Tuesday 13 February 2018

Country Radio Seminar: CRS 2018 Report

CRS In Action: 
Opening Ceremonies & Dierks Bentley

Boasting higher attendance than at any point in the last 15 years, CRS 2018 opened with Arista’s Cam performing the national anthem. 

She was followed by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who first addressed the elephant in the room – recent breaking news of her affair with a security staffer – by admitting that the past week has resembled a country song. Barry’s speech was followed by Sarah Cannon’s Dee Anna Smith, who encouraged radio stations to join the organization’s Band Against Cancer initiative.

Mayor Megan Barry speaks onstage during CRS 2018 Day 1 
on February 5, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. Source: Rick Diamond/Getty Images North America)

Next, the 2018 Country Music Radio Hall of Fame inductees were named: the late Curtis/Raleigh VP/Programming and longstanding WQDR programmer Lisa McKay Blake; Albright & O’Malley & Brenner’s Michael O’Malley; Barrett, Fox & Berry’s Bill Barrett, Tim Fox and Tracy Berry; Andy & Alison’s Andy Ritchie and Alison Mencer; and Harmon & Evans’ Steve Harmon and Scott Evans. They will be inducted in June.
Singer-songwriter Cam performs
onstage during CRS 2018 Day 1
on Feb 5, 2018 in Nashville, TN.

Country Radio Hall of Famer and the Red Cross’ Dan Halyburton was the Tom River Award recipient for his work with
those devastated by recent natural disasters. “Never underestimate the power of the hug,” Halyburton said. Stealing the show was 15-year-old Jessica Meyer, who has been three years cancer free thanks to the Children’s Miracle Network. Meyer encouraged attendees to support the organization’s work helping children battle cancer in their hometowns.

Dierks Bentley was recognized with this year’s Artist Humanitarian Award. Last year’s honoree Zac Brown bestowed the honor via a pre-recorded message, calling it “well deserved.” Through his Miles & Music motorcycle ride, Bentley has raised more than $4 million for charity. He accepted the award by quoting Thomas Rhett’s “Star Of The Show,” joking it was more poetic than “5-1-5- 0,” and citing everyone on his team and in his family who are the genuine stars of his show. “I don’t view this as the end result, I view this as the beginning,” Bentley said.

Bentley On The Mountain
Humanitarian and Capitol recording artist Dierks Bentley examined the mountain with Country Aircheck’s Chuck Aly, as he took an in-depth look back at his career. The mountain metaphor became relevant to Bentley’s career when he noticed that artists who had been opening for him, began jumping him in terms of career. “First it was Sugarland, they were opening and then they surpassed me, then Lady Antebellum, then Luke Bryan,” he said. “It’s like I was on a mountain and I was almost at the top but everyone kept jumping me.”
Speaking of pivotal moments in his career, Bentley told the crowd that he and Luke Bryan have been “fired” from hosting the ACM Awards, after holding the post the last two years. “I don’t know if that’s public knowledge,” he said. “We’re out. I had so much fun doing it. The ACMs were great.” He also discussed how he learned not to take challenges in his career personally. “One of my hometown stations didn’t play ‘What Was I Thinkin’’ right out of the gate. Maybe it was a week or two after it went for adds and I was pretty confused. Bill Catino told me, ‘You’ll have to learn to hate them all equally.’ What he meant was that there is a lot going on and that if they don’t add your song right off the bat it isn’t a reflection of the song. There’s so much else going on that you don’t know.” Bentley went on to discuss the importance of live music, remembering a time when he went to see U2 in concert and in the middle of “Beautiful Day,” Bono threw in a few lines of “Drunk On A Plane” and gave the singer-songwriter one of the biggest thrills of his life.

CRS In Action: 
'Country Radio At Home With Smart Speakers'

CRS2018 Lifesize Amazon Echo!
“Science fiction of the past is coming true.” That was EDISON RESEARCH Pres. LARRY ROSIN framing the “Country Radio Is At Home With Smart Speakers” research presentation Tuesday (Jan 6) at Country Radio Seminar (CRS) 2018. Sharing data from its work with NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO (NPR) and findings from a sample of Country smart speaker users, ROSEN and EDISON VP Megan Lazovick walked attendees through findings that demonstrated the smart speaker explosion, ease of use, and daily applications.

