Sunday, December 28, 2008

The 2008 Year End T-Shirt

Producer J.'s World Tour 2008

District of Columbia
Georgia
Illinois
Kentucky
Maryland
Massachusetts
Missouri
North Carolina
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Virginia

Bahamas
St. Maarten
St. Thomas

2009 looks to be a much smaller tour schedule with corporate travel gone and no foreign vacations planned. I do need to make a Disney run though, we've got a zillion Disney Dollars saved up. And I have a free SW ticket I need to use by May. Where to go? Stay Tuned!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Triva

The holidays are normally a slow time for scoop, but I have some for you tonight! I'm posting this in the form of a question... the really interesting part will be whether or not we get a press release revealing the answer!

Which country artist got engaged this Christmas?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Christmas Gift to You

I wanted to give you something that could be enjoyed the world over....and probably seen around the world too.

Lights...
..... Camera.....
............Enjoy!


video

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Facebook Addiction

At night, when I can't sleep... I kill time on Facebook. Mostly I like to have the time to look through people's photo albums. Usually that's so I can see kids grow up in a matter or moments, or swipe decorating ideas. But sometimes there's some funny stuff too.

For instance, tonight. I have a friend who is a Titans cheerleader. She also works for another media outlet. (Sandi you may have met her in Vegas... we did the Orange Carpet together.) Her longtime boyfriend is the nephew of a Country Music Hall of Famer. This much I knew. So I'm flipping through photos of parties, and ball games and superstar-laced family events, and I crack up laughing, because of all things... her boyfriend-with-the-famous-uncle who grew up half a country away, had a babysitter as a kid... who I know now as a record label publicist here in Nashville. And not for the famous uncle's record label! Small world, eh? And getting smaller by the click.

So... what's the funniest thing you've learned or seen on Facebook or MySpace?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Delivery from Santa!

UPDATE: Lady A being hand delivered on Thursday!

Just was serviced Christmas singles from Trisha Yearwood (My Favorite Things) and Darius Rucker (Winter Wonderland.) Merry Christmas to all the Highway Road Crew!

If you got here by googling something like...

Nashville internships
Country music internships
radio internships
I want to intern with the coolest company in radio
Internship where I don't make coffee
Hanging out with the country stars internship
Sommet Center internships
Best internship in Music City
How can I intern with cool people?
Where can I apply for the most awesome internship in Nashville?

Then Click Here

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

THIS is the Worst Christmas Song Ever

Go to You Tube and search for Red Sovine's "Billy's Christmas Wish." Oh. My. God.

We're blaring bad Christmas music through the office this morning. I was very proud of my contribution -- Joey & Rory's Sleighbell Mix of "Cheater, Cheater" -- which had me laughing until I was crying.

But to lay your hands on a married man's about as low as you can go..
Hey I wish her well as she rots in hell
You can tell her I said so.
Cheater, cheater, where'd you meet that no good white trash
(Santa comes in) Ho, ho ho!

That above little gem was completely trumped by Kyle's Red Sovine contribution. Which actually plays on Roadhouse.

I shall await your reaction.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Was Bob not available?

It's Midnight, Cinderella: The staff of the CMA kicked up their heels yesterday for the company's annual Tree Trimming Party, with a Garth Brooks impersonator serving as the special guest.
This photo and caption ran in Country Aircheck. Of course, the picture is small, so it might be hard to tell, but I'm thinking our buddy Bob could teach this guy a thing or two about being a Garth impersonator! It takes more than a black hat! Anyway, I found it amusing that the CMA -- who probably could have gotten a real artist to come to their tree trimming - had the cowboy in mind instead.
For those who don't know, the "Bob" I'm referring to is a Garth fan who looks so much like Garth (especially when he dresses the part, which he likes to do) that he tends to cause quite a ruckus when he shows up at Garth / Trisha places.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Worst Christmas Carol Ever

At some point in the past couple years of my blog life, we had a discussion about the worst Christmas carol ever. And someone and given me a song that was pretty much Music to Slit Your Wrist By.

I'm trying to find that... I remember I banned it from Music City Holiday... I have it in my head that maybe it was Dwight Yoakam... but a lot of his music has sad depressing suicidal tendancies, and I'm getting depressed just trying to find it. Or was it Travis Tritt?

Anyone remember that conversation?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More Cool Mom Points

I have found a new way to impress my daughter. It turns out, one of my new country co-workers is the voice of The Disney Channel. I've been listening to him for years on tv.

There's got to be a way I can use that to my advantage.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Back to the Real World

Happy Monday everyone! Back to the grind today.

One of the things I got done on my (very relaxing, peaceful, refreshing) vacation was most of my Christmas shopping. I'm one of the nuts that goes out on Black Friday. I got my neices and nephews and Delaynie all done, and Dave & Jen mostly finished. Brad's probably going to get gift cards, LOL.

Other than shopping, it was a lot of munchkin time. One thing I learned though... next time, bring earplugs! Everyone else in the house was up before 7am (that was EASTERN time) talking, watching tv, banging dishes, doing laundry. Even when I'd try to take a nap, someone would start up the washer, which was right outside our room. Fortunately, we came home Saturday, so Sunday I slept in all the way until 8:30!

I didn't have any satellite radio this trip... we put my XM in Gary's truck, which decided to blow it up or something a few hours into our journey. So it really was a week without work. (Of course, most of the music world wasn't working Thursday or Friday either.) I'm looking forward to getting into the office today and catching up.

Keith Anderson is coming in today... he's filling in for Storme all week -- hear him from 4-8pm Eastern on The Highway! Sirius 60 / XM 16 / DirecTV Channel 814 / DISH Network Channel 6060.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Future Superstar

Someday, when my niece Maddie - already an expert drama queen who has wrapped her daddy around all 10 of her fingers at the age of 4 - is a superstar, you can say you knew her when.

She and I were frosting brownies at the beach house last week, and she composed a lovely song about how the brownies were for dessert, not for dinner. (Which is a very important thing to know.) Of course, once the camera came on, she clammed up, but I did capture a glimpse of her child brilliance:

video

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blogging from the Ocean

Technically, I'm a block from the ocean. It's cold here... we saw snow in the mountains. (Paula and Sandi... remember our trip to Pigeon Forge, and my "love" of driving through the mountains at night? Yeah... multiply that times Gary driving... )

However, our trip to the Western North Carolina Nature Center was a success.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Running away to the ocean

Next month, my parents celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. They told us last year that they wanted to do a family vacation with all the kids and grandkids. In throwing out suggestions (mine being the ocean, somewhere warm, and somewhere Southwest flies) we wound up in Myrtle Beach, SC for all of next week.

I've never been to Myrtle Beach (probably because it doesn't have a major airport and it's 10 + hours away) so it should be quite the experience. 4 of the 13 of us are under the age of 4.

The Zoo there doesn't look very good, but there's a big one on Asheville, NC on the way there that has not one, but TWO kinds of wolves, and there's an aquarium in MB that I've got media passes into.

Other than that, it's going to be a lot of laying around and being lazy. I'm ready for that. We're leaving tonight after work and driving to Knoxville, will be at the ocean by Saturday night.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here's how much Gary loves me

My husband, the rocker, who doesn't listen to country music with the exception of George Strait, bought himself a little ringtone package for his phone, which includes a bunch of Nickleback songs... with the exception of my ringtone.

When I call, it plays the Statler Brothers' "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine."

I have phone envy.

I am shopping for a new phone / pda. (Note to self... get one that will play real music when people call.) I'm very intrigued by this new Blackberry Storm that comes out on Friday.

Last night we tried to go phone shopping and I was overwhelmed by all the options. Slide out keyboards... touch screen or not... smartphones... mobile web...

Do you have a PDA that you love? I'm a Verizon customer... looking for something that will let me check email, open Word and Excel docs and take pictures. Suggestions?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

592,304

Well over HALF A MILLION people went out and bought Taylor Swift's CD the first week. By comparison, that's TEN TIMES what last week's #1 country cd, Brad Paisley's Play, sold at 53,697 in it's first week. HUGE.

The second most popular country CD at the cash register this week -- Rascal Flatts Greatest Hits. 38,812. Just a little bit of a gap.

Go Taylor! This girl WORKED for it, she was everywhere. And obviously it paid off. Which reminds me, I didn't share the story I got on CMA day when I walked in with Taylor's mom.

