Country Music Association, CMA Foundation Elect New Board Of Directors

The Country Music Association has today announced its new Board of Directors for both CMA and the CMA Foundation. The appointments are effective on Jan. 1, 2019.

Bill Simmons, Partner at The Fitzgerald Hartley Company, completes his term as Chairman of the CMA Board, while current CMA Board President Jody Williams, Vice President, Creative, Nashville at BMI, assumes that post. CMA President Elect Kurt Johnson, Senior Vice President of Programming at Townsquare Media, will become CMA Board President. Mary Hilliard Harrington, Senior Manager at Red Light Management, has been named CMA Board President Elect, while Clay Hunnicutt, President of Big Loud Records, has been named Secretary/Treasurer of the CMA Board.

Jennie Smythe, CEO of Girlilla Marketing, assumes the post of CMA Foundation Chairperson, while current Chair Joe Galante, CEO of Galante Entertainment Organization, becomes CMA Foundation Vice Chair in 2019.

“Serving on the CMA Board as Chairman has been one of the greatest honors of my career,” said Simmons. “I’m thankful for everyone, including past Chairs, who encouraged and helped me in this role. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Sarah Trahern is such a gift to CMA, and it’s thanks to her leadership and the CMA staff that the Board’s vision is executed. I congratulate Jody Williams on becoming the Board’s new Chair.”

“Our community has so much to celebrate from 2018, and I am excited to step into the role of Chairman in 2019,” said Williams. “I’d like to thank Bill Simmons for his dedication to the board throughout this past year. And I look forward to working with officers Kurt Johnson, Mary Hilliard Harrington, and CMA leader Sarah Trahern in the coming year.”

“This year, the CMA Foundation celebrated a milestone investment of $25 million. The work the organization does to help enrich music education programs across the country is essential to our future generations, and I’m incredibly honored to be named the incoming Chair,” said Smythe. “Joe Galante has been an invaluable voice on this board, and I’m eager to continue working alongside him and the path he’s paved through this next year and beyond.”

As Vice President, Creative, Nashville, Williams directs all songwriter and publisher relations activities in BMI’s Nashville office. Williams joined BMI in May of 2006 after leading Jody Williams Music, a joint publishing venture with Sony Tree, where he successfully placed songs with major label country artists and discovered and managed MCA Nashville artist Josh Turner. Williams began his career at BMI in the late 1970s before holding creative positions for several major publishing firms. In 1987, he returned to BMI and rose to Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations. Soon after, Williams was lured into the publishing world again, this time as President of the Nashville division of MCA Music Publishing, which flourished under his leadership, emerging as one of Nashville’s most awarded publishers. During his most recent tenure at BMI, Williams has led his team to capturing an extremely high country market share percentage not seen in over 30 years. Presently his team oversees the active Nashville music scene for all genres, providing service as well as performance and networking opportunities. A Nashville native, Williams attended the University of Denver. In addition to serving on the CMA Board of Directors, he also serves on the board of The Country Music Foundation.

Johnson is Senior Vice President of Programming at Townsquare, a leading media, entertainment and digital marketing solutions company, operating 312 radio stations, 325 local websites, 15 national lifestyle and music websites, and presenting over 500 live events annually. Before joining Townsquare he created and managed top-ranked radio stations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas. Across his more than 30-year career he has worked with RKO Radio, Viacom, CBS Radio, Clear Channel, and AM/FM. Johnson currently serves as President Elect of the CMA Board of Directors, President of Country Radio Broadcasters, and executive board member for St. Jude Country Cares Radiothon. He is an active contributor to American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, Launchability Dallas and actively participates on several community boards. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin where he studied Civil Engineering and Communications.

Smythe began her career in the mid-1990s working for Elektra Entertainment, Spivak-Sobol Entertainment, Disney’s Hollywood Records and more. In the early 2000s, she jumped ship to YAHOO! Music as Director of Marketing and Promotion, which eventually led her to move to Nashville to work for Warner Bros. Records’ New Media Department and then as Clear Channel’s Senior Director of Content and Marketing. In January of 2008, Smythe launched Girlilla Marketing, which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary in 2018. Smythe is honored to be an active Country Music Association & CMA Foundation board member, a proud supporter of St. Jude, Music Health Alliance and is the recipient of Nashville Business Journal’s 2017 & 2018 Women in Music City Awards.

Following is a list of 2019 CMA Directors and Directors at Large, and CMA Foundation Directors.

2019 CMA DIRECTORS BY MEMBERSHIP CATEGORY
Carryover Directors, who are serving the second year of a two-year term, are listed below along with newly-elected Directors, indicated in bold.

