Country Radio Hall Of Fame Inducts Class Of 2015
June 25, 2015 at 8:08 AM (PT)
Last NIGHT (6/24), the OMNI HOTEL in NASHVILLE played host to the COUNTRY RADIO HALL OF FAME induction celebration for the Class of 2015 (NET NEWS 2/25). Former WUSY/CHATTANOOGA GM SAMMY GEORGE, longtime programmer and consultant JOEL RAAB, current KBEQ/KANSAS CITY PD/morning personality MIKE KENNEDY, KAJA/SAN ANTONIO morning man RANDY CARROLL, and WMIL/MILWAUKEE personality KAREN DALESSANDRO were honored as the newest members of the HALL OF FAME, while JEFF WALKER and DWIGHT YOAKAM were honored with the CRS PRESIDENT'S AWARD and ARTIST CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, respectively (NET NEWS 6/2).
After opening remarks from COUNTRY RADIO BROADCASTERS VP and COUNTRY RADIO HALL OF FAME Chairman R.J. CURTIS, WALKER and YOAKAM were each presented with their awards. WALKER, who has served on the CRB Board for 35 consecutive years, was humble and gracious, thanking each of the Presidents he has served under during his tenure and noting the support and commitment from his family, friends, co-workers. YOAKAM spoke with gratitude about his relationship with radio throughout his career, noting that despite his love of non-terrestrial radio, he always finds himself tuning in to the live and local stations for the personality that only terrestrial radio can deliver. He also noted a special thanks to the radio and records relationship for allowing him to make his music on his terms and expressed a hope that Country would continue to be a format of diversity and progress.
RAAB, DALESSANDRO, GEORGE, CARROLL, and KENNEDY were each honored by friends and family before receiving their official induction to the HALL OF FAME. Acceptance speeches from each honoree showcased not only their career achievements, but highlighted the personalities and leadership qualities that made each such deserving honorees. RAAB noted that his role as a consultant allowed him the unique opportunity to raise his children in the same home -- a rare feat in radio today. He thanked his father for the encouragement early in his career, and his mother for her brutal honesty, as she was said to have told RAAB after his first on-air shift that he "had a lot of work to do." DALESSANDRO praised her co-workers both past and present, her hometown of DETROIT, and her adopted hometown of MILWAUKEE where she has been a mainstay in morning radio for 17 years. She also lovingly noted that her husband has been with her throughout her career, calling theirs a "Hall Of Fame marriage."
GEORGE gave one of the more motivational speeches of the evening, reminding everyone in attendance that, in radio, "whoever has the most fun wins" and to always "chase the laughter." He encouraged managers to find the potential in everyone they hire, and noted his pride in the success of his many hires, including HALL OF FAMER BILL "DEX" POINDEXTER and iHEARTMEDIA/NEW YORK EVP/GM National Programming Platforms CLAY HUNNICUTT, and advised managers to "take the youngest guy and make him PD." GEORGE also shared stories of his time as a MARINE during VIETNAM, where he played Country music for fellow MARINES as they hopped off of helicopters in to war. CARROLL, who like RAAB has had the privilege of raising his family in one location due to career longevity at KAJA/SAN ANTONIO, thanked each of his former and current co-hosts, noting after the long list, "it sounds like I might be hard to work with!" CARROLL paid tribute to his father, who passed away 22 years ago TODAY (6/25), and thanked him for instilling a love of Country music in him as he shared a story of his father driving them out to a part of TEXAS where JOHNNY CASH was filming a movie, when a young CARROLL at the age of 15 met and had his picture made with CASH. KENNEDY wrapped the evening with his typical good-natured humor, sharing stories about the many co-workers past and present who accompanied him to the ceremony. He also gave insight into the footwear he selected for the evening, telling tale of his 50th birthday party, when JOHN RICH surprised him at his home and traded cowboy boots with him after KENNEDY mentioned liking RICH's rhinestone kicks.
The evening was a wonderful tribute to each of the honorees and played a vital role in setting the tone for the forthcoming COUNTRY RADIO SEMINAR 2016, which will take its place at its new home at the OMNI HOTEL in NASHVILLE this coming FEBRUARY. Congratulations to all of the honorees of the COUNTRY RADIO HALL OF FAME Class of 2015.