We were both at the check in place at the same time, getting our bags searched, and I started chatting... she was telling me how excited Taylor was about the night. Then I told her I'd seen the pictures of Taylor at Walmart in Hendersonville at midnight the night the CD was released. (Check The Tennessean if you haven't seen them.) Andrea said that was a 21 hour day for them... they'd been up in NYC doing one of the morning shows that morning... did some press appearances in NY... then flew back home and went straight from the airport to the Walmart, because she wanted to go buy the cd at home. (Very cool!) We laughed though, because Andrea was with her the whole way, but she didn't quite have the 18 year old energy for it that her daughter had! I hope she's now had a chance to get some rest. She's earned it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Road Construction

At last, I have a little time to take you behind the scenes of creating the single biggest country music radio channel in North America -- The Highway. (Although I should note, we were already Top 3 at least before the merger.) I'm so excited about what's been created, and how all of our jocks have this massive audience to talk to every day.

This is part of my personal journal, entitled "The Journey" that I wrote while in the middle of a very long, stressful month that at one point didn't look like it would have a happy ending for me. Technically, my ending is still unwritten, but I'm happy to have made it through the complete lifespan of XM as it's own entity. I was contacted by one of the country music trades last week asking if I was ok and saying they'd be happy to help put out my new contact information. (Which is what they do when someone loses a job.) What's that line about 'reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated?' I tell everyone - I'm going to keep working until someone tells me to stop. LOL So far they haven't. So here's a little peek into my world lately.

This was written 11/5 - a week before convergence.

- J.

From the outside there's a lot of "oh this channel is staying, that channel is going" assumptions about what it all is going to mean. The reality is, 98% of the rumors are wrong. Most of the music channels switched over to our programming system, so even though a channel name (Prime Country) came from Sirius, the music database carried over from US Country, so on that channel, it's exactly the same except for new production. As many of you know, I never liked the USC name, so I was particularly pleased with that decision.

EVERY channel had to have their entire production library re-done. Bluegrass Junction might still be around, but nothing could say Bluegrass Junction on XM... or Track 14... or use our nifty, 7 note audio logo. (There's still hope it will be back, but there are copyright issues that still have to be cleared.) I worked on production for a solid week... and even after I'd gone through everything and wrote, re-wrote, dug up soundbites, and tasked it to the production team, I'd discover pieces that I'd completely overlooked.

Obviously, my vantage point only encompasses what I see in the country neighborhood. I can't begin to imagine how they dealt with things - and continue to do so - in the talk world. There are still contracts to be worked out, shows that have gone away that may or may not return based on whether a deal can be worked out, and every channel continues to be a work in progress.

As I've mentioned here, the message board rumors on what was supposedly happening with The Roadhouse provided nightly entertainment for me.

The Roadhouse has been completely rebuilt. This is what Kyle Cantrell has put hundreds of hours into over the past several weeks. He has built, completely from scratch, the classic country channel that neither satellite service ever had. It is incredibly pure. For those who don't know, Kyle spent years at WSM-AM and the Grand Ole Opry, so this is a labor of love, but also a matter of reputation and personal pride for him. I'm so excited for everyone to hear the end result!

I've saved the best story for last - the naming of The Highway. Early on in this convergence process, Jon pledged to keep the Highway 16 formatics... not only was this his baby, but it was the better brand, the stronger shows. However, we thought we were going to have to move to a new channel number, possibly Highway 60.

One night, I had a dream... and in my dream, I told Jon that a great name for the new channel would be "The Highway" because that way if it had to move again as this merger stuff shook out we wouldn't have to rename the channel again. So the next day at work I told him about my dream. He wasn't too crazy about the idea, he liked identifiying the channel name with the channel number. A couple of weeks later, he learned that the channels would NOT be numbered the same on both services, and voila, The Highway was born.

The funniest thing to me though, is how very unobservant our listeners (YOU GUYS!) are. For the past couple of months, going back as far as the Darius Rucker Driver's Ed, and everything since, we've dropped the "Highway 16" out of our specialty shows, as well as references to the "XM" studios or the "XM Nation." It's JUST been "Driver's Ed" or "ShortCuts"... with casual references to hearing things "here on the highway." In reality... that was so those shows could run again... "here on The Highway!" It forced me to completely re-think my writing... and no one even noticed. Yet the new channel name was right under your nose!

So... where do we go from here? UP! I'm crazy giddy excited about the possibilities. We are the biggest outlets for our respective formats anywhere. Our audience almost doubled overnight. For the Sirius gang, it more than doubled. For the air talent that survived, it's an incredible opportunity to be heard by more people than just about anywhere else, including most syndicated radio. When we encore a Highway 16 show... it's brand new to half the people hearing it. It's been a tough road, and is probably going to get tougher for a while, but I'm so proud to be a small part of this awesome team of programmers. I hope you love what they've put together for you half as much as they've loved creating it for you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'm exhausted - and it's Taylor Swift's fault

This weekend, for the first time in the past few weeks, I didn't have to go in and work on Saturday. I had a real day off. I didn't even have a show or two that I had to write on Sunday. In fact, I didn't even bring home any production to write, shows to edit or photos to caption. I was merely going to relax and think about anything BUT mergers, new channels or websites that need to be updated.

Friday night I took a couple of benadryls after dinner (I'm sick again... or maybe still... I can't keep track) thinking I'd be going to bed nice and early. However... I made a fatal error in judgement that caused that plan to fail.

I gave Delaynie the new Taylor Swift CD Fearless.

Now... this in itself wouldn't have been a bad thing. She was listening to the music while she was cleaning her room. She cleans better to music, she tells me, so I'm thinking this is a win win situation.

After a while Delaynie comes downstairs and starts talking to me about the music. She loves lyrics where the girls aren't like everyone else, when they laugh at the girls who think they're so cool. This is the kid who had me custom order the phrase "Dare to Be Different" from Uppercase Living for her bedroom wall, because it was her "motto." Taylor is the poster child for daring to be different, after all how many high school freshmen were going to Music Row writing appointments? Delaynie can sense all this, and she love love loves Taylor.

It was after a nice musical discussion about the content of the album, accompanied by looking up lyrics and sharing some scoop (thanks to ShortCuts!) I knew about the pictures that I made my fatal mistake.

I told Delaynie about the secret. Secrets.

Secret codes. In the lyrics.

Big mistake.

Big, BIG mistake.

Not that she couldn't know about the secret codes - the actual revelation that they existed was not my mistake.

Telling her about them at 9:30 at night was the big mistake. BIG. Silly me thought it could be a "hey, here's something for you to do tomorrow, now go brush your teeth and get ready for bed" kind of factoid. Because after all... I was going to bed early. Catching up on some sleep.

Ha. Ha ha ha HA!

Not.

1 o'clock in the morning. That's when I finally insisted that she stop the madness with just a couple of songs left to decode. And that is why I was completely exhausted the rest of the weekend.

I do have to admit... her enthusiasm about trying to find all the letters was adorable. And a little contagious. She'd get so excited when she'd get one figured out. For those of you who don't know, Delaynie has really bad eyesight - even with her glasses, due to a defect that can't be corrected. And those lyrics are in little bitty letters. After a while I made her go get her magnifying glass, but even then, those capitol "I"'s were tricky!

I have to admit, there are worse ways to spend a Friday night then giggling with your daughter as you google "Love and Theft" because you can't stand not knowing what that means. It was probably the most fun I'd had in a month. And Delaynie's already planning to write Taylor a letter about it all.

But get this... in the process of this detective work, she of course decided that she had to get her best friend Hope the CD for her birthday the next day so that Hope could decode all the secret messages too. We had already gotten her a Hannah Montana shirt, so I casually asked who was cooler - Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus.

"Well I've never met Miley, but I feel like I've got a connection to Taylor because we've talked. So other kids probably think Miley is cooler, but I know that really, Taylor is."

Delaynie told Hope about the secret codes, so I'm sure one night soon, my friend Dianne is going to lose sleep while her daughter tries to find all those capitol I's. And she too will be exhausted the next day.

And it will be all Taylor Swift's fault.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CMA's... the Morning After

As much as I'd love to go back to bed... I must grab a shower and go in for at least a half day of work.

Much to chat about later... for now let's go with some overall recapping. I didn't get to watch much of the last 45 minutes or so of the show because it was busy in the press room, so I'm hoping my husband recorded it.

I didn't think there were any major surprises in the winners... with the possible exception of Lady A... that category could have gone several different ways. I liked the dual host format. Was pleased with the number of artists who did press... (although I'm shakin' my finger at Sugarland.) Jay Thomas has done a great job of using my audio on the air this morning.