Advertising/Public Relations/Media
Ebie McFarland, Essential Broadcast Media, LLC
Tyne Parrish, The Greenroom

Affiliated
Joe Galante, Galante Entertainment Organization
Beverly Keel, MTSU

Artist
Kix Brooks, Brooks & Dunn
Darius Rucker

Composer
Lori McKenna, Creative Nation Music
Liz Rose, Liz Rose Music

Entertainment Services
Frank Bumstead, Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc.
Stacey Schlitz, SchlitzLAW

International
Maria Molin Ljunggren, Freebird Entertainment AB
Bob Shennan, BBC

Marketing/Digital
Jay Liepis, Apple Music
Jennie Smythe, Girlilla Marketing

Musician
Kenny Greenberg, Greenberg Music
Derek Wells

Personal Manager
Kerri Edwards, KP Entertainment
Clarence Spalding, Maverick

Producer/Engineer/Studio
Dann Huff, Dann Huff Productions

Publisher/PRO
Troy Tomlinson, Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Kos Weaver, BMG Publishing

Radio
Becky Brenner, Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Country Radio Specialists
Mike Moore, Entercom Communications

Record Company
Mike Dungan, Universal Music Group Nashville
Randy Goodman, Sony Music Nashville

Talent Agent
John Huie, Creative Artists Agency

Talent Buyer/Promoter
Gil Cunningham, Neste Event Marketing
Brian O’Connell, Live Nation Nashville

Touring Personnel
David Haskell, Morris Light & Sound
Scott Scovill, Moo TV, Centerstaging, and Moo Creative Media

Venue
John Bolton, SMG
Ed Warm, Joe’s Bar

Lifetime Directors
J. William Denny, Denny Properties
Ralph Peer II, peermusic

Directors At Large:
Marcie Allen, MAC Presents
Allen Anders, AEG Presents
Chris Baldizan, MGM Resorts
Jim Beavers, Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Rob Beckham
Scott Borchetta, Big Machine Label Group
Steve Blatter, Sirius XM
Stephen Bryan, YouTube Music
Steve Buchanan
Terry Calonge, Richards & Southern
Tony Conway, Conway Entertainment Group
Virginia Davis, G-Major Entertainment
Bob DiPiero, Being Bob Music
Chris DuBois, Sea Gayle Music
Ann Edelblute, The HQ
Brett Eldredge
Ted Ellis, Creator Brand Management Co.
John Esposito, Warner Music Nashville
Karen Fairchild, Little Big Town
Mary Hilliard Harrington, Red Light Management
Lon Helton, Country Aircheck
Clay Hunnicutt, Big Loud Records
Brett James, Cornman Music and Management
Kurt Johnson, Townsquare Media
Marion Kraft, ShopKeeper Management
Luke Laird, Creative Nation
Jon Loba, BBR Music Group/BMG
Matthew Lazarus-Hall, Uncommon Cord
Jonathan Levine, Paradigm
John Marks, Spotify
Michael Martin, ASCAP
Shane McAnally, SMACK
Deb McDermott, McDermott Media Group
Mike McVay, Cumulus Media-Westwood One
Charlie Morgan, Emmis Communications
Rod Phillips, iHeartMedia
Ryan Redington, Amazon Music
Bill Simmons, The Fitzgerald Hartley Company
Jeff Stevens, Jeff Stevens Music
Ben Vaughn, Warner/Chappell Music
Troy Vollhoffer, Premier Global Production Company
Carla Wallace, Big Yellow Dog Music
Biff Watson, Biff-Bangs Productions
Dwight Wiles, Wiles + Taylor & Co., PC
Jay Williams, WME
Jody Williams, BMI
Sally Williams, Opry Entertainment
Chris Young

Ex-Officio Members:
Jim Free, The Smith-Free Group, LLC
Butch Spyridon, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation
Kyle Young, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Legal Counsel:
R. Horton Frank, Watkins & McNeilly, PLLC
Joel Katz, Greenberg Traurig, LLP

2019 CMA FOUNDATION DIRECTORS
Kix Brooks, Brooks & Dunn
Karen Fairchild, Little Big Town
Joe Galante, Galante Entertainment Organization – Vice Chairperson
Blair Garner, Cumulus Media
Ed Hardy, Hardy Media and Entertainment Group
Lon Helton, Country Aircheck
John Huie, Creative Artists Agency
Ron Samuels, Pinnacle Bank
Jennie Smythe, Girlilla Marketing – Chairperson
Jody Williams, BMI
Chris Young

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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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