Smart speakers are growing faster than smart phones did – 16% of AMERICANS, or 39 million people, currently own one. Additionally, more and more people (38%) have more than one device in the household, and once in the home, use increases, with 57% citing more use since first purchasing. Music consumption tops the list for wanting a smart speaker at 96%; general questions scored 80%, and news/information at 72%.

Video taken in homes of ALEXA users demonstrated how the device can promote in-home, group entertainment. LAZOVICK pointed out how families gathered around the device together, comparing it to in-home radio usage from years gone by. Also, said LAZOVICK, “Notice, no earbuds, with family members interacting verbally.” That activity appeared to match study findings, which showed 66% of ALEXA owners use it in their living rooms, with many taking it from one room to another to remain engaged.

As has been discussed many times, the potential for increased radio listening and increased listening at home is tremendous. Among Country users surveyed, said the study, “48% of Country fans who are smart speaker owners had listened to AM/FM radio on their speakers in the week before they were contacted -- outpacing the 43% of overall listeners who had used their smart speakers for broadcast radio -- and follows a tradition of Country listeners showing greater loyalty to radio in their digital behaviors.”

While broadcasters are increasing efforts to develop listener-friendly skills, EDISON also found only 25% of Country smart speaker users were aware of a local station offering them. In his concluding remarks, ROSIN acknowledged radio’s huge opportunity, but cautioned, “Don’t be complacent. On a Smart Speaker, you are competing on the ‘Infinite Dial’ where all audio is available. Listening to your station is highly unlikely to be the first thing a Smart Speaker user will seek out. It is up to you to remind them.” The entire study is already posted on EDISON’s website here.

CRS In Action: 
'Intentional Living' Featured Speaker
Country Radio Seminar (CRS) 2018’s first full day of sessions began with featured speaker Miles Adcox, CEO of ONSITE, an emotional wellness lifestyle brand targeted toward emotional growth.

ADCOX told attendees he isn’t a big fan of counselling and therapy, saying both are “terribly misbranded – it’s not what’s wrong with you, it’s what’s right with you." Improving one’s emotional smarts is the goal, said ADCOX, adding that music and entertainment pros are uniquely poised to understand that idea. As defined by ADCOX, emotional fitness is: “Power, understanding, strength, and empathy around your mood and feelings toward yourself and others.”

Dragging one’s work problems into their life, or their life problems into their work, isn’t a problem, said ADCOX. “It’s only bad when you don’t know about it.” ADCOX outlined a five-step process of change, explaining, “It’s not our job to push or pull people where we want them to go; it’s our job to join them.” ADCOX closed by encouraging attendees to “become more connected to who you are.” Discover more about ONSITE here.

CRS In Action: Facebook, Still Our Strongest Ally

Country Radio Seminar (CRS) presented the “FACEBOOK: Still Our Strongest Ally” panel moderated by Albright & O’malley & Brenner’s Becky Brenner Tuesday (Feb 6).
Panelists included FLYTEVU’s Jeremy Holley, Girlilla Marketing’s Ashley Alexander, Sun Broadcast Group’s Fitz, and Social Media Strategist Bryan Moore.

With the common misconception that FACEBOOK is becoming irrelevant, the panelists offered several tips and personal success stories, proving that the platform is anything but. “Out of all the platforms out there, FACEBOOK allows this two-way communication -- it’s true social media,” explained MOORE. The panelists shared that the main key to success is putting a lot of time, effort, and money into building your brand. Content is what drives your audience, so it’s worth the money to boost your posts in order to reach the most amount of people and gain maximum exposure. As FITZ explained, if you’re not investing time or money into the platform, you’re never going to be happy with the outcome, and HOLLEY added, “If you’re not willing to invest dollars, don’t be on FACEBOOK.”

