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it's for the Hip-Cool Country Crowd....
By Jimmy Carter
 
I'm still processing the CMT Music Awards ... I loved the opening with Taylor Swift/T-Pain and loved the B-52's & Sugarland. With that said, what rules of operation is Country Music under these days?

Sales for the labels have to be the top of any decision. Demographics for a cable network like MTV are everything. Country radio used to target women in the middle someplace. Is Country radio now focusing on my 12-year-old or my wife? I don't have that answer -- and it looks like most people don't, either.

If the CMA survey is right about the lack of broadband Internet usage (50% have it at home), these are even more confusing times. What a huge tent "Country" music operates under! From T-Pain and Thug Story to Def Leppard to way over to the right and Jamey Johnson/Josh Turner/Alan Jackson. Kid Rock is everywhere you look, from BamaJam to CMT. Are we really THAT diverse? Has the iPod generation come to Country or is it just what TV wants to show? I don't know!

The CMA/Music Fest looked younger than in the old days of Fan Fair, but the CMT show was 25 median. They were a hot bunch going into that Sommet Center. Try to get a snapshot of Country today ... you can't ... you would have to shoot the Earth from the Hubble!

You saw people camping out this week for Tim McGraw tickets in Pennsylvania, but you had to wonder: Were they unable to go online since they don't have broadband, or were they camping out for social reasons? The high-tech Twitter/Facebook crowd vs. the drugstore magazine and Sunday newspaper feature. This is very confusing.

You watch a show like CMTs and it looks like George Strait never happened ... Chesney and even Underwood declined ... M & G or B & D were not around ... Blake and Miranda were out ... No classic people like Jones or even a Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. I was told on Facebook, CMT's award show was for the "hip-cool Country crowd". OH ... that's it.

I'm not hip or cool, BUT I liked the look of the CMT show ... No one can say their awards show LOOKS better. Lighting/set ... first team/first class. The sizzle is always first with CMT. Is the SOUND mixing not a part of that HIP thing? Or, was there some unseen problem that happened? The audience could give a crap if something happened. The sound was awful on the first-hour entertainers, including a total sound drop-out during Taylor Swift's 2nd-hour feature. Mistakes happen, but this show sounded terrible and it wasn't just at my house.

Hip and cool ... The CMA/ACM shows verses the CMT; it is amazing how different the three shows can be. Different missions, but all three have really nothing to be ashamed of. The standard award show is dead or dying. This CMT one didn't reinvent anything; they just kept it youthful (Nick/MTV for Country fans). I'm glad Keith and Brad are still hip & cool. Trace made the cut, as did Toby, so the A-list tour folks still have some CMT cool factor.

Now to the CMT master control: The commercials were so loud you had to mute. Not sure whom to blame that one on. It was call the FCC bad!

Back to the confusion the front offices must have. If half of ALL Country revenue is female 25-39, married, white and living in small towns, the CMT focus seems mis-targeted. Wal-Mart is one of the biggest sellers of Country music. Is CMT a Wal-Mart kind of network? Maybe it is ... again, who knows these things or anything anymore!

You would like to think that everyone is right. The hip-cool CMT crowd, the semi-hip GAC crowd and then everyone else. It's just like I hope the Feds know what they are doing with the carmakers and banks. Otherwise we are so screwed!

Holly Williams on Conan is sort of the first Country act. Country pedigree maybe, but the first adventure in Country for Conan in the first two weeks? Hank Jr.'s new CD is out and he's shooting the Monday Night Football opening Monday June 22nd and 23rd in Nashville.

Brad twittered again (Remember, he was the big winner at the CMTs, so he must be "hip and cool"). Brad thanked the fans for sitting in 95-plus degree heat in St Louis. It is hot in those amphitheaters ... very hot ... the folks at the Urban/Sugarland shows were so much more comfortable at the arena in Charlotte.

Alan Jackson and the late Roy Orbison getting stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is very cool!

The Jonas Brothers are playing Cowboy Stadium Saturday, June 20th. Larry King with the trio was very revealing. The boys seem very smart and have Country music on their radar a little bit. A fiddler has been added and the young one recently hung out with Paisley. Kevin says Country is his music of choice.

See the story about two groups of men fighting after a Dallas Rascal Flatts show. "Jake" Fleming knocked out cold during a fight with a bunch of 20-somethings; the UCLA tennis player in a coma and other folks who did it on the loose; groups of men fighting after a Rascal Flatts show, very odd.

Miley was making folks happy at a Tybee Island, GA where she's making a film. Ms. Cyrus sang a bit at a restaurant for the fans; she's shooting dawn to dusk. The restaurant is called Sting Ray's in case you are there this summer.

Zac Brown shooting a live DVD in Atlanta in October (12.7 million plays for them on MySpace.) ... Keith shooting a video at a Midwest stop. Sugarland is selling a live DVD only at Wal-Mart. As the BIG TENT concept continues, expect a warm welcome for Smash Mouth lead Steve Harwell. He's been working on a debut Country CD. Timing is everything and this should be the time. Remember we have a big tent of Kid Rock to Little Jimmie Dickens and everything in between. I think.

Note: New iPhone is thin and cool from a short rest. The Sirius app on iPhone does NOT include Howard Stern and NASCAR!


New Media Smokes the Old....Radio Stays Game..
By Jimmy Carter in Wisconsin at Country USA
 
I covered the breaking news of Elvis Presley's death live of WHHY-Montgomery on that hot August day in 1977. I had an wire machine with bells ringing, a phone line with an Ampex reel to reel tape recorder and the ABC radio network. The day changed my life..a future boss was riding through town and stopped at a pay phone to call his TV station in Nashville to ramp up their coverage. He listened to out updates and bulletins over the AM radio air.

Thursday I covered the death of Michael Jackson after a tip on Facebook....updates on Twitter. I had a hard phone line and an Iphone monitoring tweets. My social network coverage smoked the traditional TV coverage which was slow and terrible for hours.

I updated radio via phone while continuing to update twitter and facebook. The late midday and afternoon drive folks got it overall...some were scared of the story. Some just didn't answer the hotline since no one works at the stations that actually breath. The good stations I work with mostly had it going. Check out this column written by All Access editor Perry Simon... This week was a watershed moment again for the new and old media Perry's column got it right.:

Where were you when you heard Elvis died? Or Princess Diana? For a lot of people of a certain age, Thursday was one of those days. But for Michael Jackson's death, radio and television weren't the primary way a lot of people got the news. In fact, TMZ.com had the story before everyone, and was out there on a limb alone for a while before other news organizations confirmed it. A few observations about that:

1. Practically everyone was careful to note that until there was confirmation from a more trusted source, like an established news organization, one shouldn't assume the news of Jackson's death to be true. That says a lot about the value of an "old media" news brand, even in the new media era. (And the trustworthiness of sites perceived as "real news" versus "gossip sites," but that's another topic)

2. Nevertheless, the first place a lot of people seemed to go this time was to the Internet. The exchanges on Facebook and Twitter were where news was being disseminated, and where conversations were being held.

That second point is something radio should be looking at. People have more choices on where to go for breaking news, and for a place to talk about and commiserate over events. And since that's the world you live in now, you have to answer this question:

When the news started breaking, and people were tuning in to your station to find out what was going on, did you have the information? Did they immediately get the latest?

If the answer was no... yeah, well, see, that's a problem.

The argument here isn't over whether the media overreacted to the news of Michael Jackson's death. It's about what your listeners want, expect, and need from you. With all the talk about wanting to reach people under the age of Medicare, this was a perfect example of a story that hit the sweet spot. People who were in high school when "Thriller" came out are in their mid- to upper-thirties today. To them, Michael Jackson was Elvis. He was iconic, whether they were big fans or just casual consumers. Add to that the controversy and just plain weirdness of his life in the intervening years, and you didn't have to be a radio genius to see that it was time to drop everything else and talk about this one for a while, whether you liked him or not.

Perry went on with more and find it ver in the News/Talk section...Country radio today now has listeners and artists who were all over MJ growing up. The later years Michael gets some folks to despise him. People actually clapped at the news at the festival I am attended...Not everyone but a few...but even with a few, HORRIBLE!

Watch digital slaes for MJ music break records...he will be the hot pop music pick at all the online sites..

Farrah dying,Ed...a bad week...Next week I'll give some thoughts on the new Taylor Swift show I saw this week in Oshkosh. Brad Paisley's new show and cd...

But right now..it's a hot summer in June and it feels a lot like that hot Summer day in 1977 when I was playing Peace in the Valley at the opening of my 5pm news...

PS:Can the FCC or somebody go after the cable networks and systems who can NOT control the sound level of the commercials...it is awful to keep having to mute and unmute..


The Show That Never Ends...CMA MusicFest/Fan Fair Week...
Day 1 OF CMA FANSFEST   JIMMY CARTER 6/8/09
 
Starts on Monday calmly with a Lonestar charity bowling tournament ... then goes into fan club parties and some special events. Then the official CMA Festival begins with a 10a concert and its 20 hours a day until midnight Sunday. Take one day off for clean-up and travel and you have the CMT Music Awards on Tuesday the 16th.

Publicists, for one, are walking dead. Many of the artists lose their voices and Blake Shelton told Larry King he would probably be getting the swine flu.

One radio bunch always goes on vacation this week ... a tradition. I did that a few times. Can't really go now, but it is a crazy week.

Fain Fair Week is not exactly my idea of fun but the fans that show up do seem to love it. The sweat and $20 dollar parking multiple times is aggravating.

The autograph areas seem more popular this year and that's a good thing for fans. The weather is still awful ... as it is every year. So far this year the threat of tornadoes shut the big stadium show down for a few hours with Rascal Flatts never going on. The humid and heat of the opening parade was Africa-like. It's an iron-man fan competition with every kind of corporate sponsor you could imagine.

You could see a bit of the economy with the radio remotes, but many still made it and every new act with a record deal were in front of the microphones. You have to force yourself to remember Garth and Shania were once no-names, too. Reba got busy this year and she got a good bit of coverage.

What's all this Garth Brooks Vegas talk? He's going to the Encore for some special shows? What about all the other Fall special events he is rumored to do? Maybe just that rumor. The Vegas thing does appear to be real in some way.

The Bonnaroo festival would be fun to check out if you could. Can't afford the $1,400-a-pair VIP-level tickets. Jimmy Buffett, The Boss and Phish top the bills just down I-24 from Nashville in Manchester.

Went downtown this week to visit the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. A trip down memory lane for sure -- visited with Larry & Steve Gatlin and Donna Fargo. The walls are filled with vintage album covers. Too-cool reminder of a simpler time.

Carrie Underwood took care of her fans this week, as did many other stars. Carrie used the big Opry House for her thousands. WWW.askjimmycarter.com has her in full running mode at the celebrity softball game. I do blog now, too, at the top of the website and it has a B for blogger -- updates several times a day.

Blake Shelton's music keeps getting better. He was a funny guy on Larry King Live from Nashville Thursday night. CNN did shows Thursday and Friday night. Impressive effort with LIVE stadium cut-ins, etc. Where was CMT during all this? The building sits in the middle of the event and not even a live camera out the door. Maybe the talking heads were unacceptable.