I have to give huge props to Chris, my intern, who was back in the studio activating audio and putting the display information on just as fast as I got it edited and uploaded. He saved me from having to go upstairs and work after the show, or worse yet, be in at dawn this morning.

Yay for interns!

So, overall -- what did you think of the show?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dress #9


... has appeared in the press room.


She got all sappy!


No Sugarland or Strait at the winner's mic. Interesting.


I'm off to party hop!

About to get slammed!

Ok, Eagles, then Shania with the EOTY... then I'll get the big batch of winners....

Sugarland
Brad
Carrie
Entertainer

Going great so far, my intern is up in the studio activating audio as I upload it.

In Walks Lady A

Hillary looks gorgeous

Ok... she's gonna make me cry.

Hootie in the House!

And in the press room.

Ok.... I just LOVE him. He went on and on about how he couldn't believe he got a performance slot, even though he wasn't nominated... about all the artists in the audience watching him... how thrilling it all was for him...

Love him.

Barbie Doll Carrie

I swear, she gets more beautiful in every outfit. They could do a whole line of dolls off her outfits tonight.

Strait sent his producer Tony Brown back to the press room. Maybe he'll come back later.

T H U D


Rascal Flatts just walked in.
They made history tonight... tied with the Statlers for most consecutive Vocal Group of the Year wins.

8:29 New Barbie Outfit

Love this outfit on Carrie.

My Reba prediction came true... not much of a surprise by now. Haven't we been here, done that by now?

Cheering in the Press Room!!

Yay for Lady A! Look at Mike Dungan looking like a proud Papa.

Hillary a second generation CMA winner. Not a lot of those I don't think.

Cruising Through the Blogosphere

Ok you MUST go read The Tennessean's blogging. I love Peter Cooper. From here on out, I'm just going to link to their blogs.

I am intrigued that Kid Rock came off more country than Jason Aldean... despite his song having "Country" in the title. Did they edit the "smokin'" reference on tv the way they do on FM radio?

Barbie Doll Carrie

2nd outfit lasted 27 minutes. Carrie is now wearing a pink toga.

I'm not sure about Justin (former Nash Star contestant / current Miley Cyrus boyfriend) playing Prince Charming to Taylor Swift.

I need to watch the tape of her performace. I shouldn't blog during performances.

So far, Joe The Strummer is the highlight of the press room.

Rodney Atkins...

... had no special guest. So much for the "narc." I do like this song though.

The Tennessean staff is in the row in front of me... I need to go check and see what they're blogging about.
(Beverly Keel is the blonde... Peter Cooper right in front of me... winning the award for Journalist with the Best Hair.)

Rascal Flatts won Best Vocal Group. They haven't come back to the press room in years, so looks like it's going to stay quiet back here for a while.

Odd that they're not teasing the Special Guests in the show, after all the promo hoopla in advance.

Miscellaneous Backstage Trivia

XM's Production Company - Effanel Productions - is doing the sound on the awards show again this year. So far it sounds great. These are the same guys that did Artist Confidential.

Mary Kay is all over the backstage. The ladies room has perfume bottles on the counter... I just tried some "warm amber" or something. It's quite lovely. I don't normally wear perfume, but I do like this.

Still no winner in the press room. It's crazy dark back here, by the way. We need desk lamps. The boxed lunches have arrived.

Carrie's first outfit lasted 35 minutes. Look for her to be wearing some ridiculous multi-million dollar amount of bling at some point tonight. I can't remember... diamonds... emeralds? Someone google for me.

Lady A rockin' the house. Look for their CD sales to skyrocket this week.

Jona - Brad is doing a fabulous job. He looks very nice in a dark suit. I hate that you can't see it. Martina on stage now (Not crazy about her outfit!). Rodney Atkins up next. There is ZERO Springsteen buzz backstage.

OH -- they just showed Darius.... which reminds me. Jon Anthony saw him at a restaurant last night and asked if he'd had a chance to hear his Driver's Ed episode yet. He said "yeah, it was on again today!" Pretty funny. I put him on so our new Sirius listeners would have a kick ass show their first week on The Highway.

Song of the Year

Stay -- Jennifer Nettles, songwriter

She's sitting with their manager, FYI.

1st Award

Single of the Year -- George Strait "I Saw God Today."

Hmm... will George come back to do the press room?

Most years he doesn't. But he did last year, so we'll hope.

Next award to be given out after Kellie Pickler and Alan Jackson sing (and 100 people line dance!) IS Song of the Year. More often than not... Single and Song go to the same tune.

Stay tuned.

Pre Show Awards **SPOILERS**

Pre-Show winners... don't read further if you want to be surprised when they flash this up on your screen for 3 seconds.

Musician Of The Year - Mac Macanally
Video Of The Year - "Waitin' On A Woman"
Musical Event of the Year - "Gone, Gone, Gone" - Robert Plant / Alison Krauss

Shania has been spotted, as has Reba. Billy Ray and Miley are here, as is Miley's squeeze, Justin Gaston.

Rundown

<--- Here's the view from my seat.

Brad and Keith kick off the show.

Rodney comes about 45ish minutes in... not listed with a special guest -- sorry.

Brooks & Dunn have a special guest about half way through, on their performance of "Cowgirls Don't Cry." Hmm.... who would be a cowgirl special guest?

Kid Rock comes after Taylor Swift. Someone make sure he stays away from that lovely young lady. They're going to sweep through the top of the first hour.

Keith performs solo after Album of the Year... then Carrie. She should hit around the top of the 2nd hour. Then Female Vocalist.

Eagles close the show -- I'm shocked it's not Kenny. He's 3rd to last.

Sharon -- Trace is next to last performance.

A special guest is presenting the Entertainer of the Year -- you know that has to be Shania.

Any questions I can answer?

Checked Into the Media Room!


Yikes... I forget how many media people show up for this thing. I went early and got my spot (since it's right downstairs in my building!) and am back upstairs getting ready to change.

There has to be 80 media outlets in this room. I'm estatic with my position -- 2nd row right on the aisle, so I'm dead center. The whole rehearsal hall area of the arena has been turned into a maze of media stations, places for the artists to sign things, goodies to be picked up... and there are more people running around wearing headsets than are in the Secret Service.

I walked in with Taylor Swift's mom, who's every bit the doll her daughter is. Got a great story for you, but first, I have to go roll my hair in curlers and change clothes.

I have a pre-show party... will be back around 6:30 Central Time.

The Lights Are Out, But Everybody's Home

Complete madness has consumed Music City today.

First off... there was a gas leak downtown... a couple of city blocks are completely filled with fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. This is taking place about 2 blocks from the Sommet Center, where the awards show is being held.

Completely unrelated, we think... an NES substation has blown. Downtown is without power for the most part, including the bat building and the Hilton. You can't get food anywhere. Fortunately, the arena has some serious backup power, so the lights are back on here, and sound check is still running.

It's also raining.

More news as it happens.

Happy CMA Convergence Day!

LOL - that's what I've been calling it around the office.

Any questions, comments, or concerns about the day, the new channel lineup, the weather in Nashville (supposed to rain) leave them here and I'll check in as I can.

I should be able to blog from the press room tonight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Johnny & June

Up late listening to the switchover.

Last song to play on America -- Johnny Cash "We'll Meet Again"
Last song to ply on X-Country - June Carter Cash "Will the Circle Be Unbroken"

A neat fact I discovered today after I posted about the September 12, 2001 postponed channel launch... I looked up when the national launch actually happened.

November 12, 2001. We were on the air exactly 7 years. Very cool.

Chevy CMA Kickoff Concert Is Underway!


Soundcheck Update

Lady A, Kid Rock and a female I didn't recognize have soundchecked so far today... Keith Urban on now. Amy Paige and I disagree on whether Kevin Costner did his own sound check on the Chevy stage this morning. She thinks he had a stunt double. If so, he sure fooled all the little old ladies lined up taking his picture.

It's very overcast out there, but so far, no rain. It's gonna be a COLD show out there in the November night!

WOW -- Mega Breaking News

Superstar Reba McEntire has signed with the Valory Music Co. The move reunites McEntire with Scott Borchetta, president & CEO of Big Machine Records and the Valory Music Co.

11/11/2008

FIRST OFF -- Do not forget the Chevy Kick off to the CMA's - heard live on Highway 16 today beginning at.... 5pm Eastern.

