Country Radio Hall Of Fame Class Of 2019 Revealed

Pictured (Clockwise, L-R): Charlie Monk, Mac Daniels, Bobby Denton, Kyle Cantrell, Gregg Lindahl, Jeff Garrison

Six celebrated broadcasters will join the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2019, as Grammy-winning duo Dan+Shay revealed this year’s inductees during today’s (Feb. 13) opening ceremonies for Country Radio Seminar (CRS).

Two on-air personalities and four off-air broadcasters will be honored. The 2019 Country Radio Hall of Fame Class includes Radio category honorees include Mac Daniels (KPLX and KSCS/Dallas) formerly KALM, KBOX/Dallas, KPLX, WMXQ/Washington, KASE & KVET/Austin, WYCD/Detroit, iHeartMedia, KSKS/Fresno, and NASH-FM/San Francisco, Bobby Denton (WIVK/Knoxville), Jeff Garrison (KCYY/Cox Media), formerly KKBQ, WESC, WFNQ/Greenville, KMLE/Phoenix, KILT, and Gregg Lindahl (Cox Media) formerly KOMA/Oklahoma City, WSM-AM/FM, WKY, WSOC-A/F/Charlotte, KUPL/Portland, and WKXK/Chicago.

The Air Personality category includes Charlie Monk (SiriusXM’s “Willie’s Roadhouse”) formerly of WGEA/Geneva, AL, WMTS; and Kyle Cantrell (SiriusXM) formerly WMTS/Murfreesboro, WSM-AM/Nashville, and WKDF/Nashville.

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 19, at a location to be announced soon.

About the 2019 Inductees:

Air Personality Category:

Charlie Monk is the longtime host on SiriusXM’s “Prime Country” format, a role that barely scratches the surface of his contribution to the country radio/music industry. His broadcast career was launched in 1956, sweeping floors at WGEA/Geneva, AL. He quickly segued to an on-air position, and then worked in several Alabama markets, including Troy, Mobile, and Tuscaloosa. He moved to Nashville in 1968 to program WMTS and then branched into publishing, where he wrote songs recorded by Eddy Arnold, Jerry Reed, Charley Pride, Jimmy Dean, and others. Wearing his publisher hat, Monk fostered the careers of Randy Travis and Kenny Chesney. In 1969, Monk teamed with industry friends to found Country Radio Seminar (CRS). He’s served on the CRS Board from the beginning and currently is a Director Emeritus. With CRS celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, Monk is the only person who can boast of attending every single one.

After getting his radio start at WMTS/Murfreesboro, TN in 1980, Kyle Cantrell quickly rose to host mornings there, before joining the staff of WSM-AM/Nashville, handling a variety of air shifts. In 1983, Cantrell expanded his duties, adding music oversight of WSM’s network operation, Music City Radio Network (MCRN). He also hosted a nationally syndicated weekend oldies show, airing across 85 stations. In 1985, Cantrell began serving as an announcer for the Grand Ole Opry, a role that he continues to this day. He was named WSM AM Program Director in 1993, moving the station’s music focus to Classic Country – the nation’s first such country outlet. In 2002, Cantrell began working for Sirius Satellite radio on its Classic Country channel. He continued with local radio joining WKDF/Nashville, where he remained until taking a fulltime position at SiriusXM and has since handled programming chores for Bluegrass Junction and Roadhouse channels. Cantrell added T2K programming duties in 2013, as well as Enlighten, SiriusXM’s Gospel brand.

Radio Category:

Mac Daniels has been working in radio for more than 40 years, beginning his career while still in high school, at Country/Gospel KALM/Thayer, MO, where he doubled as a salesperson. Drawn more to programming, Daniels was named for overnights at KBOX/Dallas while still in his teens. In 1980, Daniels segued to newly launched country outlet KPLX/Dallas and stayed for the next 14 years initially handling part-time air shifts, while helping establish the station’s research department. Daniels took on overnights, then evenings, soon adding Music Director responsibilities. During his time at KPLX, Daniels was honored with the Billboard Major Market Music Director of the Year six times and won the CMA MD of the Year trophy twice (1989, 1990). Major market programming opportunities followed, as Daniels eventually programmed nationally respected brands such as WMZQ/Washington, KASE & KVET/Austin, and WYCD/Detroit. In 2004, he was given Regional Programming responsibilities, based in Austin again, where he doubled as OM for the six-station Austin Cluster for iHeartMedia. Programming stints included KSKS/Fresno and NASH-FM/San Francisco, upon its 2013 launch. Daniels’ career came full circle in 2016 when he was named PD for Cumulus-owned country combo KPLX and KSCS/Dallas, where he remains. KPLX is the highest Cumulus country station in America and has been honored with an NAB Marconi Award.

Bobby Denton spent his entire 49-year career at WIVK/Knoxville, helping build the station into the iconic radio brand it is today. Denton started on the air and rose to a leadership position at WIVK and, its parent company, Dick Broadcasting where he was elevated to VP in 1981. In that role, Denton was responsible for the company’s radio stations in Knoxville, Nashville, Greensboro, NC, Colorado Springs, CO, and Birmingham, AL. Denton helped WIVK in garnering numerous industry awards, including eight CMA Station of the Year honors; five ACM Station of the Year trophies, and four Marconi Awards. In addition to this year’s inclusion in the Country Radio Hall of Fame, Denton is also a member of the Opryland Disc Jockey Hall of Fame, and the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. Denton enters the Country Radio Hall of Fame posthumously, after passing away following a short bout with cancer in 2014.

Jeff Garrison’s journey to the Country Radio Hall of Fame started in Nacogdoches, TX in 1983, working every possible air shift for country and Top 40 formats. He quickly gravitated to programming in 1985, and then moved to Houston in 1993, signing on KKBQ. Garrison moved to WESC and WFNQ/Greenville, SC in 1994, then KMLE/Phoenix in 1996, before returning to Houston, and the programming helm at KILT. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Garrison took on VP/Country Programming for KILT parent company CBS Radio, with oversight of 23 country outlets nationwide. Since 2013, Garrison has called San Antonio home, programming KCYY, and serving as format leader for Cox Media’s six country stations. Garrison has also given back to the country industry, serving on the ACM and CMA board of directors.

Gregg Lindahl has handled responsibilities at every level in radio, starting as an on-air personality before rising to MD, PD, and GM during 20 years at 10 country stations in seven markets. His career included 15 years at the corporate level, leading a market research company while pioneering digital initiatives. Like many radio professionals of his generation, Lindahl started while attending high school in Ortonville, MN. In 1980, he moved to KOMA/Oklahoma City, launching it as a country station. A move to legendary country brands WSM-AM/FM followed and included WSM-FM’s move to country. Lindahl returned to Oklahoma to program WKY and soon became the station GM. His managerial career continued at WSOC-A/F/Charlotte, KUPL/Portland, and WKXK/Chicago – which he flipped to country in 1995. In 1995, Lindahl joined Cox Media, serving as President for Eagle Research, and later VP/Interactive and New Technologies, and SVP/Digital Strategy. Lindahl has served on the CMA Board of Directors, the CRS agenda committee, and has been called upon for core moderator duties at recent CRS events.

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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 jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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