The mysterious, quiet Gary Allan talked a bunch at this fan club show held at Rockettown. Gary said no one asked him to play the stadium shows and his new CD would be in the Fall. Dale Jr. and Chevy were supposed to use his song "Like It's a Bad Thing" and they cancelled due to economy.

R.I.P. Barry Beckett! Great session guy who played with everyone from Dire Straits to Hank Williams, Jr. Played on Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" and hundreds of others.

Twitter is better used by some stars than others. Miley is all over it ... Billy, too. Martina and Dierks are two of country's best tweets. Several others just plain stink.

Looking forward to heading north to Camrose, Alberta, Canada for the Big Valley Jamboree in late July. Tim McGraw is the headliner. Still working on my Country USA plans ... those festivals are a blast!

Now back to more CMA MusicFest as a regular person this year. Wanted to try with no special favors or passes ... It's pretty hard ... lots of walking and heat. Took my 12-year-old ... not sure what she thinks of all this ... will advise....


Everything Changes ... Holding On and Holding Your Breath
5/30/09
 
I had to cut off a talk show today. Just too negative. It's like drinking poison. I needed that drink this week of George Strait music.

That show was a total audience winner, but didn't score in the young demos. Has there been a time since the late 1960s that demos were such a radical position.

I saw where the voiceover guy for WLS-TV was canned after years of doing it for a younger sounding guy from LA. Probably cheaper, too. Change is a good thing sometime, but not everything at one time.

You check out a show like the Jamey Johnson show at the Ryman. What a talented guy! Old School, but hip at the same time. Brad Paisley's music is brilliant. The new CD is one of the best CDs I've heard in a long time.

Back to the George Strait salute. Everyone did such a great job. The most honest tribute show in maybe a generation. The sing-alongs by the audience were real and true to heart. It was two hours of dessert! Great job to everyone involved. You wonder why they didn't offer a radio simulcast. Maybe that's not hip anymore.

The Internet is such a weapon of great power and also of mass destruction. The positives are so obvious as a communications tool. The damage it has done to the newspaper and record businesses is mind boggling. Of course, it's the people who do the damage -- not the wires and computers, but you get the picture.

I love the Internet. I hate the idiots who can ruin a good person's reputation with a keystroke. The bad news, the reckless news, the keyboard hacks can spread gossip at the speed of light and put in people's minds ideas that can never be washed away.

Anyone can be a journalist covering Country music or anything else ... there is no license in America. Nor should there be. You wish there was a way of people policing the gossip spreaders, though. Been doing this a long time and I don't make up stories ... I think most people don't really just make things up; they just get things screwed up. Report things they have no real idea of ... and don't understand the true consequences of their words.

The next big concert event is BamaJam; I'm hearing good things on ticket sales. On a few events, I don't hear good things. There is only so much money in the bank for folks this summer. Glad to see people are still having a huge time at the Kenny shows.

Taylor Swift, "superstar ... that's how an AP article described her this week. Kind of took me back. I guess she fits that description, though. The media wheel for the 19-year-old is red-hot. "Dateline" on NBC Sunday at 7p ET takes it to another level. At the "Today" show, that crowd was all 'tweens and girls her age. I doubt many in that crowd watched the news segments of that show. Chasing the kids. The media bosses think that is the way to go ... maybe it is.

Kris Allen will be a contemporary Christian singer within three years. Took me a little bit to come up with that prediction. It is the most honest music for him. All of those "Idols"l this year had a very high opinion of themselves. Maybe too high.

Get well, Kellie Pickler ... she has bronchitis. I still think she can become a big star!

See where Darius Rucker has his own iPhone application? I love my iPhone.

More concert tours go out in the next week or so ... Brad, then Toby.

Summer is here in Nashville. It just needs to stop raining! The car business MUST stablilize and the bosses at all businesses must start thinking about treating their employees with some kind of decency. Never seen employee morale so low. The times are tough but you can't chop the heads off of everyone and have anything left. I hope these times are settling down...

Need more George Strait love-ins like the other night. It was such a two-hour positive, peace-filled, love-filled show.


The are stressful days...TGIF...
May 1, 2009   Jimmy Carter
 
Could there be any more stress this week? The flu scare on top of one group's unpaid days off and another's continued downsizing! Don't know anyone not emotionally connected to some stressful event in April.

Death, taxes and crazy weather. The return of knee socks and Michelle Obama's $ 500 tennis shoes.

This world is, as we have seen, simply the stuff of bad dreams. It's not all doom and gloom, but there were tears, fear and despair among more than a few broadcast media TV & Radio this week.

Firings at WBBM-TV/Chicago to hundreds at various Clear Channel radio stations. Over 1,000 broadcasters put on the street in the last few days. Can't see how all or most of these people will ever find broadcast work. It's the ugly reality: There are only so many slots in a perfect world and those slots are shrinking.

Replacements? New and cheaper or maybe syndicated folks. The syndicated show model has a shot at working if it's a Ryan Seacrest, but most of these things fail when you trot them out locally. The novelty wears off ... the local public is NOT served and poof, you are done.

For every Rush Limbaugh, how many _________ have you heard? There are even fewer examples outside morning-drive shock jocks and cornpone-named country programs.

The very few genre-specific shows, such as Tom Joyner and Howard Stern, are/were basically talk shows. Music-driven syndicated shows? Who is going to make an appointment to hear them? No one ... but from a money standpoint it may be the only way to achieve a lower overhead.

I still contend if listeners want a jukebox with some out-of-town guy reading liner cards, they will listen at work to Pandora and not have to put up with the liner cards and commercials.

Sales people who can't sell, off-air PDs who spend their time doing God knows what. Off-air music directors. Those days are gone and gone forever, you would think.

It's back to the basics. For radio, TV and Music Row. (I think the record companies have fired everyone they can fire and still function.) Radio is close to ground zero and TV is executing anchors on a daily basis. (On a side note: Aage discrimination is a huge factor in getting rid of people in all of these broadcast firings. In TV, the older, more experienced, high-paid folks are out or are going out. Tenure and longevity in TV markets seem to mean little to nothing. For now, radio seems to be ignoring that trend.

If we don't all croak from the flu and keep our jobs for a while longer, we all better be keeping up with technology.

Radio folks who I know are pretty good at this. TV people ... maybe a little worse, but still good. It's the Music Row people falling down here.

Not the execs, really; it's the artists! The ones who should be in sync with their customers. A few of the artists get it. Taylor Swift should be all the school anyone needs. I do not understand how any signed artist can not have a frequently updated web site ... not to mention My Space and Facebook -- and on their OWN do a Twitter and blog. I know a few who still don't e-mail or even answer their cell phones.

You need help and it takes time, but this is the FUTURE as far as anyone can tell. Social networking is more than a term; it's a lifestyle. The 50-plus and 30-below women are all over this stuff. Others will catch up.

I can name some very big artists who are going to regret their decisions to ignore these products, or simply hire someone to update them with canned sounding comments. These kids -- and I, for that matter -- know the difference ... or you see it very shortly.

On the positive ledger side, t is great to see Brook & Dunn in Australia with Dierks Bentley. International is virgin territory. Taylor off to the U.K. next week is the right thing, too...

Chuck Wicks off DWTS is a good thing for both of them ... enough already ... it served its purpose. Chuck is now known by every woman in America, but who let him wear that leotard? Are other men watching going to say, "Yes" to a show that has you do that?

Kellie Pickler is opening for Taylor, but the reviews early on focus on the very bright bulb headlining. I hope she is cutting through with the fans in person. Love this girl! Kellie is a vegan now, by the way. Says she feels better than ever .

The Derby seems to have lost some luster this year. The Miss USA pageant got horrible ratings. Everything is changing. What worked in the past doesn't necessarily anymore. Taylor Hicks going country with his new song? I don't think so...

Clint Black still getting a beating on "Celebrity Apprentice." What will his lasting image effect be from this show for him?

NBC just renewed "The Apprentice" for another season.

I am sad for the folks who lost their jobs ... sick for them ... very sad....


Best To Soon Get A Tech Lesson!

Jimmy Carter in Ft. Lauderdale
 
If you want to make your head spin, go the NAB in Las Vegas. I was back for the first time in a few years. It is very simple: The technology speedway is damn fast and overwhelming. For dual-career path people in radio and television, the future is here and more of that future is on the way, economy or not -- the software the nanotechnology, the 3D, HD, every kind of d.

The folks out there are technology polarized by age, race, sex, you name it. In pure age, you better figure out now how to get on Facebook because it's hard to find a below-25er not on it. The fastest growing group in 50-plus females! MySpace is there, too, but losing out to Facebook.

This does not appear to be a fad. The idea of social networking will only get simpler. The things you will be able to do with digital still cameras and small HD ones will impact Facebook and radio. Just watched a story on Playboy shooters in Nashville and the story was VIDEO only on the Nashville newspaper!

Home 3D TV is in the future, too. Sat through an extensive demonstration at Sony. It is high-definition and 3D ... sat through an editing demo, too ... gave me a headache. And yes, you wear the glasses when editing too...

Lights, video, remote trucks ... everything is smaller and more portable. Video walls instead of video monitors ... LED lights instead of the hot tungsten ... small high-quality video cameras.

Streaming video from your radio station or tour bus is coming....directly to Facebook and coming soon......

The app business is huge as well....Love my IPhone and that is only going more high tech as is the Blackberry and other smart phones.

Taylor Swift is on top of everyone in this high-tech race ... .she has 84 million profile views on My Space and 304,000 followers on Twitter. Her headliner show is on opening weekend and sounds fantastic. She plays more than a half-dozen musical instruments and more than a half-dozen costume changes. (Mandrell influence -- a CASTLE appears lit by over a million lumens of light. And on and on ... she is the gal of the moment.)

The PR effort matches the first-class everything that's involved with Taylor. Got great quality stills this morning in e-mail ... Everyone can learn from how they are doing this act!

No Leno for Brad Friday night ... Jay was in the hospital for possible food poisoning.

CMA Music Festival's lineup has come together ... That first night is very strong, with a big closing night to go along with it. BamaJam's lineup is strong and ready and the STICKS festival people may have dodged a bullet getting out of that rookie festival alive and in one piece.

The huge Stagecoach festival in Indio, CA is this weekend and they should be praying for some cool Pacific air because that desert may be a hot one this weekend..

Vegas now has the NASCAR champions at the Wynn December 4th -- same time as the rodeo finals. Goodbye, NYC, which didn't know what to think about NASCAR anyway.

Miss California got a standing ovation at the DOVE awards last night at the Opry House. Carrie Prejean is she the next big thing ... or the next Joe the Plumber?


When A Friend Dies....
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville
 
I can't remember anything that happened this week. It's been that kind of mind-numbing week. My friend Dan Miller died.

Tim McGraw, Charlie Daniels, Marty Stuart, Reba, Vince and the whole town knew WSMV-TV and former TNN host Dan Miller. Dan anchored the top newscasts in Nashville from 1969 to Wednesday night, when he collapsed from a heart attack and died in Augusta, GA.

Dan was visiting his hometown and was taking a walk in his old neighborhood when he suffered the fatal heart attack. He had not been sick and showed a little lack of wind earlier in the day, but nothing really.

