The Gatherin' program was founded by John Lair, former producer of the National Barn Dance, who founded the Renfro Valley Barn Dance and what would become the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center around it in 1939. The Gatherin' was first broadcast via the CBS Radio Network in September 1943. The Gatherin' was, and is, a thematic program. The original concept of the show was to recreate the atmosphere of the pioneer "Getherin's" which were held in Renfro Valley "in the days of long ago." At the start, CBS wanted a Sunday morning companion program to the popular Saturday night Renfro Valley Barn Dance which would not be strictly a religious program, but would fit the Sunday morning format of the time. The "Gatherin'" was John Lair's answer to this.
John Lair was the first permanent emcee of the "Gatherin'," and there have so far only been two others, Grant Turner and Jim Gaskin. In 2008, in the absence of Gaskin, the Gatherin' has been emceed by Wayne Combs, who is also an entertainer on the Barn Dance and other Renfro Valley shows, and a DJ at WRVK. Jim Gaskin died on Saturday, May 3, 2008 at the age of 70 following a long illness.
After the CBS Radio Network left Renfro Valley in 1957, a pre-recorded version of the Gatherin' program went into syndication. Meanwhile, a stage version of the show was, and still is, presented in the Old Barn Theater on Sunday mornings at 8:30. The syndicated broadcast of the Gatherin' is still heard on scores of stations across the United States and Canada, as well as on satellite radio and Internet broadcasts. Following the departure of CBS, and former originating station WHAS of Louisville, from Renfro Valley in 1957, John Lair partnered with Tom Hargis to found WRVK in Renfro Valley, in part to serve as the Gatherin's and the Barn Dance's new flagship station, but mainly to serve the local listening audience in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. The station first went on the air as a 500 watt daytime only AM station in April, 1957, utilizing the former WHAS/CBS studio in what was then the Pioneer Museum Building in Renfro Valley.
Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, the home of the Gatherin' and Barn Dance, has been under separate ownership from WRVK since 1978. At that time the radio station's then-owners, Cochran-Smith Broadcasting of Nashville, chose to move the studios, offices, and transmitter approximately one mile north of the entertainment center, to their present location on Red Foley Road. (Cochran Smith's group of partners had leased the entire entertainment center from Lair in 1966, then exercised their option to buy it in 1968. When they sold the facility back to Lair and his new partners, they kept ownership of WRVK, and moved it out of the Valley.). WRVK is now a 1,200 watt station owned by Saylor Broadcasting, Inc. of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. It continues to air the Gatherin' weekly on Sunday mornings at 7:30, both on the radio locally, and worldwide via live streaming on the station's website.