advertising manager at WSFA at the time, remembered that Hank would bug anyone he thought might work at the station. Between 1937 and 1941, Hank was off the air much more than he was on.

The station was broadcast from the Thomas Jefferson Hotel, practically next door to Lillie's boarding house. Hank got his first sponsored show on WSFA in 1941. Still though, He was never on the air for more than three or four months at a time until 1947, his last full year in Montgomery. During this time his repitoire consisted mostly of Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff songs such as "I Ain't Gonna Love You Anymore", "Little Rosewood Casket", and "Lonely Mound Of Clay". On July 29th, 1948 Hank signed of WSFA for the last time.

Very few recording have survived from this early era in Hank's professional career. The only commercially released recording is "I'm Not Coming Home Anymore", A self composed song which shows us that Hank was devoloping his own style of music during this time. However, others are out there.

KWKH - Louisiana Hayride (1948 - 1949)

On August 7th, 1948 Hank made his first apperance on KWKH's Louisiana Hayride. He made his apperance during the opening 8:00 -8:30 pm segment and did "Move It On Over". Later in the show, he and Audrey did "I Want To Love And Love" Unlike his Opry debut just 11 months away, there were no record breaking encores.

In January of 1949, Johnny Fair Syrup began to sponsor Hank's regular 15 minute show where he performed with just his guitar. The show aired at 5:15 a.m. A time when most people would have been in bed. From these transcriptions we have recordings such as "I Wish I Had Nickel", "Faded Love And Winter Roses" and "Someday You'll Call My Name".

It was during this time that Hank began to perform the song that would be his ticket to fame. In late 1948 he worked "Lovesick Blues" into his line up. Those that played with Hank in Montgomery remember him singing it back then but this was his first time doing it to a large audience and they loved it.

The last time Hank performed on the Hayride, he encored Lovesick Blues seven times. He knew he had a hit and Nashville couldn't deny him any longer.

WSM - Grand Ole Opry (1949 - 1952)

On June 11th, 1949 Hank Williams debuted on the Grand 'Ole Opry with "Lovesick Blues" and received multiple encores. Something that hadnt happened before or since. It was during this time Hank did radio shows such as "The Health & Happiness Shows" and "The Mother's Best Shows". It is clear that this was Hank Williams at his best.

The Opry was Hank's mainstay for most of his popular career. Every Saturday night listeners all over the country could turn on their radios and look forward to hearing "The 'Ol Lovesick Blues Boy" as he was dubbed by the announcers. But as time went on and Hank's life went in the wrong direction, He continually missed shows or showed up drunk for Opry engagements. His last Opry appearance was July 12th, 1952. He did "Jambalaya" and "Window Shopping". On August 11th, he was fired.