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CRS 2001 (Country Radio Seminar)
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Billy Ray
Kix Brooks
Trace Atkins
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The Country Radio Seminar (CRS) was a real eye-opener! With parties going on until the wee hours of the morning and breakfast at 8AM, it didn’t leave much time for sleep.

Sam Donelson gave the opening address. Sam has always been known for being very blunt about his feelings on any given subject. He told the radio stations, "You will please the consumer, or you will perish." Sam said he got his start, at the age of 17, as a country radio DJ in Texas.

The whole week consisted of constant debates of ‘Is Country Music too Pop, or is it too Country?’ There was one session called ‘Blow up the system’. Some panelists told the radio stations they should play what they want to play, instead of using the ‘play list’. The radio stations were quick to reply, "If we did that we would lose our reporting station status." And when radio stations asked about getting the CD’s from the record labels for airplay, many were shocked to hear the record labels tell them "Go to Wal-Mart and buy them!" You would think the record labels would be providing every Country Station with their Artist’s product. After all, radio is the biggest source of promotion for record labels. At less than $1 a piece to get pressed in mass quantity, it’s cheap advertising. A song is 3+ minutes of airtime telling the fans, to go buy this Artist’s album. As far as being ‘Too Pop/Too Country’, label executives were very blunt, "We will mix the songs in several formats, adding fiddle and steel, or taking it out, as we see necessary. Our goal is to get our Artist’s played on as many different radio formats as possible, to sell more records."

Radio stations were fuming! When all was said and done, they basically concurred (in the hallways) that the system will not be blown up, because the record labels are in control. Many station owners I spoke to said that their listeners were not happy with what they’re hearing on the radio today. Some were switching their stations from country music, over to ‘The Golden Oldies’, or ‘Talk Radio’ formats. So for all of you fans that wondered if your calls make a difference, in some cases they do! So make those calls and tell your radio station's Owner, and Program Director, what you want to hear!

Artist’s were more direct in their answers. Trace Adkins said, " I have kids. I want to hear songs that I can listen to with them." Trace once stopped in the middle of one of his concerts, because a 12 year old girl was holding up a sign telling him he had a ‘nice butt’. "I took the sign away from her and told her she was too young to even be thinking about such things!" When Janice Graham, our new Marketing Director, finally got to meet Trace she told him, "Now that I’ve met you, I can go home!"

NO! We’ve got more work to do!

Garth Brooks did a solo performance, and question/answer session, for the ASCAP luncheon. In a Chris LeDoux hat, baggy shirt and work boots he took command of the stage. He told us that no matter what we heard, "Sandy and I are still trying to decide what we should do." And when he said he was going to sing his favorite country song of all time, he blew us all away with ‘Country Bumpkin’. Thanks Garth! Put it on your new album! Yes, there is a new album in the works! He’s also doing a new movie with Whoopi Goldberg, ‘Call Me Claus’.

Kix Brooks made a special guest appearance at Bob Kingsley’s songwriter night. In honor of Dale Earnhardt, Kix sang ‘You Better Kiss Me, You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone". He also told how Dale had once taken him out fishing on the ocean. After cleaning the fish, off the side of the boat, he threw Kix into the bloody (shark infested) waters. I think everyone agreed that Dale definitely earned his name as The Intimidator!

Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn said that Keith Urban has no idea of the practical jokes he’s going to encounter while out on tour with them! They’re already planning! Regarding Keith’s appearance in Playgirl Magazine with nothing but a guitar, B&D said, ‘He had a little bitty guitar, we would need a much bigger one!" Pam Tillis said she had one of her friends go out and buy a copy, so she could get Keith to autograph it for her.

What do you get when you put Phil Vassar, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley together? You find out what it takes to make Clint Black cry! Okay, it was just a tear or two, but when Brad Paisley sang and dedicated ‘Two People Fell In Love’ to Clint, in honor of the upcoming arrival of Clint’s new baby. Clint said, "You can all tell everybody it brought a tear to my eye!" I wonder if a car seat will fit in Clint’s new Porsche? And, what does it take to make Clint pay attention in an interview? "When people ask me how my wife ‘Heather’ is doing? My wife’s name is Lisa! They often get her confused with Heather Locklear." Clint said they know the baby is a girl and it’s due in a few weeks. "Lisa has been great! Friends warned me about how crazy women can get when their pregnant, but I haven’t had to hide the knives or anything!"

Clint won the Humanitarian Award last year, and was thrilled to be able to award it to Collin Raye this year. To Collin Raye, CRS stands for Catholic Relief Services.

Billy Ray Cyrus was on hand (and up on the bar with me) hanging up a pink flamingo to promote his new single. He said he was so glad to be in Nashville where it’s warm, (about 30 degrees). He’s been up in Canada since October filming his new TV show ‘DOC’ on the PAX network. "It’s great up there, but I still haven’t thawed out. I’ve never been so cold in my life!" His new show is getting a very warm reception from audiences around the world!

