Saturday, 3 March 2012

Country Radio Seminar 2012 Review

Country Radio Seminar 2012 Review

About - The Country Radio Seminar (CRS)
One of the largest media gatherings of any kind, each Spring this Nashville convention and trade show brings together nearly 1,000 delegates from Country Radio with 1,000 music industry professionals for three days of "growth through sharing." Radio attendees include Program Directors, General Managers, Promotion Managers, Sales Executives and Air Talent.

CRS 2012 Attendance Up Nearly 10%

Posting a 9.6% increase, CRS 2012 attracted 2,904 registrants for this year's Seminar, up 255 from 2011 and 724 above 2010. This year's tally included 2,190 full registrants (attendees, exhibitors, panelists and sponsors) and 714 participant registrants (for individual events or single-day passes). "With attendance jumping nearly 10%, daily superstar performances, improved on-site conveniences and more event sponsors than ever before, CRS 2012 was a great success," says CRS Exec. Dir. Bill Mayne. "This is the fourth straight year we've enjoyed growth in our attendance numbers, and it really goes to show how the Country radio industry is not only remaining relevant, it's also thriving in today's media-saturated marketplace."

CRS 2012 Highlights

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012:
The Country Radio Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony took place at 6 p.m.  The 2012 inductees were: Beverlee Brannigan, Ron Rogers and Rusty Walker in the Radio category and Moby, Eddie Stubbs (photo link) and Bill Whyte in the On-Air category. (photo link)
Glen Campbell is the Career Achievement Award recipient and Bob Kingsley is receiving the President’s Award. 

DAY 1 Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012:
CRS 2012 officially began with the keynote address, delivered by MTV co-founder and Clear Channel exec Bob Pittman. 
Pittman noted country radio's strength at reaching 65 million listeners each week. He also told the room of men and women who work in the industry that "Radio is still America's companion." He went on to say that radio is a social experience between the listener and the personalities, something that doesn't happen with audio streams or music collections.

Veteran CRS attendee Charlie Monk had a new slogan - "The good ole days are tomorrow." He complimented Pittman on his keynote address, agreeing that people are still listening to radio. As a publisher, Monk says he is observing that songwriters are "trying to write great songs and not just make great records." He adds that it has always been the song that saves country music.
Another trend Monk has seen since the economy has caused so many layoffs is that the independent labels now have a growing group of men and women who once were at major labels who are now guiding those independents through their contacts and expertise. "The independent labels now have better opportunities as people are joining them to work with the new artists in various capacities."

Historically, new technologies have frequently been used to replace people in the workplace. But if country radio wants to successfully weather a difficult transitional decade, the medium will need to come to grips with new tech while maintaining a personal connection with its audience. That was the big-picture takeaway from the Country Radio Seminar, as 2,904 full or partial registrants met Feb. 22-24 in Nashville to discuss the status of the industry and its place in the uncertain future of the entertainment business.

The good news: some 93.1% of the U.S. population 12+ listens to radio every week, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman said during a cheerleading keynote speech. That figure represents a 0.4% increase over radio listening 40 years ago when the number of entertainment options was substantially less. Radio trails only television as the second-most-used medium among consumers aged 12+. And even in the 12-24 demo - where the Internet is not considered a new development, but simply a de-facto part of life - radio surpasses TV to remain the No. 2 medium behind the web.

The bad news: terrestrial radio will continue to feel a squeeze. In a "Digital Dashboard" panel, attendees viewed several images of media screens in foreign cars in which radio is just one of more than a dozen options, from personal mp3 players to the Internet to satellite radio. In some countries, it's even possible for drivers to play "Angry Birds" while behind the wheel. Alternative media - particularly Pandora and Internet radio streams - represent significant threats to terrestrial radio's future.

American Idol finalist Lauren Alaina (photo link) performed the national anthem. 

Rascal Flatts accepted the CRS 2012 Artist Humanitarian of the Year award on Wednesday, Feb. 22, (photo link)

The
UMG Nashville luncheon was held at the Ryman Auditorium, featuring a lineup including Laura Bell Bundy, Easton Corbin, Scotty McCreery, David Nail, Josh Turner, Lee Ann Womack and additional surprise guests. 

George Strait's appearance at at the Ryman was kept a total surprise. The singer performed two songs "I'll Always Remember You" and "Troubadour." ASCAP presented him with his first number one plaque and an acoustic guitar for writing his hit "Here For A Good Time" (see photo)

Lofton Creek Records showcased their new artist Kelly Parks at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. Philip Gibbons (WGSQ The Country Giant) in Cookeville, Tennessee, said that Kelly has visited his station several times. He also cites Amber Hayes as another new artist to watch. Mike Borchetta, CEO of Loftin Creek Records, also brought up tight playlists when asked about trends in music today. "Until Billboard loosens their charts it's going to be tough to break any new acts," he says. "We're doing it the old fashioned way with Kelly, by visiting stations to establish that personal contact between Kelly and radio. Nothing beats that one-on-one contact when it comes to establishing a new act."

The KCRS Live! showcase featured artist/songwriters Jim Collins, Andy Gibson, Aaron Lewis and Bobby Pinson. (photo link)

A full-band concert by Lady Antebellum was held  at Municipal Auditorium with special seating provided for CRS attendees.

