Music City’s history is intertwined with radio. Lately, one radio station in particular has surged as a community voice sharing their love of Nashville and music across the waves. Some can’t go a day without turning the radio dial to 100.1. Others trust them as a place to hear the best from Nashville’s local music scene. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, have flocked to any of the numerous events hosted by this amazing radio station. We, of course, are talking about Music City’s independent radio station and our next Nashville Rockstar, Lightning 100.
The story of Lightning 100 begins in 1961 when it was known as WIZO-FM. After several years and new ownerships it soon became Rebel 100, in 1987, as WWRB-FM and one of the country’s first alternative rock stations. By the fall of 1988, it changed owners, once again, and switched the letters to WRLT-FM to become Nashville’s Lite 100. Finally, in 1990 Radio Lightning debuted to become what we know it as today.
Over the last 25 years, Lightning 100 has been locally owned and operated. They have always focused on the community and that includes creating several events to help improve our fair city. Just to name a few, there’s the upcoming Give Thanks Fest which helps the Second Harvest Food Bank, the annual Festivus Charity Show that benefits The Salvation Army Forgotten Angels Program, and, of course, the annual concert series Live on the Green.
If you have never heard about Live on the Green we will assume one or two things: 1) you are not from Nashville, or 2) you live under a rock. We will enlighten you just in case you follow under those two things. Every summer, Lighting 100 hosts a free concert series at Public Square Park. The name comes from the location, as Public Square Park is a green roof over a parking garage. Hence “Live on the Green.” The festival was created to increase public knowledge about recycling and helping the environment while listening to some good music, too. In the beginning, it was just a weekly series with several hundred people coming out. Now a days, thousands flock to the free shows which take place in August and September. Also, they now close out the concert series with a three day festival. While a few things have changed since it started, the mission has always remained the same: keep it free, local, and green.
Let’s not forget the musicians they have helped over the years. Each and every Friday they present Writer’s Night at Jed’s Sports Bar & Grille providing the local community an opportunity to belt it out for all to hear. Each Sunday, you can join them for Nashville Sunday Night featuring critically acclaimed national, regional, and local artists at the legendary 3rd and Lindsley. And there’s also the615. Happens every Monday, starting at 6:15pm, as Lightning 100 dedicates one hour of radio play to the best artists and bands Nashville has to offer. Lightning 100 has always open their ears to Music City’s local musicians and have never feared playing a tune they love no matter who’s singing. For that reason alone, bands across Music City have come to praise Nashville’s independent radio station.
What’s truly beautiful and special about Lightning 100 is the passion seen or heard from the staff. Turn the dial to 100.1 and hear the joy from their voices, the love they have for music, this community, and each other. The band of unique individuals behind Lightning 100 are doing what they love in a city that appreciates their commitment to providing the best tunes and keeping it local. It’s not about big bucks, or making sure to have the most popular song. It’s about Nashville and this creative community we all hold dear. Which is why it’s so amazing and a joy to have the opportunity to listen to them everyday.
As we mentioned before, Lightning 100 has been on the air for 25 years now. Currently, they are celebrating their anniversary with a Birthday Blowout Week at 3rd and Lindsley. For the rest of the week they will feature Elliot Root with Vinyl Thief and Twin Lamb (11/05), Coin with Myzica and Yøuth (11/06), and All Them Witches with special guests (11/07-08). Join them in blowing out the candles and celebrating 25 years of keeping it Nashville. One of the last things we will say is for you, Lightning 100. Thank you for doing what you do and keep rockin’.
Whether you live in Nashville or are out of town you can always listen to Nashville Rockstar Lightning 100 here: lightning100.com.