Sunday, 31 March 2013

Country Radio Seminar (CRS) 2013

The Country Radio Seminar is an annual convention designed to educate and promote the exchange of ideas and business practices in the Country music industry, with specific emphasis on issues relevant to Country radio.
CRS 2013 was held during Feb. 27 – March 1, 2013, in downtown Nashville, Tenn., at the Nashville Convention Center.
You could follow CRS reporting on Twitter using the hashtag #CRS2013

(CLICK to Enlarge) CRS 2013 Montage -
Photos courtesy of Aristo PR
See Slideshow at  

 (Arista Press Release) The Country Radio Seminar 2013 kicked off on Wednesday, Feb. 27th.This year’s event includes more than 20 panels, exhibits and educational presentations, as well as featured speakers and panelists from all areas of the radio and records industry.
Known as the biggest Country radio event in the world, the seminar continues to grow with a cutting edge agenda, with a number of networking opportunities and performances from some of the biggest stars in the format.
This year’s attendees will notice a lot of changes,” said CRS Executive Director Bill Mayne. “Our goal has always been to provide a forum for industry professionals on both the educational and networking level. We feel we have accomplished this in many different ways.”
Throughout the seminar, an effort was made to help raise awareness about important health issues. CRS offered for the first time a free heart test! ...A variety of late night showcases and activities were also scheduled, including a 3-night poker tournament!
As in previous years, the CRS 2013 app provides attendees with an expanded CRS agenda, panel descriptions, speaker bios, live performances, CRS after-hour activities and Country Aircheck news.

This year’s Country Radio Seminar experienced a 3 percent increase in attendance, compared to CRS 2012. This is the fifth consecutive year the event experienced a growth in attendee numbers.

A total of 2,995 registrants attended this year’s event. The figure comprised of 2,276 full registrants (attendees, exhibitors, panelists and sponsors), and 719 participant registrants. Participant registrants are defined as attendees that register for individual CRS events or purchase single day passes only.
Bill Mayne, stated, “The industry has been very positive about this year’s Country Radio Seminar. With the introduction of new and additional special events this year, there was a new enthusiasm surrounding the event. We have already put on our thinking caps for CRS 2014.”
CRS President Mike Culotta added, “We felt that there was a new vitality to the event with the addition of the Grand Ole Opry at CRS and The Cleveland Clinic Heart Labs Inflammation Testing. In addition, this year’s agenda offered so much for so many to enjoy.” 
CRS 2014 will be held on February 18 – 22, 2014 in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Registration for next years Seminar will open July 1st, 2013 (Source - Arista PR Press )

To Party, Or Not To Party: What’s Your CRS Agenda?
For more than 40 years, the event has provided a unique opportunity for radio people to share ideas, network and take in a bunch of label showcases. And by March 8, many of this year’s attendees will likely view CRS through its alternate, underground meaning: Can’t Remember Shit.
The agenda committee begins its rather thankless task every year just weeks after the previous CRS ends. The process folds in people from several segments of the industry—each with their own specific agendas—and months later, the 2,000 or so visitors make on-the-fly decisions about their individual agendas:
DoI want to learn something? Do I want to party? Can I do both?
A lot of the people who say it sucks just use it as an excuse to sleep in ’til 4,” says KTHK Idaho Falls, Idaho, PD/morning personality Dale Desmond, a member of the agenda committee. “My favorite part is in April or July, and I’m on the road,and somebody’s bitching about the state of the industry,” adds Curb promotion executive Annie Sandor, who chairs the committee. “They go, ‘You know, I just don’t understand “blank.”’ And I just want to wrap my my hand around their neck and go, ‘If you would’ve gone to the panel, you would have known.’”
“The good news is,” she continues, “most people say, ‘You’re right. I should’ve gone. I’m going to go [to the panels] next year.’ But then somebody throws a really great party the night before and they don’t show up.” (Extract: Billboard Update Feb 25, 2013)

Agenda highlights for CRS 2013 were:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013:
Capitol Record’s Little Big Town kicked off the seminar with a performance of the national anthem at the opening ceremonies, followed by the keynote address, delivered by Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications Corporation.
Presentation of the Artist and Radio Humanitarian Awards followed the keynote address. Big & Rich were this year’s Artist Humanitarian Award recipient.

