Nashville, Tenn. (Top40 Charts/ AristoMedia)
Music City is gearing up this week for the biggest Country radio industry event in the world as CRS 2011 prepares to kick off on Wednesday, March 2, in downtown Nashville.
Proclaimed "Country Radio Week" by Mayor Karl Dean, CRS 2011 is held March 2-4 at the Nashville Convention Center. This year's theme is "Where Connections Are Made," a reference to the social, educational and professional networking opportunities afforded to the thousands who attend the three-day seminar each year. Planned and executed by Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc., the annual event brings the best and brightest educators, innovators, speakers and performers in the Country radio industry to Nashville.
"This year, we are really stressing the networking aspect of Country Radio Seminar," says CRB Executive Director Bill Mayne. "We've offered deeply discounted rates to make the seminar more affordable for those hit hardest by the economy, and for those still unable to attend, we've placed more emphasis on our social media initiatives to keep them abreast of what's going on at CRS. Our goal has always been to share information and provide a forum for professionals in this industry to interact with each other so that Country radio remains a healthy and vital component of the music industry."
CRS 2011 is packed with educational panels, prominent speakers, research presentations, awards, exhibits and intimate performances from some of Country music's biggest stars and emerging artists. A thumbnail summary of agenda highlights follows below.
Tuesday, March 1:
The Country Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner unofficially kicks off CRS each year. The 2011 inductees are Dale Carter, Barry Kent and Lee Rogers (On-Air Personality) and Charlie Cook, Dene Hallam and Bill Payne (Radio). The Judds are receiving the 2011 Career Achievement Award and Joe Galante is receiving the President's Award. This year's ceremony and dinner has sold out.
Wednesday, March 2:
Country music superstar Carrie Underwood officially opens CRS 2011 with a performance of the national anthem, followed by the keynote address, delivered this year by Scripps Networks CEO Ken Lowe. Presentation of the Tom Rivers Award and the Artist and Radio Humanitarian Awards follow the keynote address. Wednesday's key panels include a session on digital media and its effects on the business of radio and records, a tutorial on conducting on-air interviews, and the "Show Me the Money" panel, an eye-opening look at the economics of the music industry. Attendees will get an opportunity to review actual financial figures from the radio, record and artist perspective.
Wednesday's performances include the second annual UMG luncheon at the Ryman Auditorium with scheduled appearances from: Gary Allan, Laura Bell Bundy, Hayes Carll, Coldwater Jane, Easton Corbin, Billy Currington, Dani Flowers, Vince Gill, Mallary Hope, Jamey Johnson, Josh Kelley, Randy Montana, Kip Moore, David Nail, Randy Rogers Band, Ashton Shepherd, Canaan Smith, Sugarland, Josh Turner, Lee Ann Womack and special surprise guests. The afternoon KCRS Live! songwriter showcase features Aaron Lewis, LoCash Cowboys, Rivers Rutherford and Jeffrey Steele. Blake Shelton headlines the Music City Jam, which closes out Wednesday's events at the Convention Center.
Thursday, March 3:
Thursday is loaded with educational panels, case studies, focus groups and research presentations. A sample of Thursday's panels include: 90 Executable Ideas in 50 Minutes, Strengthening Partnerships Through Social Media, What Radio and Records Don't Know About Each Other, From the Mouths of the Consumer (focus group), Creating Successful Marketing Programs Using Country Radio (case study) and more. The CRB and CMA-sponsored research presentation examines new media trends and usage as it pertains to both the Country music consumer and the Country music professional.
Performance events include the Sony Music Nashville luncheon, featuring Ronnie Dunn and Joanna Smith. Dallas Davidson, Jerrod Niemann and Whitey Shafer headline the WCRS Live! songwriter showcase, and the Broadjam Acoustic Showcase features Mark Croft.
Friday, March 4:
Friday offers attendees a variety of panels, including: Leadership Skills and Management Secrets, Video Saved the Radio Star, Inside the Brand with the Decision Makers, PPM: Pardon the Interruption, Building Revenue with Social Media, Concerts: Connect the Dots Between Ratings, Revenue and Promotions and the popular Town Hall wrap-up panel.
Friday's musical performances includes Luke Bryan at the Capitol Records Nashville luncheon, followed in the evening by one of Country Radio Seminar's most anticipated events, the sold out New Faces of Country Music Show. The CRS 2011 New Faces lineup is: The Band Perry, Lee Brice, Jerrod Niemann, Steel Magnolia and Josh Thompson. The Digital Rodeo "British Invasion" Show closes out CRS 2011 at Cadillac Ranch. Performers include: Katie Armiger, Burns and Poe, Sarah Darling, Due West, Ashley Gearing, Josh Gracin, The Harters, Jacob Lyda, One Night Rodeo, Julie Roberts, Adam Tefteller, Tiffany, Bryan White, Mark Wills and more.
A detailed schedule with descriptions of all CRS 2011 panels and events can be viewed at www.CRB.org or accessed via the new CRS 2011 smartphone application. Available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry, the app provides seminar attendees with an expanded CRS agenda, featuring panel descriptions, speaker bios, live performances, post-CRS nightlife activities, a map of downtown Nashville and the ability to rate individual panels and panelists.
CRB is also upgrading its social media initiatives at CRS 2011. Throughout the three-day seminar, CRB will post Facebook and Twitter updates from the Convention Center about specific panel highlights, artist performances, special guests and more. Ongoing video blogs from CRS will be posted at CRB.org.