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The Country Radio Broadcasters have completed their elections for the organization’s 2019-2020 Board of Directors. Returning as CRB Board President is Kurt Johnson (Townsquare Media), elected as Vice President is John Shomby (Cumulus Media) and returning as Secretary is Beverlee Brannigan (SummitMedia).
Serving on this year’s Board of Directors are: Chuck Aly (Country Aircheck), Beverlee Brannigan (SummitMedia), Becky Brenner (Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Consulting), Johnny Chiang (KKBQ-FM), George Couri (Triple 8 Management), Andy Denemark (United Stations), Ryan Dokke (Curb), Mike Dungan (UMG), John Esposito (Warner Music Nashville), Dan Halyburton (Falls Media), Debra Herman (Apple), Steve Hodges (Sony Nashville), Clay Hunnicutt, Dave Kelly (Big Machine Label Group), Jon Loba (BBR/BMG), Mike McVay (McVay Media), Charlie Morgan (Emmis Communications), Rod Phillips (iHeartCountry), Tim Roberts (WYCD), Royce Risser (UMG), Bob Richards (Emmis Communications/WLHK), Brittany Schaffer (Spotify), John Shomby (Cumulus Media), Lesly Simon (Pearl Records), Matt Sunshine (CFSS), Joel Raab (Joel Raab Country Radio/Media), Ryan Redington (Amazon Music), and Kristen Williams (Warner). Charlie Monk continues as a Lifetime Director Emeritus.
CRB/CRS President, Kurt Johnson commented, “This is one of the strongest boards CRB has ever had. So proud to work with this group of radio and Music Row leaders to present country with the best CRS ever February 19-21, 2020.”
The CRS Board of Directors is made up of volunteer professionals from all areas of the country music industry. Together, they govern the organization and see that its mission is being fulfilled. Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. was created to provide a platform and structure for education and growth for the country music format, serving as the conduit connecting the interests of country radio with the country music industry.
iHeartRadio’s multi-media personality Bobby Bones will bring his top-rated weekly Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones program to the UK-based radio station Chris Country in July.
Every weekend on the Premiere Networks-syndicated program, Bones and his co-hosts Amy Brown and Lunchbox share conversations with country music’s hottest artists, while playing America’s biggest songs. The show is heard on more than 200 stations across the U.S. and Canada, and Chris Country will now be the first station outside North America to add the weekly show to its lineup.
Also joining Chris Country is Women of iHeartCountry, an hour-long weekend program hosted by Bones and Brown. Each week on the show, they spotlight music from both established female country music artists and promising up-and-comers. Also syndicated by Premiere Networks, the program airs on nearly 140 iHeartRadio stations in the U.S., in addition to stations in Canada.
Bones said, “Country music has never been more in demand, and we’re excited to help share the music and stories coming out of Nashville with the UK fans every week.”
Brown said, “I couldn’t be happier that Chris Country will be sharing Women of iHeartCountry with UK listeners—it’s so important that stations support female artists and voices.”
Chris Country’s new weekend schedule begins on Saturday (July 6) and also includes new UK additions, including Scott Phillips, Mikey Faulkner and Liam Scott. Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 will continue to be broadcast on Saturday mornings, and the station, which launched in 2013, can be heard on DAB+ across much of the UK.
Radio veteran and area native J. Patrick has been named Program Director of Nashville’s iconic 650 AM WSM radio station and its digital counterpart wsmonline.com.
Patrick will assume a unique leadership role at the globally known, all-encompassing country lifestyle platform and brand. In addition to the station’s historic signal, the WSM brand now includes direct-to-consumer entertainment with its new podcast, Building Nashville, and streaming channels like Route 650 or Opry Nashville. Patrick will be instrumental in guiding WSM’s next moves into emerging channels and markets, continuing the WSM tradition of bringing country music to audiences around the world.
With over 23 years in radio broadcasting, Patrick began his radio career at WDKN in Dickson, Tenn., and has served in numerous capacities at stations throughout Nashville, most recently as the Digital Program Director at WSM. Prior to that, Patrick held broadcasting positions at Cumulus Media, Clear Channel Media+Entertainment, and served as producer for multiple nationally syndicated shows.
“It’s an amazing time to be part of the Opry Entertainment family and it’s humbling to be at the helm of programming one of the most important radio brands in history,” said Patrick. “I look forward to continuing my work with the incredible WSM team as we continue to expand and enrich the WSM listener experience.”
“I’m delighted to expand J. Patrick’s role here at WSM,” said Chris Kulick, WSM General Manager. “He brings with him the experience, creativity, and passion needed to succeed in one of the most unique positions anywhere in country radio. J Patrick sees a world of opportunity at WSM and he is excited about continuing the station’s great legacy.”
WSM Radio’s programming includes listener-favorite shows such as Coffee, Country, and Cody and The Eddie Stubbs Show, hosted by Country Radio Hall of Fame personalities Bill Cody and Eddie Stubbs, respectively. Additional programming features Route 650, Opry Nashville, and more, including the Grand Ole Opry.
The Country Radio Hall of Fame banquet is on a roll again.