I produced Dan in news and entertainment shows. We did a show called Miller & Co. and several others. The newscasts and other shows were all #1s It was fun every time we worked .... .Went to a Super Bowl in San Diego -- like going on a trip with my big brother. Words have been difficult to come by this week.

The funeral is Tuesday,April 14th. A real loss for Music City. Please check out www.wsmv.com for the complete story with video.

I do remember Keith Urban making it to #1 on the charts after I read in another publication that Prine was #1. Billboard says #1, so we go with that.

John Rich's house that is under construction got a lot of comment. (see www.askjimmycarter.com)> John also announced he was suing a "Nashville Star" contestant, Jared Ashley, for defamation.

Miley and Billy Ray have been everywhere, including Nashville this week. New movie out today. It's rated G and some 11-year-olds want to see it.

Doug Stone got thrown in jail in Panama City after a fight with his son, Dustin. Jason Aldean had a big week. 400,000 downloads for "She's Country" ringtones. Sugarland opening their tour in Atlanta and away they go. Oprah having Sugarland, Kenny and Darius on Tuesday, the 14th. Rascal Flatts on "Dancing With The Stars" Tuesday night.

Rascal Flatts should have #1 CD this coming week.

BamaJam now has some $99 tickets ... Sticks festival is coming up next weekend ... not sure how that is going; we hear all kinds of things. Economy and lots of rainy weather would make ANY promoter nervous in the South about an outdoor show!

All this technology is really changing the ways things go...

Got a Twitter message from Ryan Seacrest about a good L.A. car chase ... saw it thanks to that alert ... I am on there; go to www.twitter.com -- ask jimmycarter - it's pretty cool and IN, so get with it..

Same for Facebook ... 200 million has of this week ... www.facebook.com askjimmycarter.

You don't really have a choice. I'm blogging to and on CISN-FM Edmonton's site, The Wolf in Denver and others.. it's http://askjimmycarter.blogspot.com/2009/04

It's enough to make your head fly off. Lots of very bad, wrong reporting in the Internet world, so be careful.


Sad But True ... Still Not Right...
Jimmy Carter on the road in Macon, GA
 
Raining here in Georgia, here in the home of Little Richard and the Allman Brothers ... Macon, GA. The cemetery where Duane Allman is buried is nearby.

Maybe it was how I was raised, but I respect the people who make contributions to whatever the business is...

I am a proud graduate of the University of Alabama, "Bear" Bryant and the football ghosts who roam my old campus. My brother Harold is buried at Arlington National cemetery; try to go there and not think of who rests on those hallowed grounds.

With that big set-up ...I don't like the idea that Country award shows have become basically an infomercial for the current sales product. I understand the business but still don't like what these shows have come ... The CMA. too ... especially in the hands of ABC. A network with NO Country music heritage.

I live in the present. I want these shows to reflect NOW. But why can't "now" show some respect to the people who made "now" possible?

Miley Cyrus made the rundown ... that's actually okay with me; it will hopefully bring in some new people/kids to the format. With that said, the Grammys always show respect while pushing today's product. BB King is always in and this year, there was The Four Tops. Urban played with Al Green and that was the coolest segment on the show.

Why can't a Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard, the late Jerry Reed, Randy Travis and other "off-camera" winners be given equal respect? I don't mean giving them a bunch of time, but working them in to the current. If the present-day stars have no interest in doing that, we have another problem altogether.

To the top flavors of NOW, you will be treated the same in a few years if this doesn't get stopped soon ... simple as that...

I want it all ... why can't this business do what Rock seems to do better....that's CRAZY!

ACM week is here ... hopefully it will be like the "Idol" and help sales......

Lots of excitement around about the Urban tour ... .hear it a lot. Taylor Swift's fame right now is amazing ... in the Shania world for sure. Her tickets are going so fast ... the ONLY worry is ever so slight -- I pray someone is watching out for overexposure and personal burnout.

"Idol" has no Country hope this year ... or so it seems.... I've got to get back in the Georgia rain....


When We Get Where We Are Going...
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville    3/23/09
 
Spring break is underway for some, done for others, and musically it's had some highlights. All highlights from where I stand/sit.

Taylor Swift playing tonight at the Houston Livestock show and rodeo; 70,000-plus screaming girls as this tall girl singer keeps on getting big scrapbook pages for her senior years.

What an exciting year for everyone involved with Taylor. Around the world she has impressed, with the Aussies the latest to fall under her spell. She does need to get some new subjects to talk about in interviews. The girl is about interviewed-out on all the routine stuff. Need to reinvent that as we move forward.

Spring is a renewal time with Nashville now in full tree bloom and everyone is itching and sneezing from the mass of tree pollen. Jennifer Nettles in Europe has endured some voice issues and Willie Nelson is presently on the sick list, canceling shows.

Spring with music like keith urban is in full bloom. They are running him to clubs before the tour/TV circuit begins. I discovered ILIKE this week. Interesting music web site. Not sure what the point is but I went and heard a few of keith's new songs and they are very commercial.

Chesney has burned up the Spring break season with shows in Tuscaloosa, Nashville, Panama City and Key West. A video shoot in Miami had him showing off his baldness to the watchful eyeballs of the paparazzi. I hope Kenny will loosen up with the press as time goes on. He is such a wonderful entertainer with very little else if anything to prove. He is the best at what he does!

The L.A./N.Y. publicists serving many of our Nashville brands are not and do not serve them that well. Take the LeAnn Rimes situation this week. That sure doesn't feel controlled to me. US Magazine and its co-conspirators sold her out. Who was running that? Or is this the ultimate staged PR event? Some think so. Regardless, not well-handled. Adultery has been the subject of many Country songs, so we shall see how this plays out. I hope someone is in charge.

I don't get the publicity controls on Urban and Faith Hill. No cameras here ... no cameras there. Rules for this. Rules for that. How did Bob Hope EVER survive his career without all these rules? This singer can't take questions here, can't take questions there ... what's that about?

Nashville has never treated things that way until the "big time" PR people came in the last 10 years and started putting Hollywood controls in place. Country music is not a Hollywood feature film. Or at least it shouldn't be ... relaxxxxxxxx.......

The stars of Country music now use TV a lot. "Dancing with the Stars" and "American Idol" seem to be the big spots for the alien singers to roost. Jury is still out on this, but it does work for Chuck Wicks this year.

Brad on "Idol" was oay,k but can someone cut out the mosh pit with the waving girls in the front. That has been VERY cliché! Invasive and often simply odd. The synchronized clapping can go, too ... even if it is fake and sweetened inside the mix.

The ACMs are up next. The world seems a little award show-weary as we go into that soon. Just a feeling. CBS is hanging in there, though, against FOX and ABC's reality shows. NBC is lost and it doesn't look like "Nashville Star" is in their future.

Some a capella singing show for eight weeks in the summer is the peacock network's latest bad idea. Or it sounds bad on paper. We shall see...

Not sure why Garth was on the Tonight show singing "Rodeo" on Obama night. But he was there ... barely. What is his game plan or is it what he said it was? Nothing until kids get out of school?

Anyone read Charlie Daniels' blog on Mexico? Go Google that; he is a man not afraid to speak his mind!

Classic Opry things coming on Thursdays in the weeks ahead. Larry Gatlin, Lorrie Morgan and others ... Check the Opry website.

You better be figuring out all this Twitter/Facebook/iLike/MySpace/iPhone apps, etc. etc. techno stuff, or you'll be left holding your Herb Alpert 8-tracks.


The Future Is Like It's Always Been
Jimmy Carter ... Spring Break, Daytona Beach, Florida
 
I think I will lock my daughter in her room until she's 22. Heard about a 12-year-old "mom" in North Alabama. Scary times for parents, but it always has been, I bet.

The CMA research that came out during CRS is interesting. Not as eye-opening as the 12-year-old mom, but for radio it is critical.

Research is a tool. It's all about the question and the sample. You take it all with a gut and an ear and maybe you don't get your head knocked off when making a decision. Research alone is a vacuum and can be a dangerous tool.

With that said, the information sounds right. Find it. Listen to it - such as the fact that fans want local people talking to them. They want to know what's going on in their area.

People also have no idea what they want. The Beatles were created, but could not be invented. If that makes any sense. Same for Elvis. Committees create camels and Edsels.

One thing you do know: Radio stations in a closet, running music, are wastes of electricity. Pandora seems to fill needs more than they do. The people who put those stations in closets may or may not see the end result, but that end is failure.

People want to be a part of something and that includes their broadcasting. This half-hearted attempt by local TV to be on Facebook is a joke. Go cover the news and come back to see me.

You can not trick listeners/viewers for long. They know if you do what you say you are going to do.

The idea of reading liner cards as your primary announcer communications has gotten you where you are today ... in the toilet. Hire people who can talk. Pandora plays more music than you ever will..

Newspapers being liberal in conservative areas or vice versa for decades have gotten most of their employees working at fast-food places.

You have to evolve with the technology. It helps to reflect the values of your service area.

Facebook or something like it reflects a need for people to talk to each other. We are too scared to meet someone at TJ Maxx; they will think you are a criminal. We live in fear and we need friends. Even Facebook friends will do.

Radio in the morning is still alive, for the most part. That CMA research showed that people want information and music. They like radio to talk about what they watch on TV. Radio needs to be visual. There is no reason WHY radio stations can't take over local TV's failed role in covering the community. Put a camera in your control room ... get a newsperson to cover spot news and stop worrying about things like HD channels for headbangers.

I still hear long, long, long commercial breaks ... five minutes or more. What listener in his right mind will endure that? It's like radio bosses are deaf people.

MusicRow has Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood for sales. Thank God for Darius' conversion to Country. Brad and the rest are solid and make the foundation. Luke Bryan may just turn out to be a star. (I saw him this week and he's good!) Kenny Chesney doing these little shows around are great for him and gives people the magic of the music business.

There is so much right going on and so much wrong.

Firing good people or having them leave is hard for the people and the culture of the company. If you do THAT to THEM, what are you going to do to ME? And you soul-less bosses, wait and see what your bosses will do to you ... in a matter of time! You reap what you sow.

I think you need better owners who know what they are doing. Few of these CEOs today have a clue at what made their companies what they "were," These folks are bean-counters, pencil pushing salespeople or little Brenie Madoffs -- not the creative Henry Fords or William Randolph Hearsts. These managers are jokes. And they are being booed off stage.

There is so much good, but the LAZY generation that wouldn't know how to pull a 12-hour shift is going to screw this all up unless some kind of change happens. Nothing is free, so the people wanting handouts are going to mess things up.

Radio needs to get back where it can touch the pulse of its listeners. The Kennys need to get out and see the faces of the fans up close. TV better figure out away to entertain other than a talent show or a sporting event.

Get a clue ... read what your listeners want and LISTEN ... react ... say the name of the damn song and stop listening to some of these idiot consultants who helped create this mess in the first place (not you, Joel!)

Broadcasting is a lot of common sense. You work for the listeners -- not the labels, radio people! Open your ears...why is that so hard? Get on Facebook and read! Give new talent a chance ... a meaningful one. Stop being stupid. Also stop panicking ... panicky people make mistakes....