Checkin' in from Music City.... busy day at the office yesterday! Listened to Kenny, Jason Aldean, Carrie, Trace and Miranda do sound checks through the arena walls. No sound of special guest, unless you count the spirit of Bob Marley, whom I presume was there on video tape.

Trace came by the studio to cut a Release Day Rest Stop. He's such a great voice to put on the radio... his reads were perfect the first time, his soundbites were funny or poignant, or both.

Jon cut a Driver's Ed with Randy Houser yesterday, lots of great programming coming your way. Today my first project is building a Taylor Swift ShortCuts.... her record label didn't release the music in advance, so we had to put the show off until after the album hit stores. No worries, I'll get the show built -- nothing else going on this week right?

Lots of parties last night -- Kenny did a "surprise" show at Tootsies, Kevin Coster was a few doors down at The Stage, and Blake Shelton lit the fire to showcase his upcoming CD Startin' Fires. I went to Blake, and then came home and helped Delaynie with a school project. Good BBQ, probably the best meal I'll have all week.

Just between us... I'm a little sad today. I remember watching satellites go up via webcasts... I remember the launch that was supposed to happen on September 12, 2001 and had to be postponed... I remember the list of first songs played on each channel... and I remember hundreds of guests that have come through our studio when we were a brand new company, from Willie Nelson, John Conlee and Loretta Lynn to Pat Green and Jack Ingram (before they went mainstream) and Bruce and Charlie Robison.

As excited as I am about what we're going to unleash tomorrow, today I'm listening to people do their last shows and I'm a little sad to say goodbye to the past 7 1/2 years of Radio to the Power of X.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reporting in from the Sommet Center!

Happy CMA Week! Things are bustling here as they build the Chevy Stage before our very eyes... cardboard figures of Rodney Atkins, Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum are leaning against brand new Chevy vehicles, and 5th Ave. South is partially blocked, so I don't recommend driving by.

I've put the staff here on alert to be listening for a "Special Guest" to be soundchecking. Not 10 minutes after we have that conversation, we hear familiar music start blaring through the arena... and then those well known words...

It's 3:30 in the morning... not a soul in sight...

My intern, who knows almost nothing about country music, exclaims "Oh my God is Garth the special guest?"

Umm... no. He was just the warm up act... on CD... testing the sound system. He was shortly replaced by Kenny Chesney and The Wailers, doing their run throughs.

More news as it happens.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It it was in the newspaper... it must be true

Now that there's a 3 page full color ad in USA Today talking about our new programming lineup, I can tell you for certain that you're getting new music channels on your favorite satellite radio service next Wednesday. And I can't WAIT!

On one hand, I've been in more meetings in the past month than I've been in the past year. But I'm really excited, because there are things being done that are long overdue, and I think the country fans are being served INCREDIBLY well by this new offering.

I can't speak to things outside of the country neighborhood (I got anything I know from reading the ad - they didn't release the new lineup to the staff, oddly enough) but I'm really excited for y'all to hear everything we've been working on. And working, and working, and working on!

I do want people to take into consideration that this new lineup really is a merger - and it's working well. Even though a channel may take the name from one company, it's often being programmed by someone new, 100% of the production had to be redone, the best shows survived, the best air talents were kept, we're making new friends and most everything is being programmed out of the XM databases (thank goodness I didn't have to learn a new system on top of everything else!) So give it a listen before you draw any conclusions. We're excited that our listener base will almost DOUBLE (more than double when coming from the Sirius side) and everything is new to half the audience.

For the record, the Sirius staff that have come over to the XM facilities and had to learn a new system and work for a new programming team have been great. Nice group of guys that have been fun to hang out with, and they take turns making the coffee.

By the end of the day tomorrow, I plan to have everything I'm involved with ready to go for the big rollout on Wednesday. Then on Sunday, I HAVE to find something to wear to the CMA's!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yet another reason why Taylor Swift ROCKS.

You must spend 5 minutes checking out this awesomely adorable Taylor Swift video clip. It's being heralded because she has this funny littlle Barbie doll moment where she slips in some 411 about her celebrity breakup, but for country fans, it's more impressive for all the people she gets to promote her upcoming album. Alot of those were done backstage at the CMT Giants show. Anyone who can get George Strait and Alan Jackson so do liners for them clearly has something going!

Check it out - and don't forget, we've got Taylor on ShortCuts the weekend of November 14th!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Joy to the World

Now that Halloween is over, I've decided I'm going to decorate the studio for Christmas. It's about time, don't you think?

Ok, I have a good reason for listening to Christmas music tonight, and stringing up Christmas lights tomorrow... Faith Hill is coming in to record a ShortCuts for her new Christmas CD, Joy to the World.

As my husband (who deep down inside I'm quite certain would have preferred that I'd taken the merger severence package) was grumbling tonight over my coming home only to work some more, I blared the title track through the house. "Joy to the World" (the church organ version, not Faith's) was our wedding recessional, 15 years ago next month.

Soundscan for last week

#1 - Toby Keith - That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy (90,617)
#2 - Rascal Flatts - Greatest Hits Volume 1 (88654)
#3 - Kenny Chesney - Lucky Old Sun (41,228)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Delaynie's Quote Du Jour

"Tonight will be in the textbooks someday."

Cue the Brooks & Dunn!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Late Night Ramblings

It's been a while since I late night rambled. Lots to ramble about, if my brain can unscramble enough to ramble.

I sat in NINE channel meetings today. Nine. (Not all of them country.) My eyes began glazing over, I know it. I tried to figure out a way I could secretly be writing a Faith Hill ShortCuts while Jon was reading channel descriptors to us off of PDF's, but I figured I'd get busted.

Saturday I went in to the office and worked a few hours, and Kyle Cantrell was there. Not much of a surprise, I'd stopped in the previous Saturday after doing my 5 Mile and he was there then too. I don't know how long he was there the previous week, but this Saturday he was AT the office at least 10 hours that I know of, and then he went home and knocked out some more work. Have I mentioned that I just can't WAIT until I can tell you what he's been doing?Y'all just would not BELIEVE how painstakingly he's been dedicated to this. Oh my goodness I'm so excited - for all of you out there that will soon get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

My project of late is something called EPG. Would you like to guess what that is? Nothing related to EPT's. Electronic Program Guide. If you go look at, say the Highway16 Web Page, you'll see the scrolling guide that talks about what's on at specific times tonight. I update those with the episodic show information normally (like ShortCuts / Driver's Ed for 16 or Studio Special for 14) which is a very simple process because the bulk of the work was already done for me. Well this week I've been building those grids from scratch... I've got 4 of them done so far... 2 more to go I think. I saved the 2 channels I know the least about for last, LOL.

I also do the top of the page info with the schedules / show highlight information on them. I updated those today with upcoming SC / DE information, they will go live tomorrow. It's funny, because I read on one of the fan message boards today how we'd outsourced our website. Not only are the same in-house people building it that always have, but the programmers have a lot more control over it now than we did even a year ago! In fact, one of the things I did not long ago was add the Taylor Swift and Sugarland photos to the Highway 16 rotation -- and moved Keith Urban up to the first position, just because I wanted a little change.

Ramble, ramble, ramble. Jason Michael Carroll was in our studio last week... I served him and the A&R guy from his label a beer. New ShortCuts on the way from Mark Wills, Taylor Swift, and Blake Shelton. We recorded Taylor FOREVER ago. In fact, I need to go re-edit it, because she talked about how on election day she'll be voting, but she actually wound up voting early, because she'll be in LA tomorrow. Storme Warren hosts that show, which airs the weekend AFTER the album hit stores. (Her record label told us no one was getting the album in advance, so we couldn't do our usual XM WORLD PREMIERE before the CD was released. So if y'all hear the music anywhere this weekend, please let me know and I'll storm 16th Avenue.)

It actually wound up working out better for us that we held it, because that meant we had a spot open for Mark Wills... although it pushed Blake Shelton back a week late too.

What else can I tell you? What else do you want to know? Kevin Costner has a new country CD out... I've gotten it in the mail but haven't had a chance to listen to it.

OH! Oh oh oh. OH! CMA's are next week. Here are some things you need to know:
Chevy CMA Kickoff Concert -- live on Highway 16
Tuesday November 11th.
Hell. I updated our website today and completely neglected to put that on it. Ok, just sent a note to our web team.
Any way -- Rodney Atkins, Heidi Newfield, Eli Young Band, & Kevin Costner & New West. I'll get the time and put it up on the website tomorrow. ;-)

AND... if by chance you are traveling and can't watch the CMA's, you can hear them LIVE next Tuesday night on XM 11 -- Nashville. I guess I need to try to get that on their webpage too... although I'm not sure I have access to that one.