 

The CMA breakfast had a great show with performances by Jack Green, John Anderson, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Steve Warnier. Vince Gill sang ‘Nobody Answered’, then said he had to run, because they were having a baby. Congratulations to Vince and Amy on the birth of their baby girl, Kareena!

John Michael Montgomery showed up in crutches to perform "I Swear", at the CMA breakfast. For those of you who haven’t heard, John M. broke his leg in a hunting accident. According to his brother Eddie, of Montgomery/Gentry, John M. got hurt while chasing down a wounded duck. He asked John M. "Wouldn’t it have been a lot less expensive to buy a good tracking dog?" I asked Eddie, "So, did you buy him one?" He laughed, "No, I bought me one! I got me one of those wrinkled up bloodhounds, like on the Beverly Hillbillies. I named her Daisy Duke!" Eddie & Troy also wanted to let the fans know they truly are country boys, and they aren’t going to change!

They’ve set up The Montgomery/Gentry FFA Scholarship Fund (for you city folks, that is the Future Farmer’s of America) to help keep the tradition alive. They were just one of the many acts that gathered at the Union Station Hotel to help launch the new Ag-Knowledge magazine. Six national organizations were saluted at the event for their work, and have been designated as beneficiary partners of Ag-Knowledge. They include: Farm Aid, The Montgomery/Gentry FFA Scholarship Fund, The National Farm-City Council, The National Association of Farm Broadcasters Foundation, America’s Second Harvest, and Ag in the Classroom. Connie Witt is President, CEO and Publisher. Connie tells us, "The mission of Ag-Knowledge is to educate and inform all Americans about agriculture and its impact on their lives. The magazine will donate one dollar of every paid subscription to the NAFB Foundation. No one organization can do this alone. The bonds between Country Music and agriculture will be a recurring theme in the Ag-Knowledge Journal. Paul Overstreet gave the invocation for the event. Charlie Daniels will be the lead story for the first issue. Joe Diffe, Louise Mandrell, Stella Parton, Cledus T. Judd, and Montgomery/Gentry were just a few of the other acts on hand to show their support. Willie Nelson was presented with two special "Journey to Agriculture" Awards for his work with Farm Aid, and to Sam Powell "the horse listener" for his work in the equine industry. You can preview the magazine at www.Ag-Knowledge.com , so check it out!

Perfect Stranger has signed a new deal with Curb records! Their new single "The Hits", is scheduled for an early May release. Call your stations!

T.Bubba Bechtol was host for the MCA luncheon, and was introduced as the newest act signed to MCA records. Gary Allan put on a great show, with special ‘smoke’ effects for Smoke Rings in the Dark. Sounds great, but was poor planning, as this meant big problems for Trisha Yearwood when she came out to perform. Trisha’s allergic to smoke! Being the trooper that she is, she kept her bottle of water handy and ‘on with the show’! Great job Trisha!

Cledus T. Judd has been added to the Brooks & Dunn tour which is called the ‘Coors Light Neon Circus/Wild West Show’. Cledus said he’s changing the name to the ‘Road to Hehab Tour’. Cledus T. made the exciting announcement that he is now signed with Sony/Columbia.

With these two comedians getting record deals, it only goes to prove, if you’re funny long enough, people begin to take you seriously!

BR5-49 put on a great show and announced that they are now on Lucky Dog Records. Seems very appropriate since they declare themselves the ‘Road Dogs’ of the industry!

The Bellamy Brothers have signed a new distribution deal with Delta Disc.

The Kinley’s were on hand, both left hands now sporting new wedding bands! Congratulations girls!

Michael Peterson told me that he has a new CD coming out. When I ask him why it took so long to make… "It’s a good one!"

Tracy Lawrence (pictured here with Jolene) said that he and wife Becca , are happy to announce they’re expecting their first child later this year!

Hot New Artists
Jamie O’Neal’s ‘Shiver’ 
on Mercury Records. If you liked ‘There is no Arizona’, go buy this album. You won’t be disappointed. There’s a lot of ballads, but Jamie has the chops to deliver each unique song, so you won’t be bored! Check with your store and see if they have her calendar also!

 

When you get Chris Cagle’s new CD on Virgin Records, you’ll agree ‘Play It Loud’! According to Chris, his life has been full of passion and grit. That sums up his music style pretty well. His first single, "My Love Goes On and On" is just the beginning of a chart career for this young man.
Come and join the growing number of Indy acts marketing and selling their CD’s in the Independent Music Store at www.songtek.com www.allhits.com and www.joleneskitchen.com Visa/Mastercard/AMEX accepted
Indy's come join the Artist's marketing their Tapes/CD's at www.songtek.com, and advertising at www.allhits.com.
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Sign of the Times . . .

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The Titanic by professionals!
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Recipe
Perfect Stranger: ‘Richard’s Beer Muffins’
One 12 oz. Can of Lite beer (use good beer, no cheap beer!) 
3 cups of Bisquick
Sugar to taste

Mix batter real good , bake in greased muffin tin at 350 ‘til brown!

Steve and Shane said they hate to waste a good beer like this, but the muffins are worth it!

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