She's Something Else ... But They Can't Have Her!
Jimmy Carter tired of being cold in Nashville...Feb 20,2009
 
Bring on Spring Training and baseball ... enough already of the deep freeze! If you haven't gotten concerned over the economy yet, you are dead.

I'm told by Music Row talent sellers that the buyers of shows are very worried about the Summer concert season. People were nervous in the Fall, but it wasn't a big deal. Sometime mid-January, the fans pulled their billfolds and credit cards back in. Now the rabid fan club folks are going to buy until they are overextended on their credit cards and broke. It's the fence-sitters and others who have stopped buying. The other night in Green Bay, Toby was selling $25 "hellraiser" seats. Country Thunder, a four-day festival north of Chicago on the Wisconsin state line, has general admission tickets for $99. Acts like Tim, Taylor, Alan and 20 others at those shows ... for $99!

Not sure where all this economic junk is going. The CD sales are very off, but that's been going on for a long time now. Rascal Flatts is going to make their new CD available online, a cut at a time, before it's April store debut.

Taylor Swift has a #1 pop record ... triple-Platinum sales ... selling out shows in two minutes all over. She has no need for an economic stimulus package. Last week, Taylor was in London, doing interviews and red carpet work at the Brit Awards, the British Grammy's. She was flawless.

The cover of the Rolling Stone is hers this week. Rims and Tucker got the same treatment years ago, but it is rare. This girl is the hottest act in music right this second.

Kenny Chesney in Playboy! He opens up on sex, touring, fans ... you name it. The most revealing interview yet.

Conan is done with NYC. He's done very little for Nashville, so there is some worry what he may do once he gets Leno's time slot later this year. One hope is that ABC cans Nightline and brings up Jimmy Kimmell. He will have country folks; he already has had 'em.

Trace on Glen Beck of Fox news Monday. Oscar's Sunday night ... Mardi Gras in New Orleans with Kid Rock Saturday night....

Ready for Spring outdoor concerts.......


Is It As Bad Or Is It Worse?
Jimmy Carter  1/31/09
 
Have you watched any of the business channels the last few days? It's enough to make you jump out the window!

Are they hyping the economic problems or just reflecting how awful it seems to be?

Layoffs on Music Row have been light, but there was not a lot of fat anyway. The local radio pods have been sparred for the most part, too.

Still, you see one person let go and if you have a heart you feel bad for them. The new college graduates finding it impossible to start a career in these circumstances.

Today, talking to a morning crew worried they would get the axe today from some new owners. It's a horrible way to live ... and I can't recall a time more nerve wracking in my working life time of nearly 40 years.

Some of the alternatives you hearing leaking out of corporate offices are horrendous. Pumping in the latest dynamic Bubba and dude show to all the gasping stations. Complete with pre-packed humor and a room full of laughers. The return on morning network radio. It works for a few extra-special cases like Tom Joyner, but even Ryan Seacrest live from L.A. at 7 Eastern is not going to take over any market. If people want radio at all, in this world of iPod, it better be local info and talk some. Why do any radio people think that a jukebox is a desirable format? At times it is (Christmas music), but not morning drive on a Top 40 or Country station......

The new kids aren't doing ANYTHING their parents did....

The soap operas on TV are about gone ... average demo now is 60! Low to middle income ... they are gone ... new kids did not bite 10 years ago..

Radio in the car is still cool, important and immediate. It's really all we have. No one wants to hear rip-and-readers do news; they never did. News can be made fun! YES, interesting and compelling.

MusicRow better stop promoting songs and promote stars. It's worked and still works on Top 40. IS: Jonas-Miley. Taylor, too...

The music has to be there. Maybe John Rich can breakout with his Detroit song ... I hope so ... BUZZZZZZZZZ

See what Jessica Simpson did this week...Accident, probably, but she got millions in free publicity.

Facebook, Twitter, radio folks have got to get off their ass and get with it. Country with about a dozen or more of our artists is exciting. Go to a concert! Do the radio stations reflect the music ... I don't think so.

Get on the Internet ... LIVE-cast your show. IT IS THE FUTURE ... do it or someone else will......

You can take the above to the bank...no credit needed. Check Limbaugh's bank account ... radio on TV/internet will work ... interactive ... make it fun ... get this computer generation involved ... contests for Internet only ... livecasts of in studio artists ... it is the future ... come on....

I listened to KFI in the shower this morning via my iPhone plugged into a iHome weather proof speaker system....

The world is changing. Reinvention time is NOW!

Taylor's tour announced today ... very busy girl....


Reach Out To Your Friends
Jimmy Carter  24 Jan,2009
 
I'm very sad for the thousands fired this week in the many employment executions around the country.

The Clear Channel one was one of the largest and most bloody. You keep hearing that they have major restructuring ahead when and if they go to more of an airline-based hub-and-spoke programming system.

It is just one radio chain, but the others are going to do or have done to some degree things like this already. You can send a bowling bowl down the main hall of any radio complex and I doubt you would strike anyone.

MusicRow's had a few firings (I'm not going to clean it up by calling it layoffs, downsizing, etc.). It's not over and I'm surprised we haven't seen more with the sales the way they are.

Microsoft's thousands, Logitech, Dell, the airlines, NASCAR, Bridgestone tires in a Nashville suburb -- 600! It's shocking and sad and darn right scary. Add to that folks like Larry King losing a million dollars in that Bernie Madoff scandal. Lord, we need a little good news today!

The Obama day this week was uplifting. Let's HOPE all the good will and karma going to that bunch will result in something positive. Sure seems like everyone has their work cut out!

The cutback of advertising dollars is surely putting the choke on NASCAR and broadcasting. Even if you are a good worker ... a star even ... tt's getting harder to run from the reality that advertisers are scared and pulling back. Let's hope the car dealers and the banks get their businesses going again and getting the economic engines turning before we all have to start growing food and fishing in Stonewall Jackson's pond.

The concert gang is out and the money is coming in. Remember all through this the magic number always seems to be 10% ... 10% force reduction, 10% fewer people in this and that. The concerts I've seen this year already were packed. Maybe they have cutback in concession purchases and fewer T-shirt buys, but hard to tell. The CD sales figures are disastrous. This week the #1 in pop barely broke 60,000.

I'm hearing the buzz of the bean counters and the get people off the payroll song. Not hearing the creative people coming up with how to dig us out of this mess. That is scary.

The newspapers in the U.S. are sick. Very sick. Local TV to me is looking like the Edsel dealership. The new media from Internet and smart phone TV, social networks is the thing. The news viewership is older than ever in the majority. Still, "American Idol" rolls on. At least people are watching the old media for something! "24" is still great, but I'm watching it free at www.fox.com Nontraditional media is winning the race in the good demographics.

Keith urban has a CD title: "Defying Gravity." That CD needs to jump off the shelves to save jobs this Spring. I hope it will...

Paisley's tour is again fantastic. Darius Rucker is a hardworking, personable guy. His music speaks for itself. He is a huge asset to the Country format. I hope everyone is helping him get a permanent foothold. His stage show is solid. A few of his songs are new favorite, like "Don't Think I Don't Think About It."

Dierks is a star and with his new CD on the launching pad; let's hope he has a great 2009. It seems to be shaping up that way. He's out with Brad and going out some with Urban.

Brad is on a roll. The reviews match any hype you hear from me. I think the guy is a genius. By far the brightest musician I've ever known. Yes there are plenty smart men and women in this business, but we have such broad, deep talents in the areas of performance on the guitar and in computers, design and feel for all of that. Who does their own animation? Who plays a guitar like that, short of Eddie Van Halen, and yes, there's Keith Urban, a fellow gunslinger and singer. Those two are dangerous when together like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday.

Get well to Keith Anderson headed for vocal cord surgery. Little Jimmy Dickens is doing much better after his surgery.

Hard to believe folks like Fleetwood Mac are on the road in a big tour this year.

I got into the business of broadcasting because from afar it looked like fun. From the inside it was hard work and it was fun. Somewhere around the introduction of the computer, it stopped being as fun.

The corporate takeovers began taking the radio and TV business to places that were more pressurized and less fun. Radio went to automation and sterilization first. Now TV is there. People are a dying need. But as the people get taken away, the soul of the stations die. The fun leaves. It's like watching Hal in the 2001/2010 space movies.

Hal runs most of the radio stations and some of the TV stations now. Hal doesn't have a heart or a soul. Hal has no feelings. Hal is smart, but only has smart as the human who teaches it.

The small start-up company with creative -- not accounting -- people will be the ones to break out of this current mess. The independent business model will work harder and beat the highly leveraged, not creative, bean counter-driven companies.

On Net News here at All Access, an important article I will copy and paste here. It's worth reading if you are on either side of the firing squads currently roaming the nation's businesses:

Three emotions are likely to dominate the first month following the loss of a job: fear, anxiety and impatience. You know you need to update your resume, scour the want ads and work your contacts, but it is just as important to make sure you are in the right frame of mind. Panic, self-pity and desperation won't help you find your next paycheck.

Here are 10 tips for coping with a job loss and finding your way back into the workforce:

Catch Your Breath

Give yourself time to figure out your next step. Don't feel compelled to jump right back into the workforce. When you are ready, keep your options open. The job you end up with may surprise you.

Transition

Your next job may be a transitional one. Whether it's full or part time, embrace it. Every experience is a valuable one and you never know where it may lead. Even freelance or part-time work could lead to a full-time job.

Stay Healthy

Use your health insurance while you still have it and check in with your doctor and dentist. Eat well and go to the gym. The better you feel, the more positive energy you will have for your job search.

Embrace The Upside

Something good will come from this. You must believe you will end up better off, even if you can't see it. The world is full of successful people who overcame some bad breaks along the way.

Strategize

Make a list of your contacts. Extend your health insurance and apply for unemployment benefits. Send a thank you note to your boss and colleagues you enjoyed working with, and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of suitable positions.

It's Not You

Your friends and family may seem uncomfortable around you. They may feel sorry for you, they may be embarrassed because they still have a job or your situation might cause them to worry about their jobs. It's all about them, not you.

Woe Is Not Me

Wallowing in self-pity just won't help, even if your luck has been hard. Sometimes you know why you were fired, sometimes you don't. What matters is what lies ahead.

Finding Work Is Work

Looking for a job is your job. Perseverance and patience should be your new best friends. You may have to settle for less, but even in a bad economy, there are jobs for good people.

Positive Spin

"I'm excited to be back in the job market because it's given me a chance to go after a job that I love," sounds a lot better than, "I recently lost my job." Optimists fare better in tough times, so keep your outlook strong.

Check Yourself

A prospective employer can learn a lot about you online, and that can be good or bad. Spruce up any profiles you may have on FACEBOOK, MYSPACE or LINKEDIN. Don't forget to GOOGLE yourself -- an employer sure will. You can't easily change what's out there, but if you know what a search will turn up, you can address it.

If You've Recently Lost Your Job

If you have been affected by the CLEAR CHANNEL restructuring, or any radio or music industry job -- please -- send your information including name, position, station/market, phone/e-mail contact info to NET NEWS Editors PAT GILLEN (pgillen@allaccess.com), JEFF SILBERMAN (jsilberman@allaccess.com) or any ALL ACCESS format editor, and we will get it listed here, and in our Industry Directory as well.