Crap! I just realized I don't have anything to wear to the CMA's yet.

Delaynie doesn't have school tomorrow... so it's going to be a "take your daughter to work" day for me. She does have to go on Veteran's Day (which my husband has off) but not on Election Day. What's wrong with that picture?

I've pretty much decided I'm not voting. Let's face it... the way our electoral college is set up, the popular vote doesn't count anyway. Tennessee is a red state, so if I vote for Obama it won't matter, and if I vote for McCain, it won't matter. So why stand in line?

Go ahead, sling arrows if you must. But I'm not passionately for either candidate and I'm throroughly disgusted by the whole political process. We can raise millions of dollars during a rotten economy to pay for negative political advertising, while people go hungry and live under bridges. The whole country is messed up.

Here's an idea for the next president: Reform election laws, make every vote count, and make this whole process much shorter and cheaper.

I'm Producer J. and I approved this message.

And I'm gonna delete any comments that bloviate negatively on any political candidate, so don't.

UPDATE -- Ok, I voted. And it was kind of a cool feeling to vote in such a historic election, so I'm glad I did. No lines at my polling place, walked right in and did it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gigantic

Went to the CMT Giants taping tonight for Alan Jackson. As TV tapings go, this went really smoothly. Only one re-take. Lots of star power. Some of the song choices wouldn't have been my first picks for some of these artists, but most of them worked pretty good. Although while Taylor Swift was singing "when Daddy let me drive..." all I could think about was that she was the right age to be Alan's daughter. LOL.

Taped a Driver's Ed with Kristy Lee Cook today from American Idol. She's cute as a button.

My nightly amusement is reading the XM fan message boards to see what rumors are going around about the alleged merger programming changes. About 80% of what I read is completely off base. I have little to no knowledge about things outside of the country music world, but as a fan of country music - particularly classic country music - I'm ridiculously excited. I can't wait until we can shout things from the rooftops, but in the meantime, just know we're working like crazy and good things are coming!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Siriusly Busy Day

I wrote my first script for Sirius today. I'd tell you what it was, but I don't think any of my readers have the Dog Star in their cars.

Following that amusing little excercise, I went to Belmont for their internship fair, where I tried to get rid of a ton of Sirius and XM premium items (key chains, koozies, etc.) College kids are picky about their freebies! At least, upscale private college kids, LOL. I did get a lot of great response though, about 15 really strong resumes for spring and summer, including two potential bluegrass candidates! And, I got to meet one of my blog readers in person -- definitely a highlight of my day!

Next I headed to the new studios (I wonder how long we'll be in them before I stop calling them "the new studios" ??) where the Sirius gang was well into their first work day in their new home. We've all blended quite nicely, although I do still do a a double take when I see the little doggie logo around the building.

Mark Wills was in for a ShortCuts taping early afternoon. Love him. I've known him forever, and he's just fun to hang around with. His new cd comes out election day, and will be on ShortCuts the following weekend.

Sarah Buxton was in with Storme on the Music Row Happy Hour for a chat. I love having our studios just ROCKIN' with guests! Bring 'em on!

As if all of that wasn't exciting enough, about 4:30 I learned that the 15k people in the arena today were attending a motivational seminar, that featured Rudy Guilliani, Zig Ziglar and Collin Powell! I love love LOVE Collin Powell, and still hold out hope he'll run for President someday. Not that I could have possibly found time in my day to go, nor could I have afforded the $250 tickets... but gosh... I'd have probably tried to have snuck in had I known.

All of downtown Nashville was BLUE today -- Titans vs. Colts on Monday Night Football. Traffic got mighty crazy late afternoon. The only Titans game I've ever been to was a Monday night game - when they played the Chiefs. We went dressed in red.

I am feeling better -- thanks for all the nice notes. I'm not sure I'm ever going to feel good, but I'm way improved over the sad pathetic lump I was laying in bed with a fever for 6 days straight! I did the walk Saturday morning... turned out it was a 5 Mile, not a 5k. Big difference. A 1.9 mile difference to be exact. But it was good. Need to find another one to do soon. The Opry Saturday night was also great. You guys inspired me to get off my butt and do all of that on Saturday, so thank you. I'd have felt like I was letting y'all down had I not done those two things.

Photos from both events coming.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I am SuperWoman!

Or is that... Crazy Woman?

Tommorrow's Agenda:

7am - Wake Up
- CHECK
7:45 - Leave My House
- CHECK
8:30 - Meet my Walk Team at LP Field
- CHECK
9:00 - 5k Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk
- Oops... 5 MILES not 5 KILOMETERS....CHECK
2:00 - Set Up for School Festival Booth
- CHECK
4:00 - 7:00 - Pampered Chef Booth
- CHECK
8:00 - Craig Morgan Opry Induction
9:15 - Craig Morgan Press Conference
- CHECK
9:30 - Craig Morgan PARTY
- CHECK -- It's official. I am SuperWoman!

In between... a lot of coughing and hopefully, a nap.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Still Sick...

I'm laying in bed waiting on my latest ShortCuts to upload to the FTP server, and thought I'd check in to tell you I'm still alive. Barely. I don't think I'm ever going to get better. The only real blessing out of this whole thing is that I got a company laptop a few months ago, so I've been able to keep up on everything at work. I'm still at the office at some point every day, but not for as long as usual. By the time I come home at night, I'm completely spent, and I'm immediately in my PJ's crawling into bed.

Been through all kinds of medicines / home remedies / OTC stuff... I probably need a shot so that something might actually stay in my system. It doesn't do any good if you can't keep it down.

Today I'm on self imposed vocal rest. I had a 20 minute conversation yesterday with one of my NY co-workers yesterday that completely blew out my voice. I'm staying home this morning and not talking to anyone. Except y'all! Just writing and editing!

Off now to write a Blake Shelton show... he's cutting a ShortCuts this afternoon and Tracy Lawrence is on live with Storme at 4:30 ET. Lots going on this time of year, I just wish I could enjoy it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sickbed Blogging

Remember back not so long ago... when I said once I got through last week, and then made a trip to the cornfields, that I've have lots of time on my hands to get caught up?

ha. Ha ha. HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAA! hee HEE hee hee HEE ha HA.

Yeah. So that didn't happen.

Much of the reason that didn't happen as I originally thought it would, is a good thing. If you've followed the media reports on my employer this week, I have to tell you, I ain't complaining!

The big main reason though, that I've had no time to blog, is that I've been sick Sick SICK.

OMG, I really wish someone would just shoot me and put me out of my slimy, germy, misery.

Every year in October, I get sick for a couple of weeks. Allergies of some sort. Kind of creeps up on me... then before I know it, I lose my voice and I've spent 2 weeks being miserable.

I guess it's because I was out of the Tennessee Death Bowl last weekend, because when I came back it hit me like a truckload of bricks. I will spare you the details, other than to say that I've been mostly encased in my sickbed, except for the few hours a day I go into the office and inflict my misery on everyone else. My husband has slept downstairs on the couch all week, while I bury myself in 7 or 8 blankets while running a 101.8 degree fever. On the bright side, I've had total control of the remote.

So in the interest of not spreading my sickness to the superstars, I passed on doing a Round Robin with Tim McGraw this week, which I was very disappointed about, as well as attending our ShortCuts taping with Lee Ann Womack.

So I don't really have a lot of scoop to share, other than telling you that Rascal Flatts has been following me. I saw their big ole semi's rolling down the interstate towards Nashville last weekend, and then they were parked outside the arena today. Hope they're not sick, too, they have a big show tonight!

Photos from the Cornfields


Assorted shots taken of the munchkins and the Spoon River Drive.
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Maddie loved the pony rides / Delaynie Face Painting /Baby Ryan mugs for the camera / The best fun in town: climing around Uncle Gary's pickup truck / Matching dresses (I'm so excited!) / Wolfpack Road / Indian on Mt. Pisgah (home of the ladybug swarms / View from Mt. Pisgah / Indian Laynie / The Spoon River / Red Sky at Uncle Doug's Farm / Ellisville x 3 / Maddie and Andrew climing around the bleachers at my old High School

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tim McGraw's Apology

Tim McGraw Apologizes to Fans for Label’s Decision To Release Greatest Hits 3

NASHVILLE – (October 14, 2008)- Curb Records released a third hits package on Tim McGraw last week, a CD that was put into record stores without his involvement. McGraw has been working on a new studio album for over a year and debuted three new songs on this year’s “Live Your Voice Tour.” It was his desire to have the new record out this fall but Curb wanted to release a greatest hits CD to extend McGraw’s recording contract term.

