Statement of Significance (as of designation - October 6, 2008):
The Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is nationally significant as the home of KWKHs Louisiana Hayride, country musics most innovative and experimental radio show from 1948 until 1958, when the show ended its national network affiliation. Although the Grand Ole Opry was the nations most popular radio show at the time, a large majority of the Oprys stars were culled from the Hayrides stage. The Hayride was the proving ground of new talent that the Opry management would lure away once they became sought after performers. The Hayrides willingness to accept unconventional performers and to be the harbinger of new sounds, placed the show in a position to help dictate the development of the country music and rockabilly sound during the 1940s and 50s. The Hayride was known as the Cradle of the Stars, and as such, it helped launch the careers of such notable country and rockabilly musicians as Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.