I liked best the thought conveyed this week to reach out to someone you know who was canned. I did to one and will to others this weekend. It's a horrible time and you need to know people care about you.

I hate this, I really do, for people who went to work this week to just do their job. Companies have to survive, but you have to wonder how good your leaders have been doing at taking care of the store! Any of us could be next. So plan and diversify. Don't have all your eggs in one basket. EVER again! Work hard, be positive and reach out. Facebook is great. I'm there and love finding lost people. Do everything to get your name out and network.

I know it's going to be all right. I just don't know when!


2009….Someone Pro Tool Auld Lang Syne

Jimmy Carter

 

Happy New Year … Music Row still quiet after the New Year and it will be for a few more days.

 

In the words of our dear former President Bill C: It’s the economy. stupid.

 

I know we have been through bad economies before but this one seems like the perfect storm. The stock market sell-off, the credit crisis, the Big Three car issues, the housing credit mess. All that, then you add the Internet putting a major dagger through the heart of the newspaper business. The crazy cost-cutting at the newspapers is affecting the wire services like AP … and that affects TV stations …and so it goes. The ad revenue is off and round and round we go. How does this story end?
 
As if nothing was happening in the news, Nashville recording studios are buzzing with projects aplenty as the touring waits a few more weeks before it gets going. Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley among the first to start the trucks and go to where the economy is scarier than a Friday the 13th movie.
 
Last year’s bright spot is back for another golden girl year; it seems. Taylor Swift goes into the year with country and pop hits, crossing formats and outselling everyone in town.
Hard to predict another breakout act in 2009. CRS recently named the new faces for 2009: The Zac Brown Band, Kellie Pickler, Lady Antebellum, James Otto and Chuck Wicks. Are these the next superstars of Music Row?  It would be like picking stocks on Wall Street. No one seems to be very good at that these days. It is a tough business environment. Tougher for baby acts to get past one-hit wonder status.
 
As the 2008 ended, the newspapers were putting for sale signs in their yards on a daily basis. Tribune seeking bankruptcy has to make everyone get very nervous. The want-ads are as dead as a Hummer. Craigslist and free want ads killed the dinosaurs. Can local TV be far behind? God forbid radio.
 
Ad-drenched NASCAR starts up soon on February 15th. They have huge problems with the carmakers cutting advertising and one of the Big Three may go away altogether.
You have to wonder how all this economy news will affect country concerts in Michigan/Ohio. It has to be a huge factor on everything. Tour support dollars weren’t that great anyway. Merch sales were off in last quarter of ‘08.
 
If you take Taylor Swift sales off the table, Country music was sickly in 2008. New projects from Urban, Paisley and many other proven talents should help in 2009. Key word is should help. Will marketing money for the new stuff shrink? Has it already?
With advertising dollars dissolving, how do the radio stations owned by the big corporate powers not cut staff? Can radio stations get any leaner and meaner? More voicetracking and dead sounding stations? I can tell you where that train will go!
 

Same for the record companies. Didn’t the fat go away eons ago?

The syndicated morning shows are awfully out-of-town sounding. They aren’t fooling anyone. They save money, then what? How do they get local folks to relate? Howard Stern did it and a few othera … very few in the last 50 years. Local that’s good smokes those distant signal gangs.
 
From Fleetwood Mac to Britney Spears, from Brad Paisley to Keith Urban, is there enough fan money to fund all these huge tours in 2009? Buy the T shirts? Park in the lots and buy their beer? The obvious answer would be NO, but few seem to be backing off … Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
 
So, are these mega-monopolies radio and TV people going to downsize? Sell a few of their stations? Is more regulation coming with the new President? Fairness Doctrine for our Talk brethren?
 
Can you remember a time when technology made a year more exciting and a year when the doom & gloom seemed so powerful? Even positive people have to take a moment to see where all this is going.
 
Get back to the basics when times are tough; I always heard that is what you must do.. Maybe it’s real good advice for all. Do the things that put you on the map. Stick with the stuff that got you to the dance the first time. The Hail Mary pass should most likely be saved for real problems. That play rarely, if eve, works anyway!
 
The playoffs in football, Grammys, Super Bowl and the start of NASCAR. Winter breaks and longer days. January is a cold month and maybe a chill of all kinds in 2009. I hope not. I want to see Glen Campbell play with Keith Urban. I want to see Darius Rucker and Dierks with Brad. We all have things to do and places to go. Let’s hope this new President is more than just hot air.
 
Hard work got this country to greatness, hard work not bailouts will get us back where we want to go.
 
For radio can we say it: Voicetracking sucks. Simple as that. It’s probably more about what’s wrong that any one thing in radio. We need to train some morning people. Nights need to be lived, not some one-show-fits-all network thing. Radio needs passion and excitement.  That costs money, doesn’t it … Damn!  I hate canned spam. Puke!
 
Music needs to have more performances and less polish and re-polish. Old people need to be listened to and the smartmouth empty heads with their Garageband next classics need to shut up. Punk music was junk the first time around; why is it being recycled in video games? The men better rise and the boys sit down. The time for CHANGE is here, like it or not. If we don’t fix things this time around, there may not be another chance.
 
Happy New Year and get off your ass! Go watch the movie Network. I’m as made as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. Whew …. 51 weeks more … whew…

No Matter What Is Said ... Grammys Are A Big Deal!
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville 12/6/08
Jamey Johnson said he was humbled ... as he should be, to be voted among the best in the world of music. The Grammys are the Oscars of Music. Political, oh yeah, like you wouldn't believe. But still harder to fix than some of the Country awards.
Grammys get it right some of the time with nominations for Jamey Johnson and Alison Kraus/Robert Plant. The left-outs are huge this year. The nomination show got an audience of 7 million and finished 4th place out of four for the evening. Still that's 7 more million than the year before -- with no show.
Singing on LIVE TV is danger filled!! Taylor Swift trying the Brenda Lee classic, "I'm Sorry." Or Mariah Carey's voice cracking in the weight of trying to be Darlene Love and not making the trip. John Mayer has no shame even trying to play with B.B. King with his level of skill.

The NBC Christmas tree lighting in NYC had tracks on, many if not all with live vocals. Miley Cyrus hit more keys than Columbus. Jonas Bros weren't much better. Harry Connick can play anything, anyplace, anywhere.

The mix on these big live shows comes and goes. Not at all sure what the deal was at NBC. Maybe the deal is ... some folks can't sing!

Taylor Swift is so mature beyond her years. Slick and cool as she could be, hosting with LL Cool J. Already now at 1 million sold with Fearless.

Tours aplenty in 2009. Money shortage coming if all predictions are correct. Bonnarroo is letting ticket buyers pay for their show with five payments of $50 bucks. The Rodeo Houston is letting some shows like Reba and AJ go for $10! Yep ... 10 bucks for the rodeo and concert. I think the parking is almost $10!

Look at the talent buys for the Florida Strawberry festival. The superstars are very high (WAY INTO 6 FIGURES), so some venues are going new and cheap, or classic act and cheap.

See the story on the video play-along game, Rock Band. They are adding some country music titles alongside the punk and metal stuff. The current residents of Rock Band are not happy. On some of the forums, Country music is called the devil and God's curse on Earth. Amazing! Again, parents, why are you buying this game for your pre-teen to use and swim in the romance of punk and metal? Geeez....


Missing Persons And Liking The Unusual
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville
 
The ratings were good ... very good. The other networks made no real attempt to bump off the show, so ABC did very well.

That's good and bad. Good because you hope the ratings translate into music sales. Taylor is going to debut at #1 with maybe sales close to 700,000. That's amazing. Scott's team is the best out there right now.

Good because Country music needed some good news ... Award shows needed some good news.

Bad because bad behavior will probably be rewarded. Crappy sound again ... I had to put the bedroom TV on MONO to make it sound decent. I heard the same complaint from lots of places. Who knows? Bad because there was no Dolly, Faith, Hank Jr. , Tim and Toby. The show would have been better with them ... simple as that, ratings or not.

Bad because ABC disrespects the traditions with the push to be all-young. The CMA show, like the Oscars, is not just an infomercial, but should be about the grand tradition of this town and the heroes who have appeared on the CMA stage. The Hall of Famers got kissed off ... as usual.

I'm so proud of Brad Paisley and the great job he did in all things CMA night. Carrie Underwood's performance was very strong. The Carrie haters will always be there, I guess. She deserves 100% to be where she is ... Deal with it!

Taylor Swift is a class act and a great role model. She is elegant and always interesting. She puts 100% into everything. PLEASE don't burn this young woman out!!

Trace Adkins gets better all the time. I'm downloading the Eagles tonight and I am booking a cruise to the Islands to get a dose of whatever Kenny is getting.

The show is that one rare spotlight show for Nashville and Country music. Did they even show a shot of Nashville? I can't remember. We saw more Nashville on Monday Night Football. Is history and tradition a turn-off? Must be. BULL!

The diversity on the show was impressive without feeling forced. That was easily the most color ever seen.

So until the ACMs in Vegas ... and there is another award show before Turkey Day ... The American Music Awards in LA. Taylor gets that one, maybe one or two others in some role ... It's not a Country show.

The future ... with all the crazy range that actually worked most of the time ... will we get more Lil Wayne in 2009? Maybe, BUT the pipeline of real new talent is filled with some real Country singers.

I did so many interviews I can't remember everyone, so I don't want to start a list. I was impressed by Justin Moore. This whole week is a blur right now. I'll get back to that because the new folks on the block. A lot of the singers on these independent labels are going to be worth a shot.

Pat Green and Jack Ingram deserve even more than they get now.

We need some more energy ... Where is Gretchen Wilson? I missed Big and Rich in the mix. I like the vibe of the music mafia in the live arena ....

Real folks singing about real life may be just when the folks need when this recession kicks in next year.

What will Shania be singing about in her 60 new songs? I like her and she looks fantastic. What will her sound be? Does she really want to get back in the business? I guess we shall see.

Brad and Keith would be good ... but wouldn't someone like to see the Gods of the Country Guitar? Or is that too inside? Add guests Steve Wariner, Vince Gill, Lee Roy Parnell ... Maybe that's too much, but I'd buy a ticket. You have to make it girl-friendly. Someone needs to think big on this show. Mix some rock folks in there ... cross it over ... Southern rockers ... AC/DC ... who knows....

Rest in peace, Mitch Mitchell...saw him beat the drums to "Purple Haze" and "Foxy Lady" with Jimi Hendrix in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama ... Long ago, but never far away ... What a show!


Hit the Button: Reset!
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville
 
Every week lately is crazier than the last. The roller coaster economy and a presidential election were emotionally exhausting for the whole nation.

No matter what side you were on, the lead up to that was like swimming in a toxic lake. The reds versus the blues. The negative vibe was sickening.

President-elect Obama sure has his hands full bringing this country back out of this rut.

How will Nashville fare under the Obama years? That is the jackpot question, isn't it?

