ACM, Westwood One’s Radio Row Hits High Note With New Artist Performances

Mike McVay

This year’s Academy of Country Music (ACM) radio remotes, dubbed Westwood One Backstage at the ACMs, and slated for March 31-April 1, will feature live performances from some of country music’s rising stars each day.

BMLG group Delta Rae launched the event Thursday evening (March 30) with a pre-remote performance while BBR Music Group’s Walker McGuire is slated to perform on Friday (March 31) and a trio of Curb Records artists: Lee Brice, Mo Pitney and Jerrod Niemann will perform Saturday (April 1).

The radio remotes lead into the 52nd annual ACM Awards, which will be held at Las Vegas’ new T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2 and broadcast live on CBS.

Cumulus/Westwood One Sr. VP/Content & Programming Mike McVay sees the performances as a win-win for both radio stations and artists.

“Not only will those artists have their music exposed and heard, but for the stations, it creates more of a showbiz atmosphere,” McVay tells MusicRow. “If you are a station and you are recording live back to your stations, you want the audience to have a feel for what is going on at the ACMs. You want almost that circus-like feeling, so having an artist perform at the end, so that the loud music is not interfering with everybody doing their local broadcasts, I think rewards the stations. It enables them to share with the audience what it feels like to be backstage at the ACMs.”

Stations will be able to use brief portions of the performances on-air if they choose.

Also new for the radio remotes this year is the location, as Westwood One Backstage at the ACMs moves from the MGM Grand to T-Mobile Arena’s Lucky Live Lounge. Meanwhile, the number of participating stations has been cut to 30 stations.

With nearly 100 artists expected to attend the remotes throughout the weekend, McVay says trimming the number of stations was a necessary move.

“It helps make sure we can let the artists have more time with each station,” says McVay. “Too many stations cuts down on the amount of time an artist can spend with each, and it would put an artist in the position sometimes where they would have to eliminate some stations or they would have to leave a station too soon. We didn’t want anyone left out and felt by having fewer stations we could make it a better quality and the stations are generally large market stations.”

Among those stations participating in Radio Row are Westwood One stations, Radio Disney, CBS Radio, and more. Among the artists participating are Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Michael Ray, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, the Backstreet Boys and more.

Westwood One will offer plenty of additional audio content to stations before and after the ACM Awards, including a one-hour red carpet special, a three-hour ACM Awards companion radio segment, and a one-hour post-show wrap-up, all hosted by Shawn Parr and Elaina Smith.

“In the past we have had special remotes. Then, in the evening radio people would be there watching the show. By connecting it, I think we made it more convenient for artists and radio stations, but it elevated the atmosphere,” McVay says.

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Category: Artist, Featured

About the Author

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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