Big & Rich Receive CRS Artist Humanitarian Award

Big & Rich’s charitable endeavors date back more than a decade. Their humanitarian efforts have ranged from visiting individual patients in hospitals, to staging benefit concerts for the Country Music Hall of Fame and the 173rd Airborne Memorial, to their well-documented U.S. and international outreach. The duo has made a point throughout their career to help underprivileged children and families in struggling countries like Uganda, Sudan, Haiti and Kenya, among others.
The only way to do this is by having a great career; thanks to everyone in this room for that,” said John Rich of being recognized. Upon receiving the award, Big Kenny Alphin also noted, “I am blessed and I am humbled. I am thankful that I have been able to help in some small ways. Every little act of kindness everyone does, makes our world another step closer to a brighter tomorrow we’re thankful to our great creator and all that are here today.”

In Nashville for the Country Radio Seminar, Little General Records recording trio Taylor Made attended MusicRow Magazine's Country Breakout Awards at Margaritaville on Tuesday, February 26th to accept their award for Independent Artist of the Year. 
Among the other award recipients - Dierks Bentley for Male Artist of the Year, Miranda Lambert for Female Artist of the Year, Zac Brown Band for Group/Duo of the Year, Kip Moore for Breakout Artist of the Year, Capitol Records Nashville for Label of the Year, and Paul Ciliberto for Reporter of the Year.
The Independent Artist of the Year award is based on the greatest amount of overall spins on the MusicRow chart in 2012, as well as a number of other factors including label size, distribution model, and promotion staff. Taylor Made's team is comprised of Dan Mitchell (producer), Tom McBee & Associates (radio promotions), Regina Raleigh (radio promotions), Elise Anderson (publicist, Nashville Music Media), and Jason Mitchell (social networking, Nocturnal Music Group). (Source -Nashville Music Media)

The Country Radio Hall of Fame Dinner and Awards Ceremony
(Arista Press) This event unofficially kicked off the seminar. The 2013 inductees were:
Gaylon Christie as the Radio category inductee
Dr. Don Carpenter, Crook & Chase, Eddie Edwards and Bill “Dex” Poindexter are the On-Air category inductees.
Bob Romeo, Academy of Country Music CEO, received the CRS President’s Award
George Strait received the CRB Career Achievement Award. The official Hall of Fame After Party, featured Katie Armiger and Craig Campbell and took place after the awards ceremony in the Renaissance Hotel Music City Ballroom.
Tim McGraw helped induct Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase into the Country Radio Hall of Fame on Feb. 26.

From left are Crook, McGraw and Chase.

Country Radio Is Central To CMA’s Mission of Advancing the Format
Extract: CMA was created in 1958 to support Country radio and that mission is just as important today as CMA presented a compelling consumer research panel during CRS 2013, the annual gathering of Country radio professionals from across the country.
The Country Music Association was created in response to Country radio stations flipping formats due to the skyrocketing popularity of Elvis Presley. The founding members of CMA recognized that to stem the rising rock tide, every segment of the industry would have to work together on ideas and solutions that would propel the format forward. To this day, CMA represents every facet of the industry with a large constituency group from radio...Read the full article at

Big Machine & CMT’s Country Radio Seminar Kick-Off Party
Big Machine Label Group and CMT Radio hosted their annual joint party Tuesday night (Feb 26, 2013) at Nashville’s Third and Lindsley Avenue. The event, which featured performances by The Band Perry, Cassadee Pope, RaeLynn, Thomas Rhett, Justin Moore, Tim McGraw and a surprise set by Rascal Flatts and kicked off the Country Radio Seminar which ran from (Feb. 27 through March 1.
The Big Machine Group Line Up

Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta welcomed guests to the party and then turned the reigns over to CMT Radio’s Cody Alan who hosted the event. Some 500 VIPs attended the private soiree where a slew of music execs were seen bobbing their heads and tapping their cowboy boots, including: Republic Nashville label president and Big Machine EVP Jimmy Harnen; BMLG COO Andrew Kautz; Jack Purcell, SVP Big Machine Records; MTV Networks COO music group Alex Ferrari; CMT's SVP of music strategy Leslie Fram and CMT's SVP of music events and talent John Hamlin.
Here too were a gaggle of managers representing some of the biggest names in country music, including: Frank Bell, 13 Management (Taylor Swift);  Jake LaGrone, Spalding Entertainment (Rascal Flatts); Susan Banks, Redlight Management (Tim McGraw); Tina Kennedy, Azoff Music (Cassadee Pope); and Seth England, Big Loud Shirt (Florida Georgia Line).

Also in the house were a number of celebrities who perhaps against their better instincts did not take the stage, including: Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelly from Florida Georgia Line (whose song "Cruise" is constantly in our head); Charles Esten and Robert Wisdom (a.k.a. Deacon and Coleman from ABC’s "Nashville” ); Republic Nashville artist Greg Bates; and Ashley Eicher, AXS TV reporter.
Considering its Country Radio Seminar time, it should surprise no one that on this night you couldn't throw a smartphone without hitting a country radio exec; but the geographical diversity represented was certainly impressive. Representing country radio from most ever corner of the U.S.A , were: KAJA-FM/San Antonio's Travis Moon, KNCI/Sacramento's Byron Kennedy, WXTU/Philadelphia's Shelly Easton, WSSL & WESC/Greenville, SC and WTQR/Greensboro, NC's Bruce Logan, KMLE/Phoenix's Jeff Garrison, WYCD & WOMC/Detroit's Tim Roberts, WKLB/Boston's Mike Brophey, KWJJ-FM/Portland, OR's Mike Moore and KKBQ/Houston's Johnny Chiang among many others.
Other notable VIPs included, Katie Buchanan, SVP Programming Strategy (CMT); Lisa Silfen, SVP Program Enterprise (MTV Networks); Cheryl Welch, Brand Manager at General Mills/Outnumber Hunger;  Lou Raiolo, President of WarpSpeed Inc.; and Kurt Johnson, Townsquare Media VP of programming  (Source and Photos - Billboard Backbeat Story)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013:

CRS Study Event: Can Radio Capture Country Music's Unique, Emotional Connection with Listeners?
Country music listeners connect deeply and emotionally with the songs they hear on country radio, but these listeners don’t always connect as deeply and emotionally with the radio stations that play them. This disconnect is one of the highlights of a new study that used video and lengthy, in-depth in-home interviews to capture country music listeners’ feelings about music and radio.
The study also found that country listeners still depend on radio for their music in the car, but at work and at home, they get their music from the devices at hand; phones, computers, and at times, through the TV.
Most people follow the path of least resistance to media,” Larry Rosin, co-founder and President of Edison Research. “Only we can screw that up; we have to make sure we work on devices people already own.” Read more + Photo at

Broadcasters’ Future Lies In Old Idea

The tears were palpable.
Several women during an Edison Research presentation at the Country Radio Seminar got glassy-eyed as they talked about how the songs they heard on their country radio station united them with their family members.
Another woman, coping with a divorce she didn’t want, broke down completely as she discussed the music’s emotional content.
Country radio is “part of my healing process,” she told the interviewer. The songs, she explained, help “you realize you’re not the only one.”
Attendees repeatedly heard during the convention Feb. 27—March 1 in Nashville that as old-fashioned as it might seem, the simple act of making a connection with listeners amid a glut of competing media is where the future of country radio lies. The good news: Country already does this well.
The bad news: Country is connecting so well that the format risks losing its focus and undoing some of its progress
Country is no longer turned down,” said one 50-year-old respondent, conceding the genre was once cause for embarrassment. “Now it’s turned up.”