If you watch the stock market or read any business news you see trouble. NASCAR teams without sponsors was an early indication that trouble was ahead. Still you hear no real word that Music Row is nervous. It looks like full speed ahead.

But how can that be? CD sales seem to really be in the toilet. Sales of the big stars are half what they were last album. Even with the big-name releases of the last two months, people are watching their spending. The gas prices are better; we can be thankful for that at least.

As we drive toward 2009 with ever-greater speed, the road ahead has all the signals of a black cloud on the horizon. Many think the recession is half over and things will get better later in 2009, but what happens until then?

We've seen some pretty ugly layoffs already in the radio business. The print folks have been knocking staff off by the hundreds. Maybe Music Row is already as lean as it can be.

Look at 2009 in your crystal ball. Are we going to continue in the way of Jessica Simpson and the "Idol" stars? Or going to a more traditional sound? I don't think anyone seems to know.

One thing you do know: The nation's pre-30-year-olds have a great influence now. Add minorities to that mix and you have the 2008 election. How does all this shake out for Music Row ... and Country radio, for that matter?

We are in the Internet years, but are Country music fans in that world? Physical sales of CDs are down are they going away or not? Wal-Mart reports a 23 % decrease in physical CD sales in the first of the 4th quarter and they may cut back shelf space. Circuit City is cutting back a hundred or so stores. It is getting more complicated, isn't it?

So many questions ... and who has the answers? Can the slow moving dinosaurs survive this T-Rex time? Youth ... anything-goes social behavior ... the wild west Internet. Should Music Row reflect this change or fight to retain tradition? Hell if I know.

Is Jessica Simpson the future of country? Is Kevin Costner? Is a talent like Brad Paisley, who represents the best of old and new, the new President of Country?

The American Music Awards will be virtually Country-less this year. I bet their ratings will stink, too. Taylor Swift will be our token performing representative. She's a doll and is a much bigger star than just the Country format. Everyone I know is holding their breath to see her sales in the first two weeks of her sophomore CD, "Fearless." I bet they will be good.

The CMA Awards may or may not be a reflection of anything. It's hard to not see the fingerprints of the conglomerates on the nominations -- and probably the wins.

ABC will be felt, too. Miley and Billy Ray are prominent in the show's publicity. Can the young guns of Country draw a national TV audience? They didn't for the CMA Music festival show. Still, that's not the CMAs, the one Country show the masses do watch each year. The question is about the draw of the star power. Beyond the top 10, is there any draw? I don't think so.

The top stars in the format are crossover, very popular folks. I can't think of a better top 10 -- Kenny, Brad, Keith, Sugarland and Rascal Flatts are strong. It's the next 10 who seem so weak to me. Who out there on deck is the next Paisley or even Underwood? This is where the economy -- or lack of one -- kicks in. How do you take the risks to make new superstars on such limited budgets? That is what we shall see, I guess.

Godspeed to our new President. We need for him to be a smash hit. As we head full speed into the holidays, it is a time to be thankful for what we do have. Be thankful and hopeful that the country pulls together and we correct the screw-ups of the last few years.

The greed of a few brought us to this point on Wall Street. That unbridled grab for money and power has hit a brick wall. Let's hope this great country's strong foundation will allow us to get back up and running.

Country music used to be the voice of the common man. Is it still? Will hard times mean good days for Country? What is this genre of music the voice of? We need to relocate our soul and base and do it very quickly.

Is Country the new Top 40 with idols, movie stars and pop music spin-offs? Is the Internet the future of the format itself?

People used to listen to the radio for the music. Yes, but people were the secret ingredient of the success. How can you grow new Country morning shows with young people when every radio station is firing its staffs of night and weekend folks? Downsizing to a bare minimum. You are killing your future, but you have to do what you have to do. The greed and excess of the '90s and all that rush to buy everything is coming home. Consolidation now is like playing the old game of hot potato ... and the music has stopped. Ouch!

Challenges are at every turn. The technology is fascinating. But at the end of the day, people have to be in the mix too.

Maybe in this new presidential era, broadcast and music companies will start cherishing their employees again. Treat them right and act like they give a damn. Have a heart again. Treat the employees like family. I hope it's not too late for that kind of good old days to come back.

Country Music needs badly to find its soul before it's too late.


It is a Full Moon!

Jimmy Carter October 18,2008
 
Too many weird things going on this week, from Tim McGraw's fan apology to Reba and reincarnation. It is a full moon, but you really didn't have to get above the clouds to figure that out!

Tim: This feud between Tim and Curb has been going on for a while. To be so out in the public is a bit unusual. It was a very hard story to explain to non-industry folks. I'm not even sure everyone inside the business precisely knew what was going on.

The label business can be akin to sausage making. It might ultimately taste good, but you don't want to know how it got there. It does seem wrong on the surface for any label to put out two greatest hits CDs with one regular CD in between.

Tim does have a children's book with all new material hitting stores on Tuesda,y 10/21.

Just heard a new song from lost artist Sammy Kershaw. It's called "Real People." It started out sort of slow, but I was singing along by the end. Sammy ought to get some "Joe the Plumber"-working folks liking the tune. Run, Sammy, run.

Anyone see the story where Reba says she believes in reincarnation and was once here as a man" (We will let the crowd now talk among themselves for a few minutes....) Reba also said she liked to buy toilet paper in bulk at Costco. Now that's a wide-ranging interview! You go, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The CMA Awards are getting within a month now. The Eagles will perform again. It's always fun to see them show up looking like they need to be home or on the golf course.

Trace Adkins didn't think he was getting a slot, but he did. Kid Rock has been given a valuable performance slot. Some new "Country" artist could be given the opportunity, but this guy will probably sing about Summer in the late Fall. You can feel the ABC fingerprints on lots of things, can't you? Oh, let's not forget those Country ganja crooners, The Wailers, who are sliding in to sing with Kenny.

When the CMA show airs, the political circus will be over. Early voting is now underway in Nashville. A very limited list of Country folks are out there on the stump this time.

The Bellamys, Hank Jr. and John Rich are pretty much it. Jr. got a ton of publicity for his re-lyric of "Family Tradition." "The McCain-Palin Tradition." That's Jr.!

World Series week is here (10/22) ... not sure about any Country "National Anthem" singers yet.

Most of the tours are off the road for the year ... a few here and there. It's almost Halloween. The economy roller coaster ride is in full speed and who knows how 2009 is going to shape up. Already, though, summer festivals are booking up. The Dothan, Alabama Bamajam is a go with Brooks& Dunn, Taylor Swift and at least a dozen others.


Keeping Afloat
Jimmy Carter   10/4/08
 
A new week and gasoline/diesel process are lower and getting lower! The market is poised to hopefully rise again. New, fresh music is coming to make the sales sheets come alive in the fourth quarter. The air is cooler and football/baseball is everywhere.

Depressing is only one word to describe the country in the last few days. The election isn't helping anything with the most boring debate held just off Music Row. That was AWFUL! Let's reshuffle and pick seven new cards!

The Chesney CD will hopefully jump-start the sales for the season. Kenny is working hard this week with blanket TV/radio/print coverage. The single is #1 and the plan is moving forward.

The interviews for the project are OK, but the Newsweek shot was actually fresh feeling ... check it out ... Kenny has a new house, is dating someone and is horrible on the video game RockBand.

Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift are in Nashville this week for a concert. The boys went to the Vanderbilt Hospital as usual. They have given a ton of money to the place. Taylor says she wants to play in Iraq. What a great young lady!

With the market and stocks going nuts, how does anyone plan the concert tour schedules for 2009? Ticket prices, etc. Every week is so different from the week before. Conservative thought is not going to serve Music Row well in the coming months. Buyers of concerts and CDs are going to be more careful how they spend what cash they do have!

Carrie Underwood is getting better and better reviews. She's always been a technically great singer but she needed to warm up her stage show. That has happened and her fans are loving her even more.

Billy Currington is poised for a comeback....

Fall is a great time of the year ... The CMA show hype has begun, but you can't help but wonder how it will do. The MTV Video awards did okay ... some of the others, not so okay....

Brad and Carrie hosting will hopefully make a difference. Congrats to WQYK Tampa, CMA Station of the Year! (Yes, I am on the station Monday-Friday at 7:45a)


Listening To Music From Denver In My Car In Nashville

Jimmy Carter 10/4/08

That's a long headline ... but the jump in technology is just as large. Everyone knows you can listen to all kinds of things on the Internet. Lots of companies have been pushing that venue for years. Well, I just got a new iPhone 3G.The Palm and the standard phones just were not getting me on the web that was my #1 need. I had to have a way to go online with high speed with a good viewing screen. It was nice to have the iPod features of being able to download an episode of "Entourage" or watch via 'Tunes the "NBC Nightly News." Another desire was to have an Apple product since most of the time they simply WORK without drama.
Well, I am using a Verizon second phone for calls. This shiny toy has a crappy camera so my love affair with it was limited UNTIL I downloaded the AOL/CBS Radio feature via the iTunes store a FREE application. This is where is big stuff lives.

Holy cow! I could now listen to WQKY/Tampa or the Wolf in Denver on the iPhone's small speaker. I listened to Sean Hannity in Philly on a Talk station, L.A. traffic on KFWB and the weather in Oakland on KCBS/SF - all LIVE, not a podcast. The delay seems to be approx 90 seconds. But basically LIVE ... how cool is that?

What a game changer this is if this spreads. You have unlimited streaming time on a cell provider (for now anyway) and you listen to the station you want. It's better than XM for me anyway. I still have XM, but I never bought the portable XM player. But the fantastic thing was hearing some of the country's great radio stations in my car or at my daughter's volleyball practice.

It's just a signal of where things are going. A signal ... Remember one day the person with the cell phone was cool, then it seemed like the next day everyone had one. Who predicted the widespread use of text messaging? That everyone would have cell phones and they would knock off the home landline business? Who predicted the demise of the VHS and virtually all tape formats for home entertainment? The widespread use of satellite TV with over 400 channels?

The music business and radio are in a change mode ... in content and hardware.

Change is rarely predicted and equally rarely planned for. It's just the way of the world. You can make a hula-hoop or Frisbee, but a few gamblers are the only ones who actually predict a sensation. Many more examples of wrong ideas.

Elvis was a sensation and so were the Beatles. but radio didn't always get to the dance especially in those two races. Elvis needed Ed Sullivan and TV to blow up, and the Beatles put out several singles pre-Ed Sullivan that didn't do much of anything. The power of TV put the Liverpool lads on the map.

This iPhone technology will be the future at some point. Portablility of free music and information will work. Whether the iPhone is it or something else, the idea is fantastic. Right now it is just cool ... and I'm not sure everyone knows about this!

Great idea to put Brad and Carrie together on the CMA show. Or it sounds like a great idea....

The financial crisis is damn scary. Even if you're rich, you have to be more than a little concerned. How all this gets into the concert business and recorded entertainment business is going to be seen very quickly here in the 4th quarter. Stand by. This ride feels bumpy.

I hope I don't have to park my iPhone....


