Charlie Cook On Air: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is this week and I am going to continue my “List of Thanks” today and this weekend. This has not been the easiest year for many folks in our associated businesses but there are still a lot of reasons to be thankful.

1. 1.2 million sales for the debut week of Red by Taylor Swift. This is not going to right the ship on Music Row but it does let us know there are things that can move the record buying consumer. Record executives are quick to blame “stealing the music” as the reason for the drop in sales. Maybe content has something to do with it and not enough recorded music is moving the masses. Maybe better marketing would play a bigger role.

2. The CMA and the real driver, VP of Membership Brandi Simms, for leading the way for the “Year of Country Radio.” Every Country radio station in America, each program director and station general manager received a complimentary CMA membership for 2012. Hopefully they learned that the CMA has a great deal to offer to members and it starts with the incredible research led by Karen Stump.

3. Both of the trade organizations, the CMA and ACM, have charitable arms reaching into the industry and way beyond. We should be thankful for what the CMA does for the Nashville music in schools initiative. But I want to give a special shout-out to the ACM Lifting Lives charity. The ACM has redefined itself around the good deeds that LL does throughout the year. You will see an even more aggressive approach in the coming years.

4. Scott Borchetta. See No. 1. Scott absolutely thinks outside of the box. I don’t know if Scott has people he answers to. I guess everyone does. I suspect though that he is not constrained by the same kind of corporate rules as chiefs at other majors and maybe that is why he is doing things differently. Whatever the reason, he is opening doors that the rest of us can have access to in the future. The Taylor Swift Red marketing plan for radio/TV/print/online, etc. was EVERYWHERE. Whether the ClearChannel deal is good for both parties, who knows, but hoorah for doing something.

5. We should give thanks to the regulators for allowing the EMI/UMG combination. This makes for a stronger entity that means even more for Nashville as there is a steady hand in place. Mike Dungan has been a leader in town for many years. I have yet to meet anyone who dislikes him.

6. The FCC, and particularly new commissioner Ajit Pai, who is single handedly trying to improve AM radio transmission. I get that the FCC is bigger than broadcast but chairman Genachowski has been deaf to our problems while he tries to insure that every democrat in America has wireless access. Now that his friend/boss is not running again, this may not remain job number one.

7. To every employer who continues to believe that having live voices on the radio and smart, hard working promotion people out on the stump is the best way to build enthusiasm about artists among the record buying and radio listening public.

8. Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Eric Church and the particularly good year of newcomers in the format. Jana Kramer, Florida Georgia Line, Kip Moore and all the other new acts that are scoring top 5 songs in 2012. And this doesn’t even include new acts that have yet to achieve chart success, like Austin Webb, Gwen Sebastian and High Valley. This bodes well for a great 2013 and beyond.

9. Let’s give thanks for having people like Rusty Walker in our lives and business. It was too short but God has plans for all of us and Rusty was called home to be with two of his children. Still if you, like I, think occasionally of him, it is good to remember his strengths.

10. I leave No. 10 to you. Just take a minute and think about what you’re thankful for this year. It is valuable to say “thank you” out loud… so go ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MusicRow.)


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