Country radio supporters are indeed listening—in their cars, on mobile devices, at work and at home—to 1,747 country stations in the United States, according to Arbitron data provided during one panel. The format has a 14.2% share of the 12-plus audience, making it the No. 1 music format. And in the past two years, the format has increased its 18- to 34-year-old listenership by more than one-third.
The format has periodically seen that kind of rise among youth, though Edison Research VP of music and programming Sean
Ross said this marks the first time that country had an up cycle at the same time as top 40. Traditionally considered an adult format, country now ranks No. 2 with teens, Ross added, a development he called “mind-boggling.”
In total, the country audience represents 85 million Americans, Cumulus chairman/CEO Lew Dickey said, indicating they’re particularly desirable to advertisers.
“They have jobs,” he said, “and they pay their bills.”
But the expanded audience puts country at a crossroads. It’s tempting to focus on the ballooning 18-34 demographic, which has responded to a variety of attractions, such as the edgy sounds of Jason Aldean and Eric Church, the lyrical sensitivities of Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift,and the relatable youth of Hunter Hayes and Scotty McCreery. Those artists have succeeded thus far without creating any significant erosion in older demos.
In fact, the more traditionally minded sounds of George Strait and Brad Paisley are still finding their way into country playlists, but if music and themes that appeal to older-demo listeners get tossed aside, the most reliable part of country’s central audience could reduce its listening significantly.  (Extract from Billboard Biz)

The Team UMG at the Ryman”Luncheon
This featured a massive roster from the Universal Music Group roster. Artists who performed included Billy Currington, Brothers Osborne, Chris Stapleton, Darius Rucker, David Nail, Dierks Bentley, Drake White, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Josh Turner, Kacey Musgraves, Kelleigh Bannen, Lady Antebellum, Lauren Alaina, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Mickey Guyton, Randy Montana, Scotty McCreery and Vince Gill.
This year UMG and Capitol combined their rosters with performances by 21 artists for the annual UMG Luncheon at CRS.
Lady Antebellum opened the show with their current single “Downtown” and before the trio exited the stage, Risser presented Hillary Scott with a “Baby Antebellum” onesie.
(Click to Enlarge)  CRS 2013-UMG Lunch-Group Shot

Newcomer Drake White previewed his debut single “Simple Life” while Eric Paslay performed a new ballad “She Don’t Love You,” from his upcoming debut album. Kacey Musgraves, Brothers Osborne, Kelleigh Bannen and Chris Stapleton were among the other new artists. Newcomer, Mickey Guyton earned a standing ovation for her performance of “Better Than You Left Me.
Little Big Town performed their new single “Your Side of the Bed.”  They sounded amazing as usual, and they earned a standing ovation from the crowd.
Luke Bryan performed a new song with Chris Stapleton and Josh Turner performed,”Deeper Than My Love,” a song Stapleton wrote.
Fresh from the studio, Dierks Bentley performed a funny tune titled “Drunk on a Plane.” He admitted he’s not sure if it would make it on his next album, but wanted to perform it anyway.
Among the other artists to take the Ryman stage were Scotty McCreery, Randy Montana, David Nail, Darius Rucker and Lauren Alaina.
David Nail surprised everyone by performing an uplifting tune, joking that he was on enough medication now to make him feel that way.
Although last year Vince Gill was thought to be leaving Universal, Vince appeared on stage to explain he’s back and working on new music with the label.
Gill dedicated his performance of “Go Rest High on That Mountain” to the late Mindy McCready saying he didn’t know her well but “she was part of our family, part of the history of country music and that mattered.”
George Strait topped off the show with a three-song set.

Taylor Swift Upgrades Country Radio Seminar Cupcakes
Taylor Swift has made it an annual tradition to have exclusive gourmet cupcakes delivered to Country Radio Seminar attendee's hotel rooms on the second evening of the industry meeting.
CRS 2013-Taylor Swift-Swag Bag

This year; she upgraded to red-velvet cupcakes with white frosting and candies on top blaring the word "Red," the name of her new album and tour, and for the first time this year, she thanked radio for its support with a Red swag-bag.
Programmers, who are bombarded with record company goodies promoting their artists, will likely take the Taylor Swift iPhone case, notebook, guitar picks, and sound amplifier home to daughters and other Taylor super fans.
The Taylor Swift baseball cap? That could come in handy on a bad hair day. (Source

