CMA Announces Board of Directors

The Country Music Association has announced its new Board of Directors for both CMA and the CMA Foundation. The appointments are effective on Jan. 1, 2020.

Jody Williams (Vice President, Creative, Nashville at BMI) completes his term as Chairman of the CMA Board, while current CMA Board President Kurt Johnson (Senior Vice President of Programming at Townsquare Media) assumes that post.

CMA President Elect Mary Hilliard Harrington (Senior Manager at Red Light Management) will become CMA Board President. Jim Beavers (Songwriter at Big Yellow Dog Music) has been named CMA Board President Elect, while Virginia Bunetta (Artist Manager/Founder and Managing Partner at G-Major Management) has been named Secretary/Treasurer of the CMA Board.

Joe Galante (CEO at Galante Entertainment Organization) assumes the post of CMA Foundation Chair, while Ron Samuels (Vice Chairman at Pinnacle Bank) becomes CMA Foundation Vice Chair in 2020.

“I count my time spent in CMA Board leadership as one of the most fulfilling appointments of my career,” says Williams. “I highly value the deeper relationships with Board members and staff that developed during my tenure. The CMA is the primary pillar of strength that keeps our music community connected and supportive of each other. It was a pleasure to serve.”

“This is an especially exciting time for Country Music,” says Johnson. “In the year ahead we’ll build on the work we’ve done to make new voices heard and to honor our great legends in important ways. That’s what CMA does, and it’s why I’m deeply honored to serve as Chairman of the Board.”

“It has been incredible to be part of a team whose passion and dedication to ensuring that the Foundation’s mission of improving and sustaining music education across the country is fulfilled,” says Galante. “Since its inception in 2011, the CMA Foundation has invested more than $27 million in our nation’s children, and in 2020 we have even bigger plans to impact the lives of more students and educators than ever before.”

Kurt Johnson is Senior Vice President of Programming at Townsquare, a leading media, entertainment and digital marketing solutions company, operating 321 radio stations in 68 markets, 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 is the incoming Chairman of the Country Music Association’s Board of Directors and is in his third term as the President of Country Radio Broadcasters, which has presented Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville for the last 50 years. He is also an active board member of the National Radio Hall of Fame and the St. Jude Country Cares Radiothon. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin where he studied Civil Engineering and Communications.

Mary Hilliard Harrington has had a hand in shaping the careers of some of music’s biggest stars. With a focus on artist development, the careers of Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Chris Stapleton, Kip Moore, Elle King and LANCO, are some that have benefitted from her unique ability to build artist brands from the ground up. Harrington is currently a senior manager in Red Light Management’s Nashville office, and she also remains a partner in The GreenRoom, a publicity company she formed in 2006. Harrington is the incoming President of the Country Music Association’s Board of Directors and is the Secretary of the Riser Foundation, which has raised over $8 million dollars for children’s charities to date.

Joe Galante began his career in the music business with RCA Records in New York in 1971 as Manager of Financial Analysis. He arrived in Nashville three years later as Manager of Administration. During the next several years he held jobs as Vice President of Promotion and Vice President of Marketing and Operations. Galante’s rise saw him become the youngest man to lead a major Nashville label when he took over as head of RCA Nashville in 1981. In 1990, he was named President of RCA Records in New York, returning to Nashville four years later as Chairman of RCA Label Group/Nashville, encompassing the RCA and BNA labels and adding the Arista Nashville imprint in 2000. In 2002 he also added Provident label group, the leader in Christian music. Four years later, welcoming Columbia Nashville as its fourth imprint, the label group became Sony BMG Nashville, adopting the Sony Music Nashville name in 2009. In April of 2010, after 40 years within the same label family, Galante announced his decision to step down from his post as Chairman of Sony Music Nashville. Across a remarkable tenure, Galante helped launch the careers of Alabama, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Dave Matthews, Wu-Tang Clan, SWV, The Judds, Lonestar, Martina McBride, K.T. Oslin, Kellie Pickler, Carrie Underwood, Keith Whitley, Chris Young and many more, while his leadership bolstered the careers of such superstars as Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley. Galante is a board member of Pinnacle Financial Partners, Cumberland Pharma, Fishbowl Spirits, LLC, and Made In Network, LLC. He is an advisor to Flo, Empirical Capital, member of the Mayors Music Council and mentor in residence at the Entrepreneur Center.