“I am saddened and disappointed that my label chose to put out another hits album instead of new music,” said Tim McGraw. “I’ve only had one studio album since my last hits package. It has to be just as confusing to the fans as it is to me. I had no involvement in the creation or presentation of this record. Sure I love the songs and I don’t want to take anything away from all the creative people who were a part of making those records. But the whole concept is an embarrassment to me as an artist. In the spirit of an election year, I would simply say to my fans ‘I’m Tim McGraw and I don’t approve their message.’”

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Coming Up For Air!

I can breathe again! Woo hoo! I had an incredibly productive day today, following 2 long days. I've put in about 35 hours in the first 3 days this week.

Backtracking a little... we taped a Billy Currington ShortCuts on Monday... turning it around to air on Friday. Huge kudos, by the way, to my buddy Katie over at Mercury Records. It makes a huge difference when I have music and songwriter credits and artist info before I write a show, and they really have their act together over there. Billy's show turned out great -- I put the finishing touches on it late yesterday, which allowed me to write a Driver's Ed with Eli Young Band while watching the debate last night, and then taped the DE show this morning. Schedule is always online at the Highway 16 web page - I just updated them today with new show info, so check it out!

The big thing consuming my time this week though was copious quantities of Kenny Chesney audio. An hour and a half of interview that got chopped up into 24 hours of programming for two channels, to be precise. I don't normally work much with No Shoes Radio, but Kenny's album comes out next Tuesday, so there's TONS of awesome programming headed your way. I just updated that web page today, so hopefully that will get pushed live tomorrow. I don't care if you like Kenny or not, if you're my friend, you're obligated to listen to 30 minutes of No Shoes Radio on Tuesday! :-P

The other thing of interest is that starting next week the Sirius team will start training and working out of the Sommet Center tower. We're all still playing the waiting game to see who has a job and who doesn't, but in the meantime, I've wrapped up my last objective in the new space, which was getting our plaques and things hung on the walls. My work here is complete. I'll have to shoot some more pictures, the place is looking sharp! The flooring that was ruined in our flood last month is getting worked on this weekend, and then we'll be all polished up for the new tenents. I even cleaned my desk today.

Now that I've got all of THAT taken care of, I must go color my hair... it's my last chance before heading to the cornfields.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Music City Motorcade Madness

I've decided that when I grow up, I want to produce Presidential motorcades. Actually, I just want to sit in on the planning session for one sometime. Or better yet, be listening in on the police radios when the command is given for every cop car within 3 miles to flip on their lights at the exact same moment and stop traffic. It's totally cool.

From where I sit -- having witnessed several Motorcade Moments in the past 2 days - the criminals must be getting away with everything this week, because I can't imagine there's an officer in Davidson County doing anything but what the Secret Service asks them to do. Have y'all ever seen one of these motorcades go by? 20+ local police vehicles, a handful of state police, an ambulance, several passenger vans of the same model and a dozen SUV's in a rainbow of colors. Who's paying for all that?

As a way of making this slightly country music related, Kellie Pickler got stuck in a parking lot on Music Row today when 17th was shut down. I was fortunate enough to miss that one by coming in the back alley to the parking garage of the studio where we were all working.

Another thing to add to my list of things to blog about -- what's up with Jack's Tracks? Interesting developments over there lately.

Just finished a Driver's Ed script, headed to bed. Some long days this week, but it will be worth it if I get munchkin time this weekend!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Tonight's View


Workin' late tonight editing my Billy Currington ShortCuts, and Storme Warren walks in. He asks me if Obama or McCain are doing something downtown, because Broadway is all blocked off. Here's what it looks like. Takes me back to the Al Gore days of traffic getting all crazy.

There were about 2 dozen cop cars in a 2 block stretch... it was a little absurd.

I have a secondary reason for dropping Storme's name in my blog... I shall report back on whether it works out or not. ;-)
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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Add this to the list


I know I have a backlog of blogging I haven't been able to get to lately... we need to put the Sunday night Opry at the Ryman to the list. This was a special Opry performance in honor of the Presidential debate this Tuesday here in Nashville at Belmont University, and the majority of performers were Belmont alumni.

I'm hoping my favorite Brad Paisley fan is going to share pictures until I can get back to fill in the details. If y'all will just bear with me through this week while I tackle a To Do list, then I'm off to the cornfields for the weekend, then my schedule looks like it will clear up for a while and we'll have lots of stuff to talk about.

For now, I have to go figure out which streets around Music Row are going to be closed so I can know if I'm going to be able to get to work on Tuesday! Kendel -- help? Can I get down 17th around 11am Tuesday morning?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Bluegrass's Biggest Night

The view from the bradcast booth - Stage Bling - The view from the stage
Kyle w/ Grascals Pre-Show - Marty w/ double award winner Michael Cleveland - Grascals performance - Backstage hall at the Ryman
Vince Gill presenting Entertainer of the Year
XM Crew w/ Daily & Vincent and all their trophies
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

And the Winner Is...

(Video Added At The Bottom)

video


I'm so excited! Kyle gave a great acceptance speech (as you'd expect the Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year to do) and I got to be there with a front row seat. (Which made for great photos)


I'm off now to go change my email signature and business cards...

Joyce Rizer
Producer to the Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year



Blogging For The Cure

I got a lovely email from a woman named Beka, asking me to let y'all know about yet another awesome thing Garth is doing for Susan G. Komen For the Cure. Seriously, is there no end to his Garthy Greatness? In part she says:

Garth donated an item to our Women Rock For The Cure eBay auction. This item was made specifically for our auction and Garth will personally autograph it to the winning bidder. All proceeds are donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure - Greater Nashville.

The auction closes tomorrow 10/3. eBay page: http://myworld.ebay.com/womenrockforthecure

Go check it out -- the pictures she sent were cool... but then imagine it inscribed with YOUR name and Garth's signature! (Or... if you insist... you could have him sign it to me. Your choice...)


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rubbin' Elbows

People I saw in the flesh today:

Taylor Swift
Craig Morgan
All 6 Grascals
Hazel Smith
Jim Lauderdale
Jerry Douglas
Garth Brooks
Trisha Yearwood
John Cowan
Jen

Person who's voice I heard more than any other: Kenny Chesney. I didn't see him in person, but I've spent hours editing audio from him for cool programming around his album release.

When I get done drowning in Chesney and get through IBMA's Thursday night, I'll come back and fill in the blanks - including the story about Taylor reading my blog. :-)

Wall Bling

Kyle has the scoop over on his blog.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

It's not a good thing to look out your window and see this...


I joked that I was drowning in Kenny Chesney audio today... perhaps they're coming to rescue me!
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mr. Big Bucks

I've never understood it when artists put out press releases about the gignormous amounts of money they make, having the highest grossing tour, etc. I'm thinkin' the fans that are scrimping together the money to go to the concert (including parking, a tshirt, a drink) don't want to know that you are rolling around in their hard earned dough.

But that's just me... this press release came out today, so I'll share.

TOBY KEITH IS TOP MALE ON FORBES MUSIC EARNINGS LIST
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) Singer, songwriter and entertainer Toby Keith has been named one of the world's best-paid music stars by Forbes. Keith ranks No. 3 on the list, behind the Police and Beyonce, with $48 million in earnings between June 1, 2007 and June 1, 2008. Following Keith in the top five are Justin Timberlake and Madonna.

Breaking Sirius XM [Good] News!

I don't know how they got it, but since Country Aircheck told everyone, I'm gonna tell you. We officially got word this morning.

BREAKING NEWS
Anthony Upped At Sirius XM: An employee bulletin from Sirius XM SVP/Music Programming Jon Zellner detailing music programming management for the newly merged satcaster reveals XM Senior Country Programmer Jon Anthony has been named VP/Country. Concurrently, Country Aircheck has learned that Sirius Sr. Country PD Scott Lindy will exit the company Friday (9/26). More changes are likely as Sirius XM consolidates its two Nashville operations.

Yay for Jon!!!!

Hot off the Capitol Nashville Press!

