2017 Country Radio Hall of Fame Honorees Announced

Pictured (clockwise, from top left): Tim Closson, The Good Morning Guys, Joe Wade Formicola, Charlie Ochs, Jim Mantel, Linda Lee, Mel Owens

The Country Radio Hall of Fame “Class of 2017” inductees were announced during today’s Country Radio Seminar (CRS) 2017 Opening Ceremonies by Capitol Nashville’s Lady Antebellum. Six radio personalities and three off-air broadcasters will be honored, and include Tim Closson, Charlie Ochs, Mel Owens in the radio category and Joe Wade Formicola, Linda Lee, Jim Mantel, and The Good Morning Guys (KUAD/Ft. Collins, CO) in the on-air category.

The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of those individuals who have made significant contributions to the radio industry over a 20-year period, 15 of which must be in the Country format.

The Country Radio Hall of Fame Induction and Dinner will be held in Nashville on Wednesday, June 21st, at a location to be announced soon.

Radio Category:
Tim Closson
Best known for his 15-years at WUBE/Cincinnati, Closson programmed the station from 1990-2004, when WUBE became the market’s dominant 25-54 radio station and achieved national prominence. During this time, Closson also served as VP/Programming for AMFM Chancellor, overseeing programming for Country radio stations Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Houston. Prior to his arrival in Cincinnati were held programming, music, and on-air positions at KHAK/Cedar Rapids, IA and WAXX/EAU Clare, WI. In both markets, he helped the stations achieve CMA Station of the Year awards. Closson is a past member of both the CRB Agenda Committee and its Board of Directors.

Charlie Ochs
Ochs began his radio career in 1962, and has covered every facet of the business at some of the format’s legendary calls letters, including: On-air/Music Director for KNIX/Phoenix; PD/mornings at KIKK/Houston; VP/General Manager for WQYK/Tampa; VP/General Manager WMZQ/Washington DC; and Sr. VP/CBS RADIO/Tampa. OCHS is the founder of his own consultancy, Ochs Media, and still handles day-to-day radio responsibilities for BEASLEY MEDIA/TAMPA.

Mel Owens
Owens has spent his entire career at KUZZ/Bakersfield, beginning as a sales executive in 1971. Since then, he has risen to Sales Manager; Station manager; VP/Buck Owens Production Company; and CEO/Buck Ownes Production Company. Owens currently serves as President/Buck Owens Production company. During his watch, KUZZ has been one the most honored Country stations in America. KUZZ was awarded CMA Station of Year honors in 1998, 2002, and 2009; and ACM Station Of the Year awards in 1999, 2009, and 2012. Additionally, KUZZ is a six-time winner of the NAB Crystal Award for Community Service.

On-Air Category:
Joe Wade Formicola
During his 1987-1995 run in mornings at WWWW (W4)/ Detroit Formicola was honored with the 1988 CMA Personality of the Year award. In 1995, he joined crosstown Country WYCD/Detroit. He was a nationally syndicated personality with WESTWOOD ONE from 2010-2015. Early career stops included serving as PD of KENR/Houston in 1979 before moving on to the OM/PD chair at WKIX/Raleigh, NC.

Linda Lee
Lee has spent her 21-year career exclusively in Country radio, all of them in the city where she was born and raised: Detroit, MI. Lee started at WYCD in 1994 as an unpaid intern for the morning show, co-hosted by 2015 CRHoF inductee Karen Daelessandro. In 1995, Lee handled part time shifts at crosstown WWWW (W4)/DETROIT, then moved to evenings. She re-joined WYCD in 1996 as morning show producer/co-host and was paired with fellow 2017 inductee, Joe Wade Formicola. Lee segued to afternoons in 1998 and has stayed there since, working with three different on air partners, including current co-host, Rob Stone. Lee and former co-host Chuck Reeves (now WYCD morning host) won the CMA Personality of the Year award in 2011. Lee was honored with a GRACIE Award in 2014 and the Michigan Assn of Broadcasters Personality of Year award in 2010 and 2015.

Jim Mantel
A 35-year vet of Country radio, Mantel’s career began in Texas, where he worked at KNFM/Odessa, KRYS/Corpus Christi, and KKBQ/Houston.Those stints preceded a long and successful stay in mornings at WGAR/Cleveland which ran from 1992-2010. Mantel was honored with the CMA personality of the Year 1993, and was a 2005 inductee to the Ohio Radio and TV Broadcasters Hall of. His successful career continues today, hosting mornings at WRNS/Greenville, NC.

Good Morning Guys – KUAD/Ft. Collins, CO: Brian Gary, Todd Harding, Susan Moore

Gary and Harding were first paired as the “Good Morning Guys” on KUAD in 1988. They were joined by Moore in 2000 and went on to win CMA Small Market Personality of the Year awards in 2008 and 2013. The team has also been honored as Colorado Broadcaster Assn. Morning Show of the Year four times, and NAB morning personalities of the year three times (2009, 2010, 2013). The show’s signature charitable event is “28 hours of Hope” in which they stay on the air for 28 consecutive hours to raise money for three local charities in Northern Colorado. Their efforts have raised more than a million dollars over the years.


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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