Bobby Karl Works The Country Radio Hall of Fame Inductions

L-R:

(L-R): Dr. Don Carpenter, Eddie Edwards, Gaylon Christie, Lorianne Crook, Charlie Chase, and Bill “Dex” Poindexter

Country Radio Hall of Fame inductees: Gaylon Christie (Radio category); Dr. Don Carpenter, Crook & Chase, Eddie Edwards, Bill “Dex” Poindexter (On-Air category)
CRS President’s Award: Bob Romeo, Academy of Country Music CEO
CRB Career Achievement Award: George Strait

BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM—Chapter 418

Brevity and wit were the characteristics of this year’s Country Radio Hall of Fame ceremony.

The annual Country Radio Seminar event was staged Tuesday evening (Feb. 26) at the Convention Center’s Renaissance Ballroom. This is an occasion that in past years has lumbered on for hours, with multiple musical performances and long-winded speakers basking in the sounds of their dulcet radio voices. This year, we were in and out of the banquet in about two hours. Another big difference was the fact that, for a change, almost all the tables were sold.

“We are so pleased to have this room full,” said Charlie Morgan. “It’s such a terrific way to begin this week.”

The Academy of Country Music’s Bob Romeo was given the President’s Award. “When I got the call, I was humbled and really speechless,” said the normally loquacious and humorous exec.

Tim McGraw and George Strait

Tim McGraw and George Strait

Country Music Hall of Fame member George Strait was honored with the artist Career Achievement Award. He has more No. 1 hits than any artist in history. As he took the stage, the ballroom attendees jumped up in an enthusiastic standing ovation, whooping and waving their napkins in the air.

“Thank you very much; I really appreciate this,” said the superstar. “It’s coming from radio, so I’ll definitely have a special place for this in my house. The country-music business is the best business in the world. It’s meant so much to me to have made so many friends over the years. I also want to congratulate the Country Radio Hall of Fame inductees tonight.

“That’s about all I’ve got to say,” concluded the famously terse cowboy crooner.

Paul Allen inducted Gaylon Christie, who has been in country radio for 50 years. His Texas station, KUSJ, is categorized as “small market,” but it serves Ft. Hood, the largest U.S. military installation in the world. His listening audience there, alone, numbers more than 297,000. For many years, he was its owner/operator as well as its on-air personality.

“I hope sometime during your life, you feel as thankful and blessed as I do tonight,” Gaylon said to the crowd.

Sammy George did the honors for Bill “Dex” Poindexter, who has won three CMA Air Personality of the Year awards for his work at WUSY in Chattanooga. In the peripatetic world of radio, he is unusual as a jock who has worked his entire career in his hometown.

“I don’t know who you’re talking about,” he responded following Sammy’s laudatory introductory remarks. “But he sounds like a helluva guy.” Dex lost his wife eight weeks ago, and bravely went on the air to share his deep feelings with his listeners.

Tim Roberts inducted Dr. Don Carpenter, a former veterinarian who made his mark at stations in Joplin, Tampa, Des Moines and Pittsburgh before settling in at WYCD in Detroit. Don gave the evening’s most irreverent acceptance speech, indicating that he didn’t like country music except when it sounded like Southern rock and bragging that he had stars do interviews sitting on a toilet seat.

“For the past 30 years, all these P.D.’s [program directors] in here have been telling me I’ve been doing it all wrong,” said Don. “I still can’t figure out how I got here.”

WNOE program director Don Gosselin introduced inductee Eddie Edwards and praised him for helping to bring country music back to prominence in New Orleans. Eddie, who is also a member of the Louisiana Hall of Fame, gave the funniest speech of the night.

He played a little harmonica and quipped, “I smoked so much weed that Willie Nelson did my intervention,” then added, “That’s great wine. If I’d had one more glass, I’d have come up here as Randy Travis.

“People always ask me, ‘What made you choose radio?’ Well, look at me: I had very few career options….I have made literally hundreds of dollars, and I have dozens of t-shirts and hats. My daughter is a lawyer. I’m so disappointed in her: I wanted her to be a disc jockey.”

Tim McGraw, who is celebrating his 33rd No. 1 hit this week, inducted Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase. “Crook & Chase was born in 1983, and it’s been fantastic ever since,” said Tim. Actually, the team first came to radio in 1987, but who’s counting?

“They’ve always had a way of making artists and fans feel at home.” Tim told the crowd that he’s always had a crush on Lorianne and that he named his pet jackass after Charlie.

“We are here to help other people’s talents shine,” said Lorianne, who is a Nashville native. “It’s not about Crook & Chase. It’s about that artist. It’s about country music. It’s about the fans.”

“My buddy Lorianne Crook has made going to work a lot of fun,” said Charlie, who grew up next to the radio station in Rogersville, TN. “We discovered a partnership that is rare. Lorianne and I are honored and blessed to join all the professionals in the Country Radio Hall of Fame.”

Greeting the inductees with multiple standing ovations were Mike Wilson, Mike Dungan, Bob Kingsley, Bob Paxman, John Esposito, John Huie, Eddie Mascolo, Ed Morris, Frank Mull, Matt Watkins, Jim Owens, Kyle Cantrell, Julie Talbot, Lon Helton, Peter Svensen, Tom Baldrica, Phil Sweetland, Vernell Hackett, Sean Ross, Chuck Aly, Adelaide Yoder, Kay Smith, R.J. Curtis and Sherod Robertson.

Working the room were such artists as Charlie Worsham, Kristen Kelly, X-Factor champ Tate Stevens, Toby’s daughter Krystal Keith, Brett Eldredge, George Johnson and Tracy Lawrence. We dined on steak, potato wedges, broccoli crowns, salad and apple pie and/or chocolate cake. Craig Campbell and Katie Armiger were booked to perform at the After Party.

L-R)

(L-R): CRB’s Bill Mayne, Lorianne Crook, Tim McGraw, Charlie Chase, Bob Romeo and CRS Pres. Mike Culotta

Craig Campbell and Katie Armiger at the after party.

Craig Campbell and Katie Armiger at the after party.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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