No Cowboy Hats ... It Can't Be Country
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville  9/25/08
Saw that stupid comment in a Milwaukee paper this week. They were talking about Rascal Flatts, I think. Well, they sure aren't the Earl Scruggs review, but they do have the hottest show out right now with opener Taylor Swift. Million a night? Dollars, that is ... and No CMA Entertainer of the Year. $40 million gross is 2007. Amazing politics. Toby Keith getting the Forbes exposure this week. He's the highest paid star in Country? $48 million in 2007. Wow. That Ford contract must be a whopper. As it should be. He IS the face of pickup trucks in general. If you can ever hook onto something like that, you are fixed. Seinfeld got $10 million for those recent ill-fated (no, cancelled) Microsoft commercials. Toby does two things very right: supports the military and sells trucks. And no Entertainer of the Year for him, either ...WEIRD...How credible is the CMA on this subject?Keith Urban at the Opry this weekend. He should get praise for that. He's always managed to support the show and how important is that for all the stars to keep the mother church of Country music relevant and current.The re-charting of the Faith Hill song, There You'll Be," is making people sit up. That dead and gone, not-so-Country format-friendly song is back on the charts in the U.K. A little girl sang it a capella on the British version of "American Idol," "X Factor." Great story setting it up and performance. You can see it and the top right of www.askjimmycarter.com.The Bluegrass folks are coming in the week ahead. So are the Presidential debaters. Going to be a very crowded and busy time. At least we seem to be getting our gasoline back. Not so for Atlanta and Charlotte.Jimmy Wayne got a ton of publicity for having TSA problems at the Oakland airport. They had him in his underwear and that caused a commotion. He got cuffed and held in the TSA. In his boxers. Folks were taking cell phone pictures of the man in his underwear criminal moment. Jimmy should do that at least once a month!Disney is making another "Cars" film. Hope the Pixar people get Brad Paisley to do more this time and they have to bring back Larry the "Mater" Cable Guy. Rascal Flatts had a huge hit from that film, "Life is a Highway."Fall is great ... the best ... Paisley, Flatts, Underwood, Toby and many more on the tour. Weather is cool and clean feeling. Movies are better and tons of football. Baseball playoffs ... College football ... new music ... Fall is the Best!

Ike, The CMAs and other Ill Winds
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville   9/15/08
 
Award shows are either over the top as the VMAs last week, or taken too seriously like the CMAs coming in November.

Times have changed and contrasting the two shows couldn't be more eye-opening.

The VMA ratings were big. Maybe people probably wanted to see Britney fall down. Instead, they saw a new Britney. That cleaned-up model gave you a little hope that even people who seem to be on their last pill can be redeemed. Britney looked great. We shall see if she's as emotionally on track when the pressure of a new CD release comes up soon.

From the crude and loud to the stuffy and serious CMAs ... Polar opposite to the fun CMT Awards in the spring and the Vegas party thrown by the AC's, this Grammy-like infomercial doesn't seem to evolve -- even with ABC pulling the puppet strings.

The show seems more and more controlled by the consolidate labels trying to find a way to showcase their new flavors. It's not what this show is supposed to be about. It's a show in generational transition.

Starting with the nomination announcements, the CMA nominations were a bit of a train wreck. The old media with ABC's GMA was the national showcase. Unveiled in a small little set in the Eastern Time Zone only, the ABC gang had nothing on their website before, during or after the nominations. Unless you were watching ABC and living in the East, you were hosed. The restrictive corporate arrangements kept the entire CMA nomination list under wraps until nearly noon. GMA did a few, then CMT did a few. AP did shoot out something about 50 minutes after GMA.

Lord knows Nashville wouldn't want to do things like the Oscars, Grammys, Tonys SAG ... you name them. Do it in a neutral site and don't look like a stooge for any one network.

Simulcast on the Internet ... have a party ... let CMT/GAC do them together. Something! Make this at least look like a big deal instead of how it was done. It looked like a bigger deal in the '80s!

The story came out piecemeal on the Internet in the middle of radio morning drive. It should NOT be a challenge to find out this information. It was too many deals with people who are not 100% on board the train. No Internet is simply stupid.

The ratings for ABC's showcasing of Fan Fair didn't exactly burn down the TV sets. Country's big party looked good as a TV show BUT it choked against the competition.

The event was nearly three months in the past. The TV names that can get an audience were few. It was purposely placed by ABC up against the male-driven (co-owned ESPN ) Monday Night Football. It simply ended up with bad demos and not a lot of total audience by network standards. ABC wants to wear its country hat, but the fit for the NY gang just doesn't seem to be there. No culture for country. They want to be middle America, but just can't do the deal.

What to do? If Russell Brand is the new standard for award show host, we can all go jump in Ike's path. What a vulgar stooge! Crap does seem to rise to the top.

Back to the CMAs ... Kenny deserves everything he gets. He would win no matter what if the voting block was fan or industry-driven. But a few of the nominations are a bit weird.

Are we back to the days of block voting again? How else does Rascal Flatts get screwed over? The Rascal Flatts disappearance in the Entertainer of the Year category got more than a few raised eyebrows. These guys have the fans, the sellouts, the sales, the airplay ... they give tons of money to the local children's hospital. What else do you have to do? I love George, but hey!

Nothing about that deal made sense. Block voting does make sense.

A note on Sugarland: Sugarland did work harder than almost anyone in the last year. Maybe Kenny worked just as hard, but no one did more. They were everywhere and did everything. It's hard to say they don't belong in the category. STILL, with everything going that Rascal Flatts has going, how does that happen?

The New Artist category remains odd. An act signed seven years ago and a guy on his second album are new artists? The Wreckers still in Duo ... and they broke up! Just nominate four people if you don't have five.

You really probably shouldn't analyze all this. Not worth it. The show is not about awards; it's about performances to sell fourth-quarter CDs. The award part gets less and less time every year. The Hall of Fame is nonexistent. Guess we should deal with the animal as it is. A three-hour infomercial.

I guess I'm looking for an Oscar show with the respect for the past and acknowledgement of the present. That show's not perfect either. But ... it's okay ... way too much analyzing.

Hooray for Tim McGraw doing a 9/11 military concert in San Antonio.

Check out Brad Paisley's front webpage to hear a preview of his new CD, Play.

Broadcasting is such an entity in the middle of a huge change. What worked -- and the format it worked in -- for so long has radically changed. Young people have few habits of listening and viewing that their parents had.

The XM/Sirius merger looks crazy if you check out the stock. I love my XM and I sure fear for what is going to happen.

The BIG THREE/FOUR NETWORKS are in total flux. Skewing old ... with local TV really in a state of flux. Fewer people doing more work. Radio continues to recover and fight a good fight.

Trying to chase the young audience is exhausting and at times futile. Still, you have to try. Music Row sometimes seems stuck in the '80s ... when it jerks forward to 2008, it gets a neck injury.

Stuffy award shows using old media to integrate with is not the future and is barely the present. It's going to all work out. So many fresh faces just trying to be heard, with some old faces trying to remain relevant. It's just shift work, isn't it.

Alan Jackson said go look in the parking lot at your audience. That remains the best advice I've heard all year!

 


The Snowman and Respect for your Elders
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville
Before we go anywhere ... It was very sad that Country radio, for the most part, had no relationship in present day to the music of Jerry Reed.
One of the great things that interested me in Country years ago was the genre's respect for the people who came before. Like Hollywood, Country music treasured the stars that were the equivalents of the Gables, Brandos, Bogarts and Waynes. The respect for the Acuffs, ETs, Tex Ritter, Bob Wills, etc. made the format strong and lasting, like a great family.

Now with the flavors of the day replacing even the flavors of the month, Jerry Reed was best remembered by too many in radio positions of power as a co-star in "The Waterboy" with Adam Sandler. That is sad.

Has contemporary Country radio become just another '60s-era Top 40 format? If so, I'm not so sure the format will not end up like Top 40 radio. Maybe the XMs and HDs are the future already. The niche is the now. Broad appeal is already gone. Sure looks like that in the TV world. It's all about CNN, ESPN or The Weather Channel. Niche.

The format does seem to still be interested in the stars and not just the titles. That part is promising. Hopefully that will not change. Still, somehow a respect for the foundation will provide some continuity long after Kid Rock's summer song fades into chart history.

Advertising-smart folks tell us that you must know your BRAND -- what people can expect when they buy your product or see your name. I hope that advice never gets lost totally. Can we all really know what to expect to come out of those speakers today?

Remember the mission of a radio station and a record company is not completely the same. The recorded music has always been about kids and young people spending their money on the hot music of the day -- Elvis, The Beatles, Backstreet Boys.... Country used to be about adults and lyrics that related to that group. A bow toward the middle is probably a good thing, but a dangerous one for radio. Loyalty and fads. Remember those two words. Which one do you want?

I'm sad that Jerry Reed was not as widely recognized as he should have been. The guy unknowingly pretty much saved Elvis' career

With "Guitar Man." Check that section of Elvis history and see what role that song played in his comeback. Reed's picking style is embedded in the playing of, say, Brad Paisley today. He was what so many present-day artists would love to be but can't -- a movie star, a great musician, noted songwriter, a true entertainer with a personality. He had it all. Most radio folks today can't find any songs in their computer library for Reed and know the man as an actor in "Waterboy" ... Oh yeah, that guy. That ought to make anyone who really cares about Country music sick.

Jessica Simpson on the Opry this week. Perry Mason or Matlock could take either side of that case and argue it.

Taylor Swift on the MTV Video awards this week. I can bet the house there will be plenty of BLEEPSSSSSSSSSS. Another case for Perry Mason and Matlock to argue the merits of appearing in that environment. Do I let my 11-year-old watch? That's a tough call, really. The host is a real potty-mouth. You will see.

CMA's announced on ABC this week ahead. Sure makes it hard for the non-ABC people to get excited and cross-promote ... oh, well. The Oscars are a neutral site so everyone can get a piece. ABC buys in and they get it all. Movies would never agree to the deals Nashville has to take.

Great reviews for all the big acts on the road late summer. Google and check. Toby gets great write-ups; Brad for sure. Rascal Flatts, Chesney ... everyone. Not all sell-outs but close. Despite the economy. Despite weak CD sales, the tour stuff is strong.

Fall CD releases coming: Taylor, Paisley, several greatest hits. CMA show, Christmas CDs, football, cooler weather. Fall is great.

Jerry Reed said before he died that everything he had ever dreamed had come true. What a lucky man. What a lucky audience ... wake up, industry people, and respect the people who gave you jobs. The "flavor of the day" philosophy is going to come around and bite you on the ASS!


Anyone Got A Beer?
8/21/08
I doubt Pat Green will ever utter those words from a stage again. In case you missed it, Pat asked for a beer on stage in front of some Michigan NASCAR fans and got beaned right between the eyes.

Pat joins an illustrious list of performers who have seen the audience thrust projectiles at them, from quarters at a Travis Tritt show to cans of Copenhagen at Chris Ledoux. Remember the first Blues Brothers movie? That is not far from reality at some venues.

Remember, throwing from stage can go both ways ... and that's not recommended. either. Tracy Byrd hit me in the eye with a guitar pick once in Tampa. I heard that the mic flew off Eddie Montgomery's twirling microphone stand once. I'm sure those flying souvenir drumsticks have poked someone in the wrong place over time. Moral of the story is for the audience to not throw anything at the stage and vice versa.