Following is a list of 2020 CMA Directors and Directors at Large, and CMA Foundation Directors.

2020 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
Tyne Parrish, The GreenRoom
Lon Helton, Country Aircheck

Affiliated
Beverly Keel, Middle Tennessee State University
Steve Buchanan, SteadiBeat Media

Artist
Kix Brooks, Brooks & Dunn
Chris Young

Composer
Lori McKenna, Creative Nation Music
Shane McAnally, SMACKSongs

Entertainment Services
Frank Bumstead, Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc.
Kella Farris, Farris, Self & Moore, LLC

International
Maria Molin Ljunggren, Freebird Entertainment AB
Anna-Sophie Mertens, Live Nation UK

Marketing/Digital
Jay Liepis, Apple Music
John Marks, Spotify

Musician
Derek Wells, Spirit Music Nashville
Biff Watson, Biff-Bangs Productions, Inc.

Personal Manager
Kerri Edwards, KP Entertainment
Marion Kraft, ShopKeeper Management

Producer/Engineer/Studio
Dann Huff, Dann Huff Productions

Publisher/PRO
Kos Weaver
Jody Williams, BMI

Radio
Becky Brenner, Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Country Radio Specialists
Tim Roberts, Entercom

Record Company
Randy Goodman, Sony Music Nashville
John Esposito, Warner Music Nashville

Talent Agent
Jay Williams, WME

Talent Buyer/Promoter
Gil Cunningham, Neste Live!
Stacy Vee, The Messina Group

Touring Personnel
David Haskell, Morris Light & Sound
Terry Calonge, Richards & Southern, Inc.

Venue
John Bolton, SMG
Sally Williams, Live Nation Nashville

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 International
Jim Beavers, Big Yellow Dog Music
Steve Blatter, SiriusXM
Scott Borchetta, Big Machine Label Group
Stephen Bryan, YouTube
Virginia Bunetta, G-Major Management
Tony Conway, Conway Entertainment Group
Marc Dennis, CAA
Bob DiPiero, Being Bob Music
Chris DuBois, Sea Gayle Music
Mike Dungan, Universal Music Group Nashville
Lindsay Ell
Ted Ellis, Creator Brand Management Company
Karen Fairchild, Little Big Town
Joe Galante, Galante Entertainment Organization
Mary Hilliard Harrington, Red Light Management/Wild Hearts LLC
Laura Hutfless, FlyteVu
David Israelite, National Music Publishers’ Association
Brett James, Cornman Music and Management
Kurt Johnson, Townsquare Media
Luke Laird, Creative Nation Music
Matthew Lazarus-Hall, CMC Rocks
Jonathan Levine, Paradigm
Deb McDermott, McDermott Media Group LLC
Ebie McFarland, Essential Broadcast Media
Charlie Morgan, Emmis Communications
Brian O’Connell, Live Nation Nashville
Brian Philips, Cumulus Media/Westwood One Radio Networks
Rod Phillips, iHeartMedia
Danny Rader
Ryan Redington, Amazon Music
Liz Rose, Liz Rose Music
Scott Scovill, Moo TV/Centerstaging/Moo Creative Media/The Steel Mill
Bob Shennan, BBC
Bill Simmons, The AMG
Jennie Smythe, Girlilla Marketing
Clarence Spalding, Maverick
Jeff Stevens, Jeff Stevens Music
Troy Tomlinson, Universal Music Group Publishing
Ben Vaughn, Warner/Chappell Music
Troy Vollhoffer, Premier Global Productions
Carla Wallace, Big Yellow Dog Music
Ed Warm, Joe’s Bar
Dwight Wiles, Wiles + Taylor & Co., PC

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

2020 CMA FOUNDATION DIRECTORS
Kix Brooks, Brooks & Dunn
Mike Dungan, Universal Music Group Nashville
Karen Fairchild, Little Big Town
Joe Galante, Galante Entertainment Organization
Blair Garner, Cumulus Media
Mendell Grinter, Education Reform Consultant
Ed Hardy, Hardy Media and Entertainment Group
Lon Helton, Country Aircheck
John Huie, CAA
Kurt Johnson, Townsquare Media
Ron Samuels, Pinnacle Bank
Jennie Smythe, Girlilla Marketing
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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