DAY 2 - Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012:
Alan Jackson (photo link) performed at Thursday’s Capitol Nashville luncheon, On day two he took time to sit down and discuss his long and illustrious career with a Q&A hosted by radio personality Lon Helton. Among some of the interesting moments came when Jackson talked about having to take over the steering wheel on a radio tour when the promo rep got sick. He also reminisced about his early days in Nashville with wife Denise. Helton brought out the fact that Jackson is one of only four singers to have written twenty of his number one hits - with Merle Haggard, John Lennon and Paul McCartney being the other three.
Capitol  provided a spread of fried chicken and southern vegetables in keeping with Alan's numerous songs about southern cooking. "I should have sang some of songs about food," Jackson joked. The singer and "Country Aircheck's" Lon Helton took diners on a verbal and musical journey of his career. Jackson recalled working the Sunday brunch at Opryland Hotel for $25. "And that was singing for four hours," he recalled.
Jackson recalled visiting radio for the first time. "I was scared to death," he admitted. "No one knew who I was."  

(L-R): Capitol Nashville COO Tom Becci; Capitol Nashville SVP Marketing Cindy Mabe;
Capitol/EMI Nashville President & CEO Mike Dungan;
Alan Jackson; Capitol/EMI Nashville SVP Promotion Steve Hodges; EMI Nashville VP Promotion Angela Lange and CRB Executive Director Bill Mayne (Photo: Bev Moser/CRS)

 Jackson also performed some of his biggest hits, offering stories behind songs like "Here In The Real World" and 1995's "Song For The Life," which was penned by Rodney Crowell - one of his few hits he didn't write. He closed the Capitol Nashville luncheon with "Thank God for the Radio" to a rousing round of applause.
 Jackson is slated to release a new album for EMI Music Nashville/ACR (Alan's Country Records) later this year - his first after a two decade run with Arista. (see photo)

At this year’s WCRS Live! lineup included hit songwriters Matraca Berg, Natlie Hemby, Lori McKenna and Ashley Monroe. (photo link)

The 26th annual Sony/BMG cruise along the Cumberland left dockside around 7 p.m. Although the weather forecast warned of inclement weather, the skies did not pour down hail and rain as had been predicted. Inside and onstage, hosts Storme Warren, Sara Evans and Kellie Pickler worked to keep the music flowing despite some technical difficulties throughout the evening. Jake Owen opened the show with a great performance, followed by newcomer Tyler Farr and Josh Thompson.
Pickler and Evans sprinkled performances throughout the evening from a satellite stage in the audience. Another new artist, Kristen Kelly, performed before duo Love and Theft took to the stage. They brought along guitar great Josh Leo, who wowed the audience with his expertise.
Casey James, a former "American Idol" contest who came in third on season nine, performed two original tunes. "Last year I thanked all of you but I didn't really understand what I was thanking you for," James told the audience. "Tonight I am thanking you again, for all you have done for me this past year."  

Kix Brooks hit the stage with his usual enthusiasm and gave the audience a taste of things to come from his first solo album on Sony/BMG. "Thank you for letting me talk on radio," Brooks deadpanned, adding, "Now I hope you will also let me sing on radio." He went on to say it was an adjustment to work "without that skinny guy" and reassured that "we're still great friends."

Carrie Underwood closed the show, performing several of her tunes and introducing her new single, "Good Girl." "I wanted to play it for you first," she said before launching into the new tune. She called Brooks, Kelly, Evans and Owen back to perform the finale, a rousing version of "Good Lovin'." 
Kix Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Kristen Kelly, Sara Evans and Jake Owen
 perform on the Sony/BMG boat cruise. (Photo: Alan Poizner)

Black River Entertainment Live showcased Sarah Darling, Due West, Glen Templeton while Chelsea Bain and Jon Pardi showcased at some of the local honky tonks on lower Broadway near the CRS event. (see photo - party photo)

Bob Kingsley's Acoustic Alley featured songwriters Jeffrey Steele, Tom Douglas, Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip.
DAY THREE - Friday, Feb. 24, 2012:

Friday’s musical lineup featured a special performance from Faith Hill (photo link) at the noon Warner Music Nashville luncheon. It was Faith’s's first performance at CRS in more than a decade.  She performed a selection of hits including "Mississippi Girl," "The Way You Love Me", "This Kiss", "Breathe" and "Piece of My Heart." The singer also debuted two new songs, “600 Years" and "American Heart," from  her forthcoming as yet untitled CD."

The CRS 2012 New Faces closed out CRS 2012 on Friday night, performers were: Eli Young Band, Hunter Hayes (photo link), David Nail and Sunny Sweeney. (photo link)
Thompson Square were scheduled to perform but did not because of the death of Shawna Thompson's father.

Sunny Sweeney raised a glass to the crowd, and they raised theirs back on “Everybody Else Can Kiss My Ass,” which she
described as “for the workin’ man.” The honky-tonk vibe extended to “You Don’t Know Your Husband,” “From A Table Away” and
“Staying’s Worse Than Leaving.”
With everything that I am, I sincerely thank you,” David Nail said at the outset of his portion of the show. His new single
“Sound Of A Million Dreams” led into “Red Light.” Nail thanked the audience for “that one ... and this one” before playing “Let It
Rain.” He ended the night uptempo with “Grandpa’s Farm.

Watch the “New Faces” Slide show  

WATCH CRS 2012 Highlights >   YouTube

CRS 2013 takes place Feb. 27-March 1 at the Nashville Convention Center

For a photo gallery of 2012 events and panels, click here

SOURCES – aristoPR, www.crb.org , Billboard

1 comment:

  1. A night of stars. And also an awareness on what our people needs.

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