The group also mentioned steps to create a plan for your brand that’s going to work: Know your goals and match content to your values; create a solid relationship with followers; and look at post impressions to see how your content is reacting with followers. As FITZ noted, “FACEBOOK is everything […] It’s no longer word of mouth, but world of mouth.”

CRS In Action: Workshop Offerings
This year, Country Radio Seminar (CRS) offered three interactive learning workshops geared toward improving or adding skill sets for radio personnel. The Tuesday, February 6th Interactive Learning Workshop #1 focused on voice coaching and was appropriately titled "Voice Coaching: Are They Hearing Your Voice?" The workshop included tips and tricks for on-air talent looking to up their game.

On Wednesday, February 7th, Interactive Learning Workshop #2 and Interactive Learning Workshop #3 included "Production For Radio People" and "Video Creation For Radio People," respectively. These workshops feature guided tutorials, tips, tricks, and shortcuts to help radio talent add new skills to their tool boxes.

Welcome To The Matrix: Stone Door Media Lab's Jeff Green, KKGO/Los Angeles' Michael Levine and UMG/Nashville's Katie Dean held court Wednesday (Feb 7) during CRS 2018's The Matrix Of The Metrics: How To Make Sense Of All This Data panel.
The discussion explored the factors programmers most use to determine adds and spin increases at radio, and the biggest data-based predictors of chart success. The most interesting part of the session may have revolved around Stone Door's "Matrix Of The Music," a seven-point, data-backed list of early predictors for chart success.
The top three were:
Big streams per spin in the second airplay chart week
Big Shazams per spin in second airplay chart week
Pandora's ranker (usually ahead of radio on projecting Top 10s)

Stone Door's research goes much further. For the new, unabridged 2018 Country Radio Seminar “Matrix of the Metrics” PowerPoint presentation, click HERE. (PDF File)

Where The Passion Pays Off 
'Cast Party: Wednesday’s Podcasting: Where The Passion Pays Off session explored the medium and how it gives radio the opportunity to engage listeners in a unique and personal way. According to Amplifi Media's Steve Goldstein, one in five Americans listened to a podcast in the last month.
The ability to explore outside interests and be more creative than traditional broadcasts can be enticing to personalities. For example, KIRO/Seattle's Rachel Belle hosts a podcast about what celebrities would eat for their last meal. She monetizes it with a sponsorship, as part of a larger package for her regular on-air show. Successful podcasts often offer original content, but iHeartMedia's Chris Peterson championed the on-demand version of radio shows as well. With so much time and energy put into creating the original broadcast show, he said it's no surprise the podcast downloads average an 80 to 90 percent completion rate.

Country Music Steaming Study: The Way Forward To Drive Consumption 
Stream Walkin': Magid's Andrew Hare led Wednesday’s (Feb 7) CMA's 2017 Country Music Steaming Study: The Way Forward To Drive Consumption panel.
Data were drawn from Americans 18-54 who listen to country music at least once a month and use at least one streaming service (free or paid). Overall, 70% of listeners who stream admitted they are still listening to radio as well.
Hare said radio streaming apps can find opportunities in offering better recommendations to music tastes, including more newly released music and more catalogue/gold songs, as well as including more in-app artist ads/promotion. In terms of bringing new listeners to radio streaming apps, Hare urged radio to spend its time educating listeners on how these services work, since 40% of non-streaming users admitted they didn't understand how to use the content.

CRS In Action: 
Brad Paisley: The Art And The Artist
"Guitars are very much like paintbrushes," shared Arista Nashville's Brad Paisley, who took the stage as the featured speaker in a program titled "BRAD PAISLEY: The Art And The Artist" to close out Country Radio Seminar (CRS) 2018. Moderated by SCRIPPS/WICHITA VP/GM Beverlee Brannigan and All Access Nashville Editor RJ CURTIS, the discussion revolved around how Paisley anticipates the future while honouring Country tradition, how he remains focused, how he explores new and creative ways to do things, and how he has managed to incorporate his love of drawing into his award-winning music career.

