The Louisiana Hayride, the Radio Show that Launched Hank Williams & Elvis Presley, Made Their Broadcast Debut on This Day in 1948

On this day (April 3) in 1948, The Louisiana Hayride broadcast for the first time. The show was one of the most successful live radio shows in history. It helped to launch the careers of legendary artists like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and many more.

Often called the Cradle of the Stars, the show broadcast from the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana. The radio station KWKH pushed the show, which featured up-and-coming country acts to listeners in 28 states, according to 64 Parishes. In 1953, CBS Radio picked up the Louisiana Hayride and sent it to 198 affiliate stations. Additionally, Armed Services Radio sent the show to military bases around the world.

When it comes to classic country radio shows, many immediately think of The Grand Ole Opry. The Louisiana Hayride launched more than 20 years after the Opry. KWKH station manager Henry Clay created the Hayride using the Opry template. The shows beamed to the same areas and competed for the same audiences. However, key differences made the Shreveport-based show an important part of musical history.

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