NASHVILLE, TN – September 24, 2008 – Capitol Records Nashville recording artist Darius Rucker’s debut country album, LEARN TO LIVE, has hit #1 on Billboard’s “Top Country Albums” chart, as well as #5 on the publication’s overall sales chart, “The Billboard 200”; Soundscan credits LEARN TO LIVE with 60,414 units sold during its first week of release. This career milestone for Rucker, whose voice is synonymous with one of the top-selling bands of all time, Grammy Award-winning Hootie & The Blowfish, arrives the same week that his debut country single “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” hit the top of all three major country industry charts.

Y'all know what this means right? PARTY!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Number ONE!

For a long time, I've been telling you that my favorite song on the radio right now is Darius Rucker - "Don't Think I Don't Think About It." Usually when I love a song, it tanks, LOL. But voila -- Darius is #1 -- the week his album comes out!

Yay for the gang at Capitol - and Hooray for Hootie! Look for him to have big, sales numbers this week. Jessica was #1 Country the week her album came out, but #4 overall. Can Darius beat that?

Stay tuned.

Protecting the Guilty -- Updated

I will be the first to self-deprecatingly joke that I am the Queen of Procrastination. But alas -- I have been dethroned!

We are taping a ShortCuts tomorrow.

I think.

We were told we'd get the interview time to tape a ShortCuts tomorrow. We've made numerous calls and sent emails trying to get a time booked. However, as of 8:09pm (well after the COB) I do not have a bio, talking points, or songwriter credits on the album. Nor do I have a time that this artist is going to be available to come to our studio. So I could very well wake up in the morning and discover we're taping a ShortCuts that I haven't yet written within the hour.

So I shall surrender my crown and my thrown to the record label exec who shall remain nameless. I originally titled this post "Procrastination at a Whole New Level."

But I just renamed it.

Update 10:05 Tuesday Morning... I tracked down someone at the record label to sneak me the bio and songwriter credits... so I've been writing fast and furious... only to be told a few minutes ago that we weren't going to get to cut the show with this artist after all today.

That, my friends, puts us into quite the Programming Pickle.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

FINALLY ! ! !

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - (Sept. 18, 2008) - Sony BMG recording artist Craig Morgan was invited to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry this evening during a special concert for U.S. troops at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The evening was a homecoming of sorts for the singer, who was stationed at Ft. Bragg from 1990 to 1992 during his ten-year active duty tenure in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Morgan will be formally inducted into the Opry family on Sat., Oct. 25.

Seriously... how overdue is this? I remember when Craig did his 100th performance... years ago. We even cut an episode of ShortCuts with him backstage at the Opry a couple of years back. He's totally committed, and plays there more than most members. I am so excited that he finally got the invitation. That, my friends, is the power of SonyBMG.

Yay for Craig!

Bring on the Catfight!

Amy Paige shared this Carrie Underwood gem with me from GACtv.com:

Plenty of artists name either their first or second album after themselves, but Carrie had an aversion to that approach. In fact, it’s doubtful that she’ll ever have a CD that is — as reviewers like to say — eponymous.

"I don't like self-titling things," she told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "I think that's lazy. I mean, they know whose CD it is — the name's right on it. "

I'd comment on this, but I need to go back to working on our World Premiere of Kellie Pickler's self-titled sophomore CD, which is being released on BNA Records... sister label to Carrie's Arista Records. That should make for a fun post-CMA party!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday!

Always better than a Monday, eh? And let me tell ya... my Monday stunk.

TOMORROW however -- you're going to be able to hear my Darius Rucker show -- 3pm ET on Highway 16 -- don't miss it!

SHARON -- I can't find your email address but THANK YOU! Email me please!!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

No Shoes Radio - Live from Indianapolis!

XM Broadcasts Final Stop On Kenny Chesney's Poets & Pirates Tour
No Shoes Radio Goes LIVE from Indianapolis

Kenny Chesney's XM channel, No Shoes Radio (XM-18), will broadcast live from the final stop on the 2008 "Poets & Pirates Tour" in Indianapolis tomorrow (9/13).

In addition to carrying Chesney's entire live concert set, the channel will also host and broadcast a live acoustic concert by Chesney on the "No Shoes Radio Tailgate Party Stage," just outside Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as "Live From The Vibe" backstage reports all day.

Luke Bryan and Brother Trouble -- winners of Chesney's "Next Big Star" competition -- will also perform on the Tailgate Party Stage.

Jon Anthony anchors live from Indy starting at Noon Eastern - Tomorrow on XM 18!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Front Page News

Things still buzzing in Music City... Rascal Flatts NOT getting a CMA Nomination for Entertainer of the Year was front page news in today's Tennessean.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Does this make me a Blowfish?


I am pretty sure Gary has a couple of Hootie albums around here somewhere... I'm going to have to take a listen and hear what Darius sounds like as a rock star. He sure made a great country record!

Who WASN'T Nominated...

The bigger news out of Nashville this morning really didn't seem to be about who got nominated. It's who DIDN'T.

Tim McGraw and Toby Keith nowhere to be found, despite them both actively touring and having hit records. Alison Krauss gets a Female Vocalist nod, but Reba McEntire doesn't? What has Alison done for COUNTRY music?

The buzz up and down Music Row this morning is Rascal Flatts NOT getting an Entertainer of the Year nomination -- despite actively campaigning for one.

And I really am not crazy about this "New Artist of the Year" category name. Especially when you see artists like Jason Aldean and Rodney Atkins in there. The Horizon Award not only sounds more prestigious, it makes more sense. But then again - no one asked me.

Can't wait to read everyone else's thoughts.

CMA Nominees -- The Big 5

ENTERTAINER
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
George Strait
Sugarland
Keith Urban

MALE VOCALIST
Kenny Chesney
Alan Jackson
Brad Paisley
George Strait
Keith Urban

FEMALE VOCALIST
Alison Krauss
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

GROUP
The Eagles
Emerson Drive
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts

ALBUM
“Carnival Ride” – Carrie Underwood
“Cowboy Town” – Brooks & Dunn
“Good Time” – Alan Jackson
“Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates” – Kenny Chesney
“Troubadour” – George Strait

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hangin' with Hootie

We cut an episode of Driver's Ed with Darius Rucker tonight. I've worked with him a couple of times previously -- once out at the ACM's a year and a half ago, and then in a Round Robin a couple of months ago. I was very impressed with how knowledgeable he was about country music.

So tonight when we sat down to cut Driver's Ed... Jon starts going into what the show was...how the new artists are called "Rookie Driver's"... Darius didn't need any of it. I think he knew more about Highway 16 than I did. Turns out he loves the channel.

We cut the show, and it was real high energy... Darius tells great stories... he's very entertaining. And at the end of "class" (he passed!) he tells us he has listened to all these other episodes of Driver's Ed, and kept wondering when in the world we were going to ask him to be on the show. (We learned a long time ago you gotta wait for the CD to be in stores.) I hope he thought it was worth the wait.

He was adorable, and it made for a very nice ending to a very long day. I started writing at 6:30 in the morning, to finish a ShortCuts before I tackled this show... went into the office around 11 and cut 2 shows, the last of which started at 7pm, and I totally missed all of my husband's birthday because I stayed downtown for a meeting that I didn't wind up being in. So as a consolation prize, I got my picture taken with a rock star. (will post it tomorrow)

The show airs starting next Tuesday... highway16.xmradio.com for show dates and times.

The Best of Both (Satellite) Worlds

Today, the company also announced the content line-up for SIRIUS XM’s new “Best of Both” programming options. As part of “Best of Both” programming, most current XM customers will continue to receive their existing XM service, and be able to obtain select SIRIUS programming. Likewise, most current SIRIUS customers will continue to receive their existing SIRIUS service and be able to obtain select XM programming. In addition to their existing service, SIRIUS and XM subscribers will be able to purchase the following channels:

SIRIUS on XM
Howard 100
Howard 101
Martha Stewart Living Radio
SIRIUS NFL Radio *
SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
Playboy Radio

XM on SIRIUS
NBA*
NHL Home Ice *
Oprah & Friends
The Virus
Public Radio with Bob Edwards
College Sports *
PGA Tour

* Sports offerings will also include channels for play-by-play of NBA, NHL, NFL, and College Sports games.

“Best of Both” programming will be available to satellite radio consumers beginning October 6, 2008 on most existing satellite radios at a monthly [total] cost of $16.99. Also, the company’s full slate of new packages will be available to consumers on Oct. 6, including the opportunity to choose programming on an a la carte basis for the first time ever in subscription media.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Country Music's Next Power Couple?

