From September 1949, to November 1954, the Carolina Barn Dance was broadcast from coast to coast on the Liberty Broadcasting System. The program originated at the Carolina Theatre on Lower Street in Spruce Pine and was sent to the network’s Texas studios over a telephone line on Friday evenings. It was taped and rebroadcast from 8 to 9 p.m. Saturday nights. WBRM in Marion carried the show on Saturday mornings. It was the brainchild of the late O.D. “Cal” Calhoun and J. Myron Houston, who were looking for a moneymaker for the theatre and decided to start a talent night. Calhoun’s showmanship both on and off air promoted the broadcast, attracting both locally and nationally known talent. Calhoun and Houston ran a clean, family-oriented show each week.
Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman, who at the time were one of the most-beloved acts in country music, were hometown favorites who appeared regularly. In the 1930’s they became known as the “Hayloft Sweethearts” and were stars of the WLS National Barn Dance program out of Chicago. Besides their musical careers they also appeared in seven motion pictures. The Wisemans were both inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Scotty Wiseman’s most famous song nationally is probably “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” which has been recorded by numerous stars and “The Brown Mountain Lights” is still a local favorite.
Other national acts that appeared in Spruce Pine included Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, Patsy Cline, “Tennessee” Ernie Ford, Sonny James, Bill Monroe, and Kitty Wells. The show ended when when the Liberty Network went out of business in 1954.