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Grand Ole Opry opening location in Times Square; ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ returning to NYC

Minnie Pearl at the Grand Ole Opry back in the day
Minnie Pearl at the Grand Ole Opry back in the day

Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry is branching out…to New York City? Unlikely as it may have once seemed, it’s true. The iconic country music radio show — the longest-running broadcast in US radio history — is opening the Opry City Stage in Times Square in 2017. More from Billboard:

Colin Reed, chairman and CEO, said Ryman hopes to expand the country music-themed concept to other tourist-heavy cities, but they wanted to start in New York.

“There are about a 100 million consumers who love country music all across the country,” Reed said. “Times Square happens to be the place where between 40 and 50 million tourists go through that market. So we thought we’d start in a place as big and dominant as Times Square.”

Promoters of country music have been trying to plant a permanent flag in New York for decades with mixed success. A country music festival called Farmborough was cancelled after just one year in 2015, but a country radio station returned to the city’s airwaves in 2013 for the first time since 1996.

Billboard reports that in addition to live performances at Opry City Stage, visitors can watch Grand Ole Opry’s Nashville performances from via screens.

In other Americana radio and live music news, A Prairie Home Companion, which is now hosted by Chris Thile (Punch Brothers/Nickel Creek), is taking the show on the road, and will be live in NYC at Town Hall on December 3 & 10. Guests haven’t been announced but tickets are on sale now.

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