Billboard Sr. Chart Manager, Nashville, Wade Ray Jessen passed away unexpectedly this morning, March 5, 2015. He was 53 and suffered a massive heart attack.
With the publication since 1994, Jessen managed the Music City operations, and oversaw all radio and retail charts for bluegrass, Christian, country and gospel. He also represented those charts to the global press community and provided weekly chart analysis on multiple delivery platforms.
He was a well-liked and respected member of the Nashville music community for more than 20 years. He was a former ACM Board member, and was active with the CMA, GMA, IBMA, Leadership Music, SGMA and The Recording Academy.
Jessen was also a SiriusXM radio host on the Willie’s Roadhouse channel. A self-described “country music nerd,” he had extensive knowledge of music history and took particular interest in classic country, antique radios, phonographs, and microphones.
A helpful friend to fellow media, Jessen annually assisted MusicRow in compiling data to tabulate the publication’s Top 10 All-Star Musician Awards.
He was born Nov. 15, 1961 in Roosevelt, Utah. Jessen’s first job in radio was at age 16, as an on-air personality at KNEU/Roosevelt. He later moved to KSOP/Salt Lake City and then to WSM-AM/Nashville, where he was named Billboard’s medium market music director of the year in 1994.
With widely varying interests, Jessen also studied rural, farming, and ranching issues. He enjoyed good wine, cooking, furniture and china.
He was preceded in death by parents Robert Gary Jessen and Rosalee Brown Jessen of Utah. He is survived by spouse Corey Jones.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Visitation from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2015 with the family receiving guests from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Spring Hill Funeral Home, 5110 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, Tenn.
Visitation at 11 a.m. Monday, March 9, 2015 with Mass at 12 noon at the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 1700 Heiman Street, Nashville, Tenn.
There will be a viewing at the Jessen Family home in Utah Friday, March 13, 2015 from 4-8 pm. Graveside services and interment at the Mt. Home-Boneta Cemetery, Mt. Home, Utah Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 11 am. Arrangements entrusted to Spring Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery, 5110 Gallatin Road, Nashville, TN 37216. Click here for additional details.