This annual event has struggled to survive in past years, but Wednesday night (June 19), the 350+ attendees were packed shoulder to shoulder. The celebrants were backed up all the way to the far walls of the ballroom in the Vanderbilt Marriott.
“I want to thank everyone for supporting this event,” said CRB executive director R.J. Curtis. “This is a big night: It’s our largest turnout ever.”
Current CRB board prez Kurt Johnson attributed the comeback to Bill Mayne, the evening’s first honoree. He has been the organization’s exec for the past 10 years, and has now retired.
“None of us would be here tonight, were it not for this man.” Johnson related. “Bill Mayne said, ‘I can save this. I can build this.’ He is a Music Row treasure.”
Johnson called Mayne, “the man who saved the organization” before presenting him with the President’s Award.
“I am humbled, truly,” said Mayne. “This President’s Award is about people….It’s about service, giving back. I am such a blessed man.”
The banquet also inducted six new men into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. Founded in 1974, this Hall now has 173 members. It is an outgrowth of Country Radio Seminar, which celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year.
Each of the new inductees was introduced by a current member of the Hall. Sirius/XM honcho J.R. Schumann did the honors for Charlie Monk. Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift and Dolly Parton offered video tributes.
“I’ve waited so long for this, I’m not gonna thank a damn soul,” said Monk. “75 or 80 per cent of the people in this room tonight thought I was already in the Hall of Fame.
“Thank you. I love you, every one.”
Monk’s acceptance speech was astonishingly brief. His was the shortest of the night, even when you include the onstage ribbing from his wife, Royce Monk.
The late Bobby Denton (1940-2014) was a legend of radio in East Tennessee. He put Dolly on the air when she was a singing teen and coined the UT sports phrase, “It’s Football Time in Tennessee!”
Hence, Peyton Manning’s video tribute. A recording of Dolly singing “Davy Crockett” with Denton-tribute lyrics was also played.
Singer Con Hunley accepted on Denton’s behalf: “Bobby was a great friend of mine for nearly 50 years,” said Con. “He was very instrumental in my career. I loved him. I miss him every day. I am so proud and honored to stand in for the one-and-only Bobby Denton.” The inductee’s family and WIVK colleagues added to the honor.
Inductee Gregg Lindahl has worked for 20 years at 10 stations in seven different markets, including Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Chicago and Nashville.
“I worked with some terrific teams…and I share this honor with my teammates and coaches,” said Lindahl. “I received — and continue to receive — more from country radio and country music than I ever gave. And I continue to be blessed.”
Charlie Chase inducted Kyle Cantrell. This Music City radio vet is known as a longtime Opry announcer, WSM-AM program director and Sirius/XM’s “Bluegrass Junction” host and gospel programmer.
“This business has been so good to me,” said Cantrell. “I don’t know why the Lord set out this path for me. But I thank Him for country music, for the friends I’ve known over the years. I would be literally nothing without Him. “This is a dream that I have greatly enjoyed.”
Bobby Kraig and Charlie Ochs induced Mac Daniels, whose radio-exec career blossomed in Dallas, Austin, Detroit and Washington D.C.
“There’s a lot of love in this room,” said Daniels. “It’s the love of country music, which I consider to be the best damn music made.
“What an incredible honor. It’s still unbelievable that I’m going to be in these ranks. “This journey has been more than I ever imagined. From the bottom of my heart, I love you all. And I love country music.”
Mick Anselmo inducted Jeff Garrison, who stated, “I never thought I’d be here tonight….It’s a humbling honor to be in the Country Radio Hall of Fame. I can truly say it’s been a wonderful life.”
Garrison has spent the majority of his career in such Texas markets as Houston, Austin and San Antonio. He has also programmed country for CBS Radio and Cox Media.
Prior to the awards ceremony, the attendees were serenaded by Dustin Lynch. He did an acoustic, two-song set consisting of his career-launching “Cowboys and Angels” and last year’s “Good Girl.”
“Thank you for changing my life,” said Lynch, before departing for an Opry performance. He became a cast member on the show last September.
John Marks, John Zarling, Jon Loba, Jonathan Fricke, Mike Craft, Mike Kennedy, Mike Sistad, Bob Kingsley, Bobby Young, Charlie Cook, Lorianne Crook, Tim McFadden, Jim Ed Norman, Jerry Salley, Jeff Harris, Beverlee Brannigan, Coyote Calhoun, Maurice Minor and Scott Siman mingled.
Other fabulons working the room included Neal Spielberg, Paul Allen, Chuck Aly, Suzanne Lee, Tracy Gershon, Lon Helton, Rhonda Forlaw Atkins, Lee Ann Photoglo, George Briner, Ken Tucker, Phyllis Stark, Erv Woolsey and Bill Cody.
We dined on salad greens with dried cranberries, walnuts and blue cheese, followed by baked chicken breasts, mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, carrots and asparagus with cheesecake dessert.
Meanwhile, a storm raged outside, downing power lines and tree limbs. We were oblivious. We also chose to overlook the facts that the hotel was surrounded by construction fencing and had no lobby.