Paisley shared insight into his comedic roles as CMA AWARDS co-host with Carrie Underwood; in his partnership commercials with Nationwide Insurance alongside retired NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning; and in his NETFLIX comedy special, "Brad Paisley's Comedy Rodeo." He compared his roles in the first two, saying, "[Carrie and I] figured out our personalities, and that I'm the idiot, and she's the grounding force up there;" however, in the commercial spots with Manning, the roles are quite reversed. Of the origin of his comedic timing and aptitude for what Curtis called "being a smart ass," Paisley said, "It's definitely a defence mechanism. I had to learn the right time to be funny and when not to be funny."
In speaking about his passion for drawing, painting, and animation, Paisley noted that he doesn't feel like he utilizes more than one side of his brain, and that all of his creativity works together. "It's like Dungeons & Dragons without any rules, and I feel like some people just have an imagination like that." In his delivery and command of Wednesday’s (Feb 7) crowd, Paisley proved why the art and the artist are so clearly linked in everything he does.
New Faces Recap

New Faces of Country Music® Dinner and Performance
When: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 6:30 PM 10:00 PM
Sponsored by ACM & St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
*Performances powered by Live Nation
Appearing: Micheal Ray (Warner Music Nashville), Carly Pearce (BMLG), Lauren Alaina (UMG Nashville), Luke Combs (Columbia Nashville), and Midland (BMLG).

Big Machine’s Carly Pearce was “wined” by fellow artists in her intro video while CRS attendees dined at Wednesday’s (Feb 7) New Faces Of Country Music Show. Pearce kicked off the night with a set that included current single, “Hide The Wine” as well as her debut chart topper, “Every Little Thing.”

Embed from Getty Images

Carly Pearce performing at CRS2018 New Faces show
Dress: Haute Hippie Jewelry: The2Bandits + Carden Avenue Shoes: Dolce Vita | Styling: Amber Lehman& Kendy Lvalder

Up next was Atlantic/WEA’s Michael Ray with hits “Kiss You In The Morning” and “Think A Little Less,” plus a new song from his upcoming album, “Her World Or Mine.”

Big Machine’s Midland put their harmonies to good use on current single “Make A Little” and the trio’s debut No. 1, “Drinkin’ Problem.” “CRS changed our lives,” said the band’s Mark Wystrach, referring to their 2017 BMLG Luncheon performance.
“To come back one year later and be on the New Faces Show, after the year we’ve had, these are the kind of moments that
bring you back, full-circle. ... Thank you for believing in us.”

Opening her set at a piano with “Three,” Mercury’s Lauren Alaina packed a one-two punch with No.1s “What Ifs” (a solo effort that night, without duet partner Kane Brown) and “Road Less Traveled,” as well as new single “Doin’ Fine.”

River House/Columbia’s Luke Combs’ intro video revealed his red-bearded burly fans known as “Luke-Alikes” and even had
one pretend to start his set. Combs closed the night with current single “One Number Away” and his chart toppers, “When It Rains It Pours” and “Hurricane.”

Closing Time: New Faces Of Country Music Show performers and CRS/Country Aircheck Awards radio winners bring the 2018 event to a close Wednesday (2/7). Pictured (front, l-r) are Mercury’s Lauren Alaina, River House/Columbia’s Luke Combs, Big Machine’s Carly Pearce, Atlantic/WEA’s Michael Ray and WUSN/Chicago’s Marci Braun; (middle, l-r) Country Aircheck’s Lon Helton, WIVK/Knoxville’s Nikki Thomas, KNIX/Phoenix’s Lois Lewis, Midland’s Mark Wystrach and Jess Carson, WSIX/ Nashville’s Gator Harrison and Ryan McKiddy and KUAD/Ft. Collins, CO’s Brian Gary; (back, l-r) KRTY/San Jose’s Nate Deaton, KUAD/Ft. Collins, CO’s Justin Tyler, Midland’s Cameron Duddy, Country Aircheck’s Chuck Aly, WAMZ/Louisville’s Jay Cruze, KUZZ/Bakersfield’s Brent Michaels and Cumulus’ Charlie Cook.