Lady Antebellum Plays Intimate Show for the Industry
What better time to spotlight country music’s hottest acts than when you have more than 2,000 radio professionals in town? That was the case last night in Nashville, with a long line of options for those in town for the Country Radio Seminar.
Some chose the Sony General Jackson Cruise. Some decided to go to the Average Joe’s party last night, while many found their way to the downtown location of Puckett’s Grocery for a special evening of music with Capitol Nashville’s Lady Antebellum.
CRS 2013 Lady Antebellum
Live-Puckett's Grocery

The CMA winners mingled with those in attendance before taking to the stage to perform a few of their past hits such as “Run To You” and their crossover hit “Need You Now,” but the bulk of their nine-song set consisted of new material -- as the trio gave those in attendance a sneak peek at their upcoming record Golden.
They performed five cuts from the disc (slated for a May 7 release). The material ranged from the uptempo sounds of “Get To Me” to the moody feel of songs like “Goodbye Town” and “It Ain’t Pretty.” The latter two could very well find their ways onto radio station playlists. Several of the songwriters from the album also took to the stage to share the stories behind the songs, such as labelmate Eric Paslay, Josh Kear, and Luke Laird. The group closed out the set with the album’s first single, the infectious “Downtown,” which is currently at No. 9 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
Seen in the crowd were several UMG staffers, such as Rachel Dobson, Bobby Young, and label head Mike Dungan, in addition to radio and television personality Becca Walls, Sirius -- XM director of country programming John Marks, and Gaylord Entertainment’s Steve Buchanan. (Source Photos and report

Grand Ole Opry at CRS 2013
In the 87-year history of the Grand Ole Opry, the show has only gone on the road on a few occasions, with Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center being among the exceptions for the historic WSM-AM radio show, which broadcasts every Friday and Saturday night from Nashville.
Wednesday night (Feb 27, 2013), the show made history once again. The Opry brought its legendary pedigree to the Country Radio Seminar with a two-hour show that helped to end day one of the event, taking place in Nashville. 
CRS 2013-UMG Grand Ole Opry Line Up

WSM morning co-host Bill Cody brought the show to order with an introduction of Opry member Vince Gill, who hosted the evening’s festivities. Gill opened up with his 1992 hit “Take Your Memory With You,” and kept the evening moving along with his supreme musicianship, wit and humor.
Other performers on the show included Capitol Nashville’s Little Big Town, who inspired a sing-a-long with the audience on their CMA Single of the Year “Pontoon,” Greg Bates, who performed his breakthrough hit “Did It For The Girl,” recent Opry inductee Darius Rucker, Josh Turner, Scotty McCreery, Dustin Lynch, and Kacey Musgraves. There were a few special guests, with Pistol Annies member Ashley Monroe making an appearance singing the title track with Gill who produced her album LIKE A ROSE, which hits the streets Tuesday March 7th, and “Nashville” stars Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio who came on to sing a hit from the show, “When The Right One Comes Along”. Arista Nashville superstar Brad Paisley closed out the show. (Source - Chuck Dauphin

In the middle of a busy CRS Week, ASCAP caught up with Brad Paisley at the Nashville Convention Center to congratulate him on his 21st No. 1 as an artist and 18th as a songwriter, “Southern Comfort Zone.” 
Pictured (L-R): ASCAP’s Michael Martin; co-writers
Kelley Lovelace, Brad Paisley & Sea Gayle Music’s
Chris DuBois; ASCAP’s Mike Sistad

Longtime Paisley co-writers Chris DuBois and Kelley Lovelace, as well as publishers Sea Gayle Music and EMI Music Publishing, were also congratulated at the whirlwind celebration, which took place before Paisley hit the stage at the Grand Ole Opry at CRS on Feb. 27. “Southern Comfort Zone” reached the top of the charts (Mediabase) in February and is the first single from Paisley’s upcoming eighth studio album, Wheelhouse, set to be released on April 9.

