Radio Romance Wins NASH Next 2017 Challenge

Back Row (L-R): John Shomby, Director Programming, Nash; Radio Romance’s Adam Smithwick; Mike McVay, Evp Content & Programming, Cumulus Media; Radio Romance’s Josh Gramling and Moises Padilla; John Kilgo, VP, Label Relations, Cumulus Media. Front Row (L-R): Radio Romance’s Sam Hayes; Scott Borchetta, President/CEO, Big Machine Label Group

Cumulus Media announced last night (Nov. 1) Radio Romance from Hermitage, Tenn., as the NASH Next 2017 Challenge winner.

The final competition event took place at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville with live performances from the Top 10 national finalists and a special performance from 2016 NASH Next winner Todd O’Neill and The Valory Music Co’s Delta Rae. The finale showcased up-and-coming country talent discovered through this first-of-it’s-kind national radio grassroots talent search and artist development program for country music, sponsored by Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM.

“Great showmen, very cohesive sound and a polished performance” were a few of the phases used by the NASH Next 2017 judges to describe Radio Romance, who will receive national radio airplay on Cumulus Media radio stations, and a recording contract under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella. As a surprise addition to the grand prize package, Country Inns & Suites presented Radio Romance with a gift of 10 free nights at any Country Inns & Suites locations.

“We woke up this morning and we didn’t have a record label or a booking agency. All we had was our one manager,” said Sam Hayes of Radio Romance. “But we are going to bed tonight with a record deal. We can’t thank our fans and family enough for all the support they have given us that got us here tonight.”

The winner of the NASH Next 2017 Challenge was selected by a celebrity panel of some of the biggest names in country music, including Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott BorchettaKix Brooks, half of Grammy-winning duo Brooks & Dunn; award-winning Songwriter Hall of Fame writer Desmond Child; chart-topping entertainer Brantley Gilbert; and the Tennessean’s Cindy Watts.

“Radio leads the way when it comes to music discovery. NASH Next 2017 genuinely discovers new artists, enables all of the contestants to be heard and allows the winners to take advantage of an amazing opportunity to have their music backed by a major label as well as played nationally on the radio,” said Mike McVay, EVP Programming and Content, Cumulus Media. “We’re very excited to see what the future holds for Radio Romance.”

“We’re so excited to add Radio Romance to the Big Machine Label Group family,” said Borchetta. “This was the toughest competition yet for NASH Next but at the end of the night it was obvious that Radio Romance had prevailed.”

To sample Radio Romance’s music, as well as hear songs and watch music videos from all of the Top 10 finalists, visit:


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