New Faces show at Country Radio Seminar Slideshow at www.tennessean.com

BMLG Lunch

Big Machine Label Group Lunch and Performance
When: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 12:00 PM  1:50 PM
Line-Up: Sugarland Brett Young Drake White Trent Harmon Josh Philips Tyler Rich

Wednesday’s (Feb 7) event was a showcase of starsin-the-making bookended by performances from two of country’s biggest hitmakers: Thomas Rhett and Sugarland.

ACM Awards Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett surprised the room, opening the event with his emotive Top 10-and-surging “Marry Me.” The Valory Music Co. chart-topping singer/songwriter stretches his sound to new limits as his first two singles from LIFE CHANGES – PLATINUM-certified “Craving You” and GOLD “Unforgettable” – previously soared to No. 1. Thomas Rhett hits the road in April for his LIFE CHANGES TOUR 2018 and joins Kenny Chesney’s TRIP AROUND THE SUN TOUR this summer.

The reunited duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush proved still-relevant, reminding attendees of their successful track record by performing hits “Baby Girl,” “All I Wanna Do,” “Something More” and “Stuck Like Glue.” Then the reinvigorated Sugarland took it up a notch with the comeback anthem “Still The Same.”

Pictured (L-R): Back Row – Big Machine Records GM Jim Weatherson, BMLG EVP & BMLG Records President Jimmy Harnen, CRB Executive Director Bill Mayne, The Valory Music Co. GM George Briner, CRB Board President Kurt Johnson (Townsquare Media); Middle Row – Drake White, Tyler Rich, Trent Harmon, Brett Young; Front Row – Sugarland, BMLG President & CEO Scott Borchetta, Thomas Rhett | Photo Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images | Source: www.bigmachinelabelgroup.com

Serving as emcee, BMLG President Scott Borchetta recounted working with Sugarland on their first album during his days at their former label home, Mercury. He noted that three artists BMLG launched in the last year all scored No 1 hits, including Brett Young, Midland and Carly Pearce.
Young took the midday stage to perform “Like I Loved You,” “In Case You Didn’t Know” and “Sleep Without You.” He said, “I know how many superstars there are in the format, and how many hours there are in the day.
So thank you Country radio for taking a chance on me.”

Tyler Rich, Drake White and Trent Harmon also took turns in the spotlight. Rich’s acoustic set included “Adrenaline” and “The Difference.”

Named one of No Depression’s 7 Male Artists to Breakout in 2018, Drake White has established himself as the ultimate showman and lives up to his label as “Country music’s most anticipated new artist” (Forbes). Drake delivered stomp-worthy, organic Country jams with new BMLG Records’ song “All Would Be Right With The World” and “Girl In Pieces” as well as his Top 15 debut “Livin’ the Dream.”

Earning national recognition as the reigning American Idol, Trent Harmon demonstrated unparalleled vocals and impeccable lyricism throughout his set, launching into the stratospheric ballad “Her.” The humble entertainer shared challenging moments and immense songwriting over the last year before previewing his new single “You Got ‘Em All,” which received a standing ovation. He co-penned the Big Machine Records’ single that premiered on Variety and available digitally (Feb 8).

Country Aircheck's CRS 2018 Print Special Magazine View
Feb 6, 2018, Issue 2: Country Aircheck (PDF)
Feb 7, 2018, Issue 2: Magazine View
CRS Timeline Facebook Photos

CRS 2018 #flickr Country Music Tattle Tale https://flic.kr/s/aHskBF1NRe (212 Photos)
CRS 2018

About Country Radio Seminar: 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. Country Radio Seminar 2018 took place on Feb. 5-7, 2018 at the Omni Nashville.

CRS 2018 Wraps With Final Networking Tip Sheet
It has been one week since COUNTRY RADIO SEMINAR (CRS) 2018 concluded, and the CRS AGENDA COMMITTEE is leaving folks with one final installment of its CRS NETWORKING TIP SHEET. In this issue, learn how to follow up with those you met at CRS, how to turn a new contact into a business partnership, and how to use social media to elevate your networking relationships.
Check out the full slate of Post-CRS networking tips here.

#CRS2019 Country Radio Seminar 2019 will take place on February 13-15, 2019

CONNECT with Country Radio Seminar:
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