WCRS Live!
The Nashville Songwriters Association International has a motto: “It All Begins With A Song.” That bond between writer and song was celebrated Wednesday afternoon (Feb 27th) at the Country Radio Seminar with the annual WCRS Live! Sponsored in part by BMI, the hour-long panel featured Valory Music Group recording artist Thomas Rhett as well as former BNA recording duo the Warren Brothers, who have become two of Nashville’s top songwriters in the past few years
It was a back-and-forth guitar pull in terms of music and jokes for the entire hour between the two; Rhett started the music with “1994,” which is the latest single for Broken Bow recording artist Jason Aldean. Rhett persuaded the audience to sing along with the chorus, which name checks 1990s’ hit maker Joe Diffie several times. The song also features the titles of many Diffie standards as well. Other Rhett performances included the romantic “Star Of My Show,” which could very well be a future single, his radio hits “Beer With Jesus” and “Something To Do With My Hands,” and the infectious “Parking Lot Party,” which he announced would be the next single from Lee Brice.
WCRS Live!

Though the Warren Brothers’ biggest hit as an artist, 2000’s “Move On,” only reached #17 on the Billboard Country Singles chart, they have definitely enjoyed undeniable success as songwriters.
They started off with “Felt Good On My Lips,” a 2010 number one from Tim McGraw, and also played quite a few other songs that the radio programmers had made hits, including the Toby Keith monster hit “Red Solo Cup.”
They also performed another song they had written for McGraw, his latest single “Highway Don’t Care,” a duet with Taylor Swift. All along the highway, their humor was very much apparent.
The two mimicked the “Joe Diffie” line from 1994, saying it was really “Joe Galante,” referring to their label head at BNA.
The WCRS hour was over way two fast, with the final song being “Front Porch Junkies,” a song that all three writers penned together. It was a fascinating and inspirational reminder that in Nashville, the song always comes first.
(Source - Chuck Dauphin

Thursday, February 28, 2013:
Thursday’s panel highlights included Matt Sunshine’s “Brainstorming and Marketing Strategy Model,” “Special PPM Reporting on the Country Radio Audience,” “Tips and Tricks From Other Formats,” A CMA Marketing Break Out Panel and “Younger Country – Is 18-34 the new 25-54.” In addition, the highly anticipated “Country Comes To New York” panel, featured Cumulus CEO, Lew Dickey.

MCA’s Gary Allan headlined the Capitol and MCA Records Luncheon and Capitol’s Jon Pardi was set to open.

More performances continued that afternoon as Love and Theft, JT Harding and Jonathan Singleton appeared in the lineup for the KCRS Live! Showcase.

For the second consecutive year, “Bob Kingsley’s Acoustic Alley” returned with an all-star lineup of hit songwriters. Rhett Atkins, Tom Douglas, Marv Green, Ben Hayslip, Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, Wendell Mobley, Jeff Stevens and several surprise guests were set to perform at the event, which was presented by Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 and co-sponsored by SunTrust Bank.

Hunter Hayes, six-time Academy of Country Music Award nominee for “Song of the Year” (Artist and Composer), “Single Record of the Year” (Artist and Producer) and “Video of the Year,” performed at aVenue in Nashville, Tenn. at Country Radio Seminar. Hunter was electric, bringing fans to their feet as they rushed the stage in the already packed room to sing along with his Top 5 hit, “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” and a performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” that brought the house down.

Cumulus' Lew Dickey Explains Why NYC's New NASH-FM 'Is Good for Nashville' at CRS
Extract: New York’s new Cumulus-owned station, Nash FM, is far more than a local radio signal now capitalizing on the popularity of hot, youth-leaning country music.
Radio stations across the U.S. will have opportunities to affiliate with Nash as Cumulus builds its new brand into the Nash Network. In markets with two or more competing country stations, either you’re in and “Powered by Nash,” or you’re out.

In a question and answer session Thursday at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Lew Dickey, Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus,told the industry that “Nash is good for Nashville.”  He called Nash theumbrella brand for all of our country products.”
He called the Nash brand “hip, fun, cool, and accessible for listeners and advertisers.”.....
Read the full report by Jessica Ettinger Gottesman at

Friday March 1, 2013:
Cumulus Radio Medical correspondent and Emmy® award-winning CNN chief correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was Friday’s featured speaker. Gupta addressed attendees in an effort to help raise awareness about important health issues.
Panels scheduled for that day include Paul Jankowski’s “Branding For Sales,” Valerie Geller’s “Secret Of Developing Talent,” “An Analysis of Radio’s Digital Competition,” “Do Record Promotion Dollars Make Sense,” and “Accelerating Success For New Artists.”

