(By Mike McVay) A welcome sight takes place in Nashville this Wednesday-Friday as the Country Radio Seminar (CRS) begins in Nashville, in-person this year, after being presented virtually in 2021. The seminar, organized and presented by the non-profit Country Radio Broadcasters organization, is taking precautions and will be asking all in-person attendees to show proof of vaccination, while also offering daily rapid Covid testing. Socially distancing and masking is a part of the planned safety steps.
CRS is unlike any other conference you’ll ever attend. I remember attending my first CRS and being amazed at how an entire conference was put together for one format with a common cause to further the growth of the radio stations that play country music and the labels whose business advances from that growth. Labels and radio working in tandem discussing the advancement of the country music as a genre, that of country artists in regard to their releases, touring and brand building. The urban format is the only other format that has the same community that benefits the format fully.
This year’s CRS brings the leaders of Radio, and the leaders of Records, close to the attendees by featuring a series titled “Heads of State” at which I am honored to participate as one of the hosts. I’ll be interviewing Bill Wilson, CEO of Townsquare Media, Caroline Beasley CEO of Beasley Broadcasting, UMG Nashville CEO Mike Dungan and Warner Nashville Chairman/CEO John Esposito.
Additional interviews feature Joel Denver of All Access interviewing iHeart Media CEO Bob Pittman. Lon Helton of Country Aircheck interviewing Alpha Media President/CEO Bob Proffitt and Jon Loba, President BBR Music Group/BMG Nashville. Erica Farber, the President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau is interviewing Ginny Morris Chair and CEO of Hubbard Radio and Scott Borchetta, Founder and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group. Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association will interview Randy Goodman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Nashville and David Field Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Audacy.
A chance to recognize the format’s best as Radio Ink will once again present the 2022 Class of Top Country Program Directors at the front of Bob Kingsley’s Acoustic Alley, to be hosted by Fitz of “Country Top 40.” This year’s performers include songwriters Rhett Akins, Kassi Ashton, Barry Dean, Emily Landis, Luke Laird, Victoria Shaw, Allison Veltz, and Parker Welling.
This year’s CRS Research Study was conducted, and will be presented by, Nuvoodoo. This year’s study will show how radio is viewed in light of the competitive world we’re now living in, which includes DSP’s, Podcasting and entertainment overall. You’ll learn the behaviors, trends and tastes of country music consumers spanning multiple generations. Personally, I’ve always found this session to be one of the most valuable of not the most valuable session.
If you’re planning to attend CRS in-person, come prepared to learn, network, be entertained, visit the sponsor booths and participate. Given that there are 22 sessions, 6 Heads of States interviews featuring 11 leaders of industry, 8 live performance programs with multiple artists, a superstar interview with Blake Shelton, The New Faces Show and CRS After Hours … which is every night … you need to be well rested. Don’t go for the party alone. If you do, you’ll miss out on career changing growth opportunities.
Looking forward to seeing you there.
Mike McVay is President of McVay Media and can be reached at [email protected]