September 8, 2008 (Nashville, TN) The diehard fans of Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton were eager to hear the whispers, then shouts, through the country halls about a select few shows this summer where the power-duo performed together. An “experiment” at first – for the twosome it meant a guaranteed way to spend time together performing the music they love – much in tradition of Johnny & June and George & Tammy. Fans across the country responded, asked for more, and this October 3, they will deliver as they embark on their first ever co-headlining tour.

"For obvious reasons, Miranda and I have wanted to tour together for a while now. We wanted to do something special that nobody else can pull off,” Blake remarked. “The result is a unique show packed full of music and energy that will leave people wondering what the hell is going to happen next.”

The upcoming concert dates will feature special seamless shows with each artist’s band providing accompaniment. Miranda will take fans from the early days of “Me & Charlie Talking” to the fist pumping “Gunpowder & Lead” while Blake fans can expect the gamut from his number one singles, “Austin,” “The Baby,” “Some Beach,” and “Home” to the rowdy “The More I Drink” and fan favorite “Ol’ Red.” An intimate acoustic set by Blake and Miranda will be nestled in-between and each show will conclude as both artists and their bands reunite on-stage for the show’s energetic finale. Sure to be a highlight of each evening will be a live rendition of Blake’s number one single, “Home,” which features Miranda’s soulful vocals. And don’t think for one second the duo won’t throw in some left-of-center covers, witty stage banter and maybe even a few more curveballs.

"I've always thought that Blake is one of the greatest artists in country music and he brings such a dynamic presence to his performances,” Miranda professed. “Pairing up for these shows will not only be fun for us, but I think it's going to be an amazing show for the fans. Anytime you play with a great artist it makes you strive to be even better...and we will do that every night."

The couple’s tour will support Miranda’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the ACM’s reigning Album of the Year, and Blake’s Pure BS Deluxe album.

Miranda just released her latest single “More Like Her” which is currently at radio across the country and Garden and Gun Magazine made her their Sept/Oct cover girl. For more Miranda be sure to tune in tonight for the CMA Music Festival Special 2008 at 9 p.m. Eastern / 8 p.m Central on ABC.

Blake’s current single, “She Wouldn’t Be Gone,” is the lead from his upcoming studio album due in early 2009 and is the follow-up to his most recent number one hit, “Home.”


Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert On Tour*

Date City Venue On Sale
October 3 Richmond, VA Virginia State Fair Now
October 10 Cape Girardeau, MO Show Me Center 9/6
October 11 Pikeville, KY Eastern Kentucky Expo Center 9/13
October 17 Phoenix, AZ Arizona State Fair 9/6
October 18 Primm, NV Star of the Valley Resort & Casino 9/23
October 23 Waterloo, IA McElroy Auditorium 9/27
October 24 Lacrosse, WI Lacrosse Center 9/27
November 8 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center 10/4
*more dates to be added soon

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Blogging From Grundy County

Well I went down to the Grundy County Auction
Where I saw something I just had to have

Ok, technically I am not still in Grundy County. But I did spend the weekend there. (No time to blog while I was there.) And every time I thought about it, that song went through my head.
My life IS a country song.
What did you do this weekend? Did you listen to the Jessica Simpson ShortCuts?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

And Her Little Dog Too!


Columbia Nashville recording artist Jessica Simpson spent time in the new XM Nashville Headquarters recently to tape the XM World Premiere of her forthcoming country album Do You Know. The exclusive conversation between Simpson and XM’s Jon Anthony will air this weekend on Highway 16 ShortCuts, which features all eleven songs on the CD.
Topics covered during the extensive interview range from what she found to be the hardest thing to deal with when she came to Nashville to write, her charity work, her USO tours, and how Dolly Parton came through for her during a very tough time.
The first airing of Highway 16 ShortCuts is this Friday at 2pm ET on XM’s Highway 16, XM Radio Online and DirecTV Channel 814.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What would you take?

Imagine you turned on the television and your mayor was telling you to "get your butt out" of town. You had a few hours to pack up 2 suitcases worth of stuff and get on a plane. What would you take?

I walked into church this morning and my heart just broke. Our church is one of 3 in Nashville that was a Red Cross shelter for Gustov evacuees - and they sent us 2 more busloads than we had capacity to house. People were laying in the hallways, kids sleeping on suitcases, it was wall to wall people. They'd traveled all night and arrived in the early hours of the morning.

Fortunately the overflow was soon loaded back up and bussed out to MTSU. But there are about 200 people who now call our gymansium "home." They have no idea how long they will be there. They packed 3 or 4 days worth of clothes. And by mid afternoon they were bored silly.

So we went home and gathered up a bunch of board games, old magazines, construction paper and crayons. My daughter and I made a Dollar General run and bought some crossword puzzle books and word searches. We returned to the church and set up a kids area with videos and just listened to people tell their stories.

I'm blessed to be part of an amazing church that just opens their doors and takes care of people. From ESL classes to JFON clinics to housing for traveling youth groups, our congregation truly does live out the United Methodist slogan of "Open Minds. Open Hearts. Open Doors." But no matter how many people we had up there working to feed, clothe, and clean our guests, no one could give them what they really needed. We couldn't tell them where their friends and family were. We didn't know who had gotten out and who had stayed behind. We couldn't give them the comfort that everything and everyone was going to be ok back home.

So we wait. And while we wait we listen, we play, we encourage and we pray.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mixing Music and Politics

One kid dreams of fame and fortune
One kid helps pay the rent
One could end up going to prison
One just might be president

In response to the Democratic Convention’s use last night of Brooks & Dunn’s song, “Only in America,” the duo’s Kix Brooks offered the following statement:

“Seems ironic that the same song Bush used at The Republican Convention last election would be used by Obama and the Democrats now. Very flattering to know our song crossed parties and potentially inspires all Americans.”

Kix Brooks - Brooks & Dunn

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Protecting The Guilty - Including Me!

I have to tell you about the lunch I was invited to today. But in the interest of Protecting the Guilty, who really was mostly innocent, I'm not going to name names.

First off, I wasn't actually invited. One of my co-workers was, and I thought I was going in their place, but they went too. So really, I had no business being there. Ok. I crashed it. (Does it count as crashing if you call ahead and tell them you're crashing? I have no idea.)

Anyway. So lunch was at a very nice Italian restaurant. I don't usually do italian... but a free lunch is a free lunch when you're broke and awaiting to get downsized. So I'm not complaining. It was a media lunch, for an artist who's been off the radar for a while, and is now back on the scene with an Indy record deal. Lunch, an acoustic performance, and a round robin.

Well this lunch took FOREVER. AND EVER. (AMEN? - And no, it wasn't with Randy Travis.) We were there 40 minutes before we even ordered. And then it took light years to get our first course. Seriously, we got there at noon and didn't get dessert until 1:45. We had one waiter taking care of about 18-20 of us. And apparently, they had to grow the lettuce.

So during all this down time, you would think the artist would be making the most of it... shaking hands, kissing babies, talking to the assembled media. No. They were sitting at a corner table with their back to us, talking to their band members. Why were we there again? Oh yeah. Free lunch.

Now, I really like this particular artist. Which is why I'm not mentioning their name. And the people working with this artist are also very nice people. Just the fact that they thought to provide us lunch, unlike many other folks who schedule Round Robins right over the lunch hour with not even so much as a bottle of water, gives them bonus points. But there were definitely some things that could have been executed better. (Yes, I backseat produce EVERYTHING!) And I would never give this restaurant my business again.

To add insult to injury, the restaurant was nearly dead empty except for us. Can't imagine why. ..

We wound up having to leave before the Round Robin to get back to the studio for another session. So I crashed the event and didn't even get good audio out of it. That will teach me!

Believe it or not, that was not the most interesting part of my day...

Back in the office that afternoon, my cell phone rang. It was someone pitching me an interview with a brand new artist I've never heard of before. We had a lengthy, informative conversation about the process for getting artists booked on Highway 16. And as all conversations do these days, it made its way around to the merger. He was very kind, asking if my job would be ok (don't know), when I'd know (fairly soon), how the channels would be affected (can't speak to that either), and whether the Sirius folks would be moving into our new facilities (yes). As others have, he gave me best wishes, told me I did great work, he's enjoyed calling on me all these years and was sure I'd be fine because the cream always rises to the top. Told me to let him know if I needed anything. It was a lovely conversation, not unlike others I seem to be having about once a day these days. Except for one problem...

I have absolutely no idea who this person is, nor do I have any recollection of having talked to him before in my whole entire life.