The Black River Entertainment Luncheon
The Black River Entertainment Luncheon showcased several Blake River acts and featured Sarah Darling, Craig Morgan, and Kellie Pickler and CRS attendees enjoyed performances by the three.
Black River’s CEO Gordon Kerr welcomed guests at the showcase that included both new material and hit songs from the label’s roster.
CRS 2013-Black River Entertainment-
Kellie Pickler , Craig Morgan and Sarah Darling
Sarah Darling kicked off the show with “Hey Monday,” followed by “Soldier’s Girl.” She also performed the current single “Home To Me,” recently featured on an episode of ABC’s The Bachelor and from her EP released in January. She shared her enthusiasm with the audience from working with acclaimed producer Dann Huff on the project.
On the side stage, Black River Publishing’s Josh Osborne and Forest Glen Whitehead performed several tunes “in the round” including Kenny Chesney’s No. 1 hit “Come Over” and Greg Bates’ current single “Fill In The Blank,” both co-penned by Osborne, which the audience really enjoyed.

A video of Kellie Pickler was shown to the crowd revealing a touching story about her father who, although incarcerated at the time, gave her a small radio as a birthday gift she treasured as a child. Pickler took the stage and performed new material including “Tough All Over,” a power ballad that oozed classic Country. Pickler expressed her excitement for finding a new home at Black River and closed with an up-tempo and full-on-attitude ditty called  “Ring For Sale.” The audience was with her every step of the way.

Craig Morgan delivered a medley of hits including, “International Harvester,” “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” “Redneck Yacht Club,” “Bonfire” and “This Ole Boy.” It was a good reminder of Morgan’s many hits and we enjoyed going down memory lane with him. With the engaged audience in hand, he performed his current single “More Trucks Than Cars” then asked the audience if he could try out a new song, “I Wake Up Loving You” showing his full range of vocal ability (Source -

Radio Pros and Attendees Attempt to Pick Some Hits
Extract: Perhaps more than ever, it’s harder to find a consensus on what a hit song may be in country radio. “That’s because there are just so many good songs out there,” said Becky Brenner, with Albright & O’Malley & Brenner consulting.
During a panel discussion Friday billed as a “real life music meeting” at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, panelists and audience members listened to, and rated, ten new country singles. The goal was to choose which two you would add to your radio station’s playlist, and audience members got to join the discussion and play along to see how their choices stacked up with the panelists’.... Read the full report by Jessica Ettinger Gottesman at

Do Dollars for Record Promotions Make Sense?
Extract: If a record company spends $75,000 to bring an A-level artist to a city to perform a full-band show for a radio station event, is there a way for that label to recoup that cost? “It's not about money,” some will say, “it's about value."
Label executives made a plea to programmers to come up with new, creative ways for artist performances to make more financial sense at a panel discussion Friday (March 1, 2013) at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. As a course of business, radio stations nation-wide regularly request that artists come to perform at a wide-range of station events, and labels are feeling the pinch. “The record industry has been in big trouble for the last decade,” said Chris Stacey, Senior Vice President of Promotion at Warner Music Nashville.We need to educate radio to learn what goes into the cost of what we do,” he added. “When you make the ‘ask,’ think about what your radio station can bring to add value.” ..Read the full report by Jessica Ettinger Gottesman at

New Faces Show and Awards
This year’s class of New Faces were Easton Corbin, Florida Georgia Line, Brantley Gilbert, Jana Kramer and Kip Moore.
The New Faces Show of Country Music show was a sell out. A closed circuit viewing room was added to accommodate the overflow crowd for the show, sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Academy of Country Music.
The night also had a surprise guest. Taylor Swift dropped in and took the stage to lend her support to label mates Florida Georgia Line. She announced earlier in the week that the duo will open select dates on her RED Tour which kicks off March 13.
CRS 2013 New Faces Showcase

