Radio Bristol

Read about our catch up with Kris Truelson of Radio Bristol VA/TN

Announcer JP Parsons and Kris Truelson


Bristol VA/TN 21 September 2018 TriFest Music Tour

Words – Rob Dickens

Pictures – Jim Jacob


Today we met with Kris Truelson, Producer and Announcer with Radio Bristol (and front man with local old-time group Bill and the Belles).

Radio Bristol, a branch of the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), is a nonprofit network of community radio channels providing listeners with a platform celebrating the rich roots diversity of American music through a variety of original programming.  Integral to Radio Bristol is its commitment to local and regional arts and culture. Through educational and entertaining programming Radio Bristol celebrates the music of its region.

In 2012, the BCM secured the funds to build what had evolved into the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.  Museum planners initially considered a more traditional museum with artifacts, static exhibits and the like.  Ultimately, BCM decided on a more state of the art, interactive museum including a radio station exhibit within the Museum’s core exhibits – an exhibit that would offer historical background on the rich radio culture of Bristol and the greater region.  Soon, the vision grew into something that was much more than what was initially planned.  The radio exhibit would not only be interactive, but there would also be an actual radio station within the museum.

Through a community kickstarter campaign, donations of equipment and the expertise of industry professionals, Radio Bristol was soon outfitted with state of the art, yet historically accurate equipment such as a 1940’s console and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s microphone.  Radio Bristol officially launched in August 2015.




The Station, which is housed in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, also provides recordings and live sessions.  The four channels are:

  • WBCM 100.1 FM – broadcasting locally in Bristol with an eclectic mix of American roots music centred on live performances from the Radio Bristol Sessions concert series and radio shows like Farm and Fun Time and On The Sunny Side.  Farm and Fun Time is a highly popular show that ran from the mid 1940’s to the early 1960’s playing some of the finest music of the time including the great Flatt and Scruggs.  It has been resuscitated and continues the tradition of fine music, local culture and even heirloom recipes and farming news of interest to locals
  • Radio Bristol Classic – showcasing historic and live music from country music’s diverse past including old time, bluegrass, classic country, blues.
  • Radio Bristol Americana – highlights a mix of Americana roots music and features recordings from the annual Rhythm and Roots Reunion
  • Radio Bristol Video


The Station is staffed largely by volunteers whose love for the local music, culture and traditions is paramount.

There are plenty of plans for expansion and more services such as national syndication.  Stay tuned as they say because the people involved with Radio Bristol and the BCM know few limits when it comes to pursuing their dreams of promoting and showcasing their music, their culture, their way of life.

To listen and get news, you can go via their Facebook, You Tube or website.  You can also download the Radio Bristol app via iTunes of the Google Store.



About Kris Truelson

As Producer for Radio Bristol, Kris directs and shapes programming for the station’s four diverse channels.  He was the first student to earn a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies from East Tennessee State University and also produces and hosts specific programming at Radio Bristol, including the historic radio program Farm and Fun Time, the Farm and Fun Time Noon Show, Radio Bristol Sessions, and the daily morning program On the Sunny Side.  Kris was a panelist at the recent Americana Conference.

Kris is also the founding member and lead singer of Bill and the Belles, a popular string band based out of Johnson City, Tennessee.  The band has a new album out called Dreamsongs, Etc.


Read about our catch up with Kris Truelson of Radio Bristol VA/TN




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Author: Rob Dickens

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