Country Radio Hall of Fame member who was affectionately known as “The Mayor of Music Row,” Charlie Monk, died peacefully at his home in Nashville on Dec. 19. He was 84.
Born Charles Franklin Monk on Oct, 29, 1938 in Geneva, Alabama, Monk’s career in entertainment began in high school, when he began sweeping floors at his hometown radio station WGEA before landing a gig as a disc jockey on the weekends.
After serving in the U.S. Army, Monk came back to radio through a job as a DJ on WTBF radio while attending Troy State University. Then he was on WKRG radio and television in Mobile. Monk eventually became Program Director and afternoon personality at WACT in Tuscaloosa before returning to Mobile as PD at WUNI. He guided WUNI to become the number one position in the market, and while there, Monk was invited to appear as a guest announcer on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry.
Monk moved to Tennessee in 1968 and joined WMTS in Murfreesboro. His music and talk show became the first daily radio broadcast from Nashville’s iconic Music Row.
In 1970, Monk joined the ASCAP staff, immersing himself in learning more about the music business. A year earlier he helped form Country Radio Seminar. He produced and hosted the annual New Faces Show for 40 years, helping launch the careers of stars including Taylor Swift, Crystal Gayle, Eddie Rabbitt, Larry Gatlin, Reba McEntire, Alabama, Steve Wariner, George Strait, Randy Travis, Marty Stuart, Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Brooks & Dunn, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Lady A and Vince Gill.
Monk became the Nashville chief of CBS Songs in 1977 and formed his own music publishing company, Monk Family Music Group, in 1983. In 1988, Monk focused his talents on returning legendary publisher Acuff-Rose Music to its former glory. With his help, the company became the first publisher to win both ASCAP and BMI Most Performed Song of the Year in the same year.
In addition to publishing songwriters’ work and playing it on the radio, Monk had success as a songwriter himself. His songs were recorded by Jerry Reed, Eddy Arnold, Pat Boone, Louise Mandrell, Jimmy Dean, Charley Pride, Angelo Badalamenti, Randy Travis and Charlie Chase.
After a 35-year absence, Monk returned to radio in 2004 to help launch SiriusXM in Nashville. He hosted the morning show on Willie’s Roadhouse and a weekend music and interview show on SiriusXM’s Prime Country until 2022.
In addition to his career achievements, Monk gave back to the community. He was an alumnus and Board member of Leadership Music, lifetime Director of the Country Radio Broadcasters, a member of the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, and the Gospel Music Association. He served as Vice President of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Vice President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, Vice President of the Gospel Music Association and local President of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
His honors include induction into the Country Radio Hall of Fame, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. He received awards from the Alabama House and Senate, Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc., SESAC (1998 Publisher of the Year), BMI (Publisher for Most Performed Song) ASCAP (Publisher for Most Performed Song) and Nashville Songwriters Association International. He earned a CLIO Award for commercial voice work, an Addy Award and awards and honors from the Mobile Press Register, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Nashville Association of Talent Directors.
In 2021, Monk became only the ninth recipient of the CMA’s Joe Talbot Award for his outstanding leadership and contributions to the preservation and advancement of country music’s values and traditions.
Charlie Monk is survived by his wife of 63 years, Royce Walton Monk; Sons Charles, Jr. (Sukgi) and Collin (Grace); Daughters Capucine Monk and Camila Monk Perry (Scott); sisters in law Peggy Walton-Walker Lord (Larry) and Elsie Walton (Colin Hamilton); Grandchildren Sam (Christina), Nathan, Christabel, McKenna, Theodore, Ella, Walton & Douglas; Great-grandchildren Alexis and Sophia and nieces Clara and Linda and nephews Wayne, Brian and Chip.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to MusiCares, Community Care Fellowship, Calvary United Methodist Church, Rochelle Center or CreatiVets.
A celebration for Monk will take place on Friday, Jan. 6 at 3 p.m. at Calvary United Methodist Church on 3701 Hillsboro Pike in Nashville, Tennessee (37215). A reception will follow immediately after the service.
The Monk family encourages attendees to bring a printed photo they are in with Charlie and/or a written story or memory about him- a token for family to cherish for years to come.
- Cole Swindell & Crew Celebrate Five-Week No. 1 ‘She Had Me At Heads Carolina’ - December 7, 2023
- Laci Kaye Booth Forms New Team - December 7, 2023
- HarbourView Equity Partners Expands Credit Facility, Welcomes New Partners - December 6, 2023