Corbin told Billboard that being voted onto the New Faces lineup was a great feeling. "It's confirmation from radio that they believe in what you're doing, and it's an honor. Without them, we couldn't do it, so for those guys to believe in us and our music, it's a true confidence builder."
Though he is the first to admit that meeting radio programmers brings about many opportunities from a professional level, he has also developed personal friendships with many who play his music. "I think that's the most important thing along with the music is working is the relationships. Because, that's something that's long lasting."
Corbin has fond memories of the first time he heard one of his songs on the airwaves. "We were in the Gainesville area playing a show for the local station. It was my local station, WOGK, also known as K-Country. I got out of the venue, got in the truck, and 'A Little More Country Than That' was playing. It was one of those things that is very surreal when it happens. You think 'Hopefully they will play it, but it still doesn't happen until it does."

CRS 2013 Country Aircheck Awards
These were handed out to professionals in the industry.
The "Station Of The Year" winners were CBS Radio WUSN/Chicago (major market), Clear Channel KAJA/San Antonio (large market), Clear Channel WAMZ/Louisville (medium market), and Clear Channel WUSY/Chattanooga (small market)....Industry awards for 2013 went to BIG MACHINE for "Platinum Label" and Broken Bow Records for "Gold Label."
For the full 2013 Winners listing - Aristo PR Press
Congrats to all of this year's CRS Country Aircheck Award Winners !

Sony Music Nashville’s 27th Annual Cruise
The General Jackson river boat was rockin’ as Brad Paisley welcomed surprise guests REO Speedwagon on Sony Music Nashville’s 27th Annual Cruise. Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies, Chris Young and "X Factor" winner Tate Stevens [who was introduced via video by "The X Factor’s" Simon Cowell] were among the artists who performed for radio programmers, execs and media gathered for Sony’s big Country Radio Seminar showcase.
L-R: Ashley Monroe, Pistol Annies; Kelly Clarkson;
Angaleena Presley, Pistol Annies; Miranda Lambert
“The special thing about the boat show is the way the artists have the opportunity to connect with country radio,” Grand Ole Opry GM/VP Pete Fisher told “They don’t get a lot of opportunities to really acknowledge how important they are in helping them fulfill their dreams.”
Sara Evans, Love and Theft, Casey James, Tyler Farr and Joanna Smith were among the artists schmoozing with the predominantly radio crowd as the General Jackson cruised the Cumberland River. Young could be seen chatting with programmers and hoisting his glass for a toast as he worked the crowd right up until show time. When his turn came to take the stage, Young performed his current single, “I Can Take it From There” and “All Y’all,” which is among the new tunes he’s been working on for his next album............Before the music started, Sara Evans helped hand out Radio Ink’s annual awards to programmers then the evening’s emcee, Sony Music Nashville chairman/CEO Gary Overton welcomed Miranda Lambert as the first performer. She opened with a high-energy performance of “Mama’s Broken Heart” before welcoming her husband, Warner Music artist Blake Shelton, to join her in singing “Over You.” The couple penned the hit single, which won the Country Music Association’s song of the year honor last November. Lambert then welcomed her fellow Pistol Annies Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley to the stage to perform “Hell on Heels” and “Hush, Hush,” a number from their upcoming album.

The evening was filled with stellar performances. Jerrod Niemann delivered his current single “Only God Could Love You More” then had the audience singing along to his No. 1 hit “Lover, Lover.”  Kelly Clarkson wowed the crowd with her new single, “Don’t Rush,” and was joined by Jason Sellers who sang Vince Gill’s part. “He was amazing singing the demo,” Clarkson said. “I was like, ‘Holy crap! Who is that?” Clarkson welcomed the Pistol Annies back to the stage to sing back up on a new tune “Ain’t Gonna Like This.
Brad Paisley treated the crowd to two new tunes from his April 9 album, Wheelhouse. The clever “Harvey Bodine” had the crowd roaring in laughter and the new single, “Beat This Summer,” had folks swaying along to the catchy melody Read the full report/photos by Deborah Evans-Price at
Sony Music Nashville "Boat Show" photo gallery at The

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