This year’s class of Country Radio Hall of Fame inductees are Blair Garner, Mike & Dana Schuff (pictured), and Lisa Dent in the On-Air category, and Mick Anselmo, Kerby Confer, Jack Reno, Tim Roberts and Jim Slone in the Radio category. Luke Bryan will be on-hand to recognize the inductees during the CRS 2016 opening ceremonies on Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. CT; providing an opportunity for the class of 2016 to be acknowledged during Country radio’s biggest week.
First teamed at KNFM in Odessa. Texas in 1989, Mike Lawrence and Dana Carole were already seasoned radio vets, having entered the business in 1973 and 1980, respectively. After a successful run at KNFM as a morning team, and Mike handling PD responsibilities, the pair was hired by crosstown KGEE in 1990, helping that station win the CMA Station of the year Award in 1993 and 1995. In 1996, Mike and Dana were honored as CMA Small market Personality of the Year winners. In 2001, they left KGEE to launch KHKX, where they enjoyed more success, garnering CMA Station of the Year nominations and in 2007, a win for ACM Small Market personality of the Year. In 2014, Mike and Dana retired, ending a 25-year on-air partnership, but continuing their 23-year marriage.
Currently host of the Nashville-based “America’s Morning Show, syndicated nationally on Cumulus Media Networks, Garner is a three-time National Radio Personality of the Year honoree from the Academy of Country Music. He got his first radio break in Canyon, Texas, a small town south of Amarillo at 17. Major market opportunities soon after in cities such as Dallas, Washington DC and – by the early ’90s – New York, where he was part of the lineup at perennial powerhouse WPLJ, followed. Following a stint at Top 40 giant KIIS in Los Angeles, Garner created – and for 20 years hosted – the nationally syndicated “After Midnite,” program. No stranger to the tag “Hall of Famer,” Garner was a 2013 inductee into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Co-host of the morning show at WUSN in Chicago since 2002, Dent began her radio career at WFAW Fort Atkinson, WI in 1981. She was quickly on to major market gigs, landing at KSON in San Diego in 1987 before additional successful stops at WBOB in Minneapolis, KYCW in Seattle and KIKK Houston before the jump to WUSN in 2002. Dent has also hosted nationally syndicated shows “Country Giants” for United Stations and “CMT Insider.” As half of the “Lisa Dent And Ramblin’ Ray (Stevens)” morning show on WUSN, she has been honored with the CMA Personality of the Year Award in 2005 and 2010. The show was also the 2015 ACM Personality of the Year honoree.
Most recently VP/Market Manager for CBS Radio Minneapolis, Anselmo retired in December, completing a career that included the launch of both Country radio powerhouses in Minneapolis: KMNB in 2011 and KEEY in 1982. Before joining CBS Radio in 2008, Anselmo spent more than two decades at Clear Channel’s (Now iHeartMedia) crosstown cluster, home to KEEY. During his time there, KEEY was honored with a “CMA Station Of The Year” award and was a consistent market leader, which it remains today. Anselmo is a 2013 inductee in the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Confer spent 58 years in the business, starting as an air personality at age 16. He became a station owner in 1975, eventually growing his portfolio to 250 stations; today he remains a partner in 70 stations. A 2003 inductee to the Pennsylvania radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Confer was a pioneer in branding radio stations with monikers such as “Kissn’” (KSSN Little Rock) and “The Beaver (WBVR Bowling Green). The concept grew, with his first Frog-branded station, WFRG in Utica, NY, an idea which spread to KFRG San Bernardino, CA and WFGY Altoona, PA, eventually spawning numerous Froggy stations, along with Bears, Bulls and others.
Reno began his 37-year radio career in the 50’s as an air personality at KCOG Centerville, IA, eventually becoming involved in music, programming and ultimately, the GM chair. Reno was awarded the CMA Personality of the year trophy in 1978. Included in his many radio stops were KCKN Kansas City; KLLL Lubbock, TX; WXCL Peoria, IL; WUBE Cincinnati and WSAI Cincinnati. Reno was also a songwriter, whose music was recorded by Eddie Arnold and Lee Roy Van Dyke. He retired from radio in 1990, and passed away from cancer in 2008.
Roberts has been OM for CBS Radio Detroit since 2005, leading WYCD to Station of the Year honors from the ACM, CMA and Marconi Awards. His career started in 1979 and has taken him to cities all over the US, including Cedar Rapids, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Spokane, and San Francisco. Prior to joining WYCD, Roberts was Cumulus Media Midwest reginal OM, and lead WQXK to CMA Station of the Year honors as well. Roberts has the distinction of having lead two legendary Country brands in Detroit as his resume includes WWWW in the Motor City from 1995-1998.
Slone’s career began at KRZE Farmington, NM in 1960, but by 1963, he was in Tucson, AZ where he would remain for the duration of his career. He purchased KCUB-AM there in 1972, then KIIM in 1983, launching it Country immediately. KIIM soon became the market leader both in ratings and billing, while garnering national recognition as well. Slone grew his station portfolio to El Paso and Lubbock and owned nine stations at one time. He was inducted to the Arizona Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2001. He sold Slone Broadcasting the same year, only to return to ownership in 2006, before retiring in 2009.
The class will be inducted at the Country Radio Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Awards ceremony, which will be scheduled for later this year. Information regarding the date, ticket prices and the event location will be available in the coming months.