Lots of blonde news these days coming from Music Row. The ongoing exchange between Tony Romo's current and former gals. The dating or non-dating of Taylor Swift and Jonas Brother Joe. And the confirmed love business of Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough.

Our folks are making more news these days than Britney and Paris combined. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing, but it's probably good. The buzz is keeping the folks all over People, US and TMZ. If Country is the mainstream of popular music and not just some tributary, the publicists have to give the meat eaters something to chew on.

The Pat Green story got a ton of press. Even now Google it and see how many folks picked up the story. Took a good while for anyone to say how he was doing or just pick up the ball and run with it. You can't plan things like this, but you can maximize the moment. I want and have wanted to see Pat Green make it to be a big star. His name got big star treatment this week. But the PR on the story went nowhere. Not even a quote from Pat even to this point. Not good. You have to get people talking about you.

No one wants to see an artist injured. That could have been very bad, but it seems not to have been. So make some fun out of it ... lost opportunity,it seems.

People playing up Chuck Wicks can only help. He's such a promising star. Remember it was that stupid horse incident in Buffalo that got the real break Kenny Chesney always needed. He got the Tonight Show for that and it's been the Big Time ever since.

However that got worked ... worked! You can't plan for things like that; it was making chicken salad out of chicken ****!

Country music is not boring. Its stars are as rich and glamorous and we want them to be. They fly private jets and are married to Hollywood stars. Our young tall blonde superstar is going out with a member of the hottest teen pop group around. One country dad lives with his 15-year-old zillionaire Disney star.

See, this is the big time. Somehow and someway, this excitement is not totally being marketed to the folks around the world.

People is doing really the best job right now. They get it. That special edition is excellent. New York still doesn't get it, post-CMA show. They get it better but at the end of the day, they still don't and probably never will.

I just hope we don't get to the mass-appeal point where traditional Country music folks like Alan, George and others seem out of place.

Radio stations need to check themselves very often to make sure they are reflecting the tastes of their audience and not the tastes of some Madison Ave. marketing firm. Alan Jackson said it best ... go out in those parking lots and see what the folks are driving to the shows. And see if it's the same people the suits think are out there. Understanding that one point is why Alan Jackson lives in Nashville's biggest house! Alan Jackson for President. He gets it. Keep it simple. How many times has that been said?

Congratulations to Brad, Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney, who keep playing to eager, happy, satisfied audiences.

Now we just need to grow more where they came from....

 


Solid as a Rock ... 50 Million Strong
 
Jimmy Carter ...Aug. 15,2008
Picture 50 million CDs ... placed end to end, which stretch from Nashville to Paris, France. It is impossible to comprehend that kind of accomplishment. The sheer volume reached 296 miles if stacked like bricks. Alan Jackson might be amazed more than anyone at such a feat.

Alan is on tour this weekend out west. His career has been like the waves in the Gulf of Mexico. Mostly gentle ups and downs. From his first to last, pure Country never really moving too far from his mainline Country path. Country music needs Alan now more than ever -- and all signs point to him being around a while.

Isn't life about balance? Country at this second seems a little out of balance with all the refugees from the pop world coming in, but it all works out. Or it always has.

The one issue does come up. When an Alan Jackson or Randy Travis song sounds crappy in a sweep with Kid Rock or others, that's when the rubber band breaks. And that is happening now. Music directors and music schedulers are running into the pop sound versus the pure country lineup. There's no answer right now, but it is something to think about.

This happened a few years ago when Shania was the thunderbolt and she truly changed the sound of the business for a bit. The pendulum usually returns. Hope it continues to after this barrage of pop tarts.

Finding the next big thing is always a crapshoot. Some folks simply do not have the "X" factor, that piece of stardust glitter which makes special people just that.

A few dull folks can slip through on occasion, but you need to have that magic formula of style and substance at the end of the day. A few of the new crowd have the content, but not the style. A few have loads of style but little on the content side. Maybe that can be balanced or polished. I'm sure Garth wasn't Mr. Excitement on Day One.

Toby Keith said something really smart this week. Interviewed in a Pennsylvania newspaper, Toby was talking about all the celebrities pushing one political side or the other. Mr. Keith said folks should make up there own minds: "I don't think anyone should listen to what stupid celebrities say!"

The big conventions are just ahead. Several Country stars headed to Minneapolis for the Republicans and none are set for the Demos in Denver. Politics and religion are dangerous zones for public people.

When the elections get closer, watch the Demo yards signs come out on Music Row. They usually do. The artists often lean right, while many of the artsy behind-the-scenes folks and managers lean left. The big money to the right and the working folks to the left. It's how the game has played out in the past, but who's to say how anything goes anymore.

Still can't figure out why Music Row can't find the formula to diversify into the Hispanic Country sound. Rick Trevino, John Arthur Martinez and the latest "Nashville Star" contestant Gabe Garcia are all good.

Many years ago at the Astrodome, Trevino played the rodeo and sang a verse in English, then Spanish. It was magical.

Pop music and Santana have dabbled in Latin over the years. It's a big world and Music Row still seems to be a "50 states and Canada" world. Some tests in Europe, but hard to figure out the secret of getting this format outside its comfort zone. I know it has to be frustrating to artists, managers and industry leaders. I guess it goes back to the source material. It all begins with the song.

How did people like the Singing Nun break worldwide pre-Beatles? We sure need some independent out-of-the-box young people working on this, with the Internet leading the charge.

As anyone ever stormed YouTube -- with exception of Tim McGraw getting his crotch grabbed and pulling the drunk out of the audience? Are the PR professionals for Country really doing their job making this format the buzz?

Not sure if it's the labels' job. management or publicity, but someone needs to get on it. These are exciting times, but somehow the story doesn't seem to be breaking out.

There's never been a better-looking bunch of stars with greater variety than right now. Does the world know that?

 


 

'Tis the Season for Heads to Roll
Jimmy Carter August 8,2008
 
It's almost "back to school" time, and time for broadcasters to say, "Out with the old outfits and in with the new."
This summer has seen some pretty huge executions at radio and TV. Downsizing, cutbacks, retooling ... call it what you like, it's all about CHANGE.

I've learned to sort of hate the word "change" since it's been so overused and abused the last year in the political races. "Change" is coming still at the Music Row labels and continuing at all levels of broadcasting.

A little change will do you good ... right?

Alan Jackson will celebrate 50 million CDs sold this week and with today's sales, what a big number that is. He's done it being solid and consistent. Just like George Strait. They have nearly 100 million between them in the sales record books.

The above were never really the flavors of the month. Could they have been signed today? You would have to wonder. Maybe they would have been...

The Sturgis Motorcycle festival saw plenty of country music this year. Country is the mainstream music right now. It's safe to book and for the most part family-friendly.

The Big Valley Jamboree near Edmonton, Alberta has booked Tim McGraw already for next year's show ... 51 weeks out.

The paps have Nic and Keith surrounded in Australia. They refused to sell a baby picture, so a $4 million bounty is the baby's first photo. Nic is begging the paps to give space. With 4 million-plus at stake, don't hold your breath at someone doing the right thing and holding back.

Anyone heard of Adam Gregory? He's a great kid! Was a teen success in his native Canada. He's ready for the big time and I hope radio will give him a good shot. At the end of the day, it is about the song. In this case, the artist has great potential with the right song.

The Toby film is coming. It will not be in every theatre. He really seems to like doing film. His last film had its moments. I've always enjoyed his videos. We shall see about film #2. Wish him luck in a very competitive tough business...

I got into an unfortunate snag regarding a letter to the editor in an Internet publication. I learned this years ago, but under pressure we sometimes forget life's lessons. Never write a letter when you are mad. PD: Never call a jock on the air...etc., etc. It's so easy to drop back to being a 21-year0old hothead. Not cool. Now on with the countdown....

The Brad Paisley CD "Play" ... below is the track list. Everyone from the most country station in Bakersfield to ESPN (the surf song) to the most contemporary country station (several songs to chose from) will grab from this extraordinary example of musicianship, engineering and concept. Never predictable and every track a gem.

Someone had the nerve to say in a column that music without lyrics are a waste of time. (I think my middle daughter never liked instrumentals. Never could get her to tell me why. And feels the same way to this day..)

That's okay ... to each his own. From a learned perspective, don't tell that to Beethoven, Mozart or fans of Chet Atkins and Les Paul.

Brad's CD is one so many different people will enjoy if they know about it. His loyal fans, hillbillies, PBS latte drinkers, surfers, guitar freaks ... I could go on. It will be an interesting marketing challenge to maximize this projects full potential

The track listing:
01. Huckleberry Jam
02. Turf's Up
03. Start A Band (Featuring Keith Urban)
04. Kim
05. Departure
06. Come On In (Featuring Buck Owens)
07. Playing With Fire
08. Kentucky Jelly
09. More Than Just This Song (Featuring Steve Wariner)
10. Les Is More
11. Pre-Cluster Cluster Pluck Prequel
12. Cluster Pluck
13. Cliffs Of Rock City
14. Let The Good Times Roll (Featuring B.B. King)
15. What A Friend We Have In Jesus

Cut 15 will get contemporary Christian airplay and is beautiful. What a smart way to end a project so filled with personal feelings and blisters on those fingers.

I rave about this CD because it is so NON-cookie cooker at a time when there is so much franchise music, film and art. Hooray for Brad, his band, his studio gurus and his label for helping him make his vision come true.

Now on to listening for Taylor Swift's song "Change" inside NBC's Olympic coverage. And somewhere the "Nashville Star" will sing from Beijing....

 


Hot August Nights....Summer Nerves

August 1, 2008  Jimmy Carter
 
Imagine getting on a stage in Dallas with temps coming down slightly from 100 degrees...everyday for the last 2 weeks 100 plus......ouch! Beer can't even help that....How do these pickers do it?

The Chesney fans in Detroit inside at Ford Field are at least comfortable this weekend....Great venue! But that poor town and the car economy. Talk about a place hurt by high gas prices!

Radio and the car are like a heart and lung. I hope we don't run everyone out of their cars because radio is really going to get hurt!

Morning TV is getting too hot. Do the radio GM's know this? Do they care? All these NON Local, coming from out of town, syndicated morning shows are KILLING local radio and just handing the keys to TV pre 7am...go look at any growth in radio versus TV pre 7am... people want INFORMATION and FUN not just FUN with hijinks and canned bits. How does anyone listen to these shows?

TV is making a MINT with the good demos go look! It's there only area of good news really. I love radio and when it works it is so cool...nothing like it...Some people running these businesses couldn't run a corner store in Slapout, Alabama.

Read almost any story and see where the magic number seems to be minus 10 to 15 percent on any subject you like. Ad sales, profit, staff cutbacks you name it. These are nervous times, but don't give up on humans in a town communicating with HUMANS in there own town. It was nice to see those sales figures for Miley Cyrus and Sugarland and those Mamma Mia numbers were huge. So people DO buy physical music (CDs) if you give them something they want.

The cutbacks in radio executives at CC and even CBS dropping stations altogether will certainly have some kind of effect. It's hard to see where things are going when the bean counters take over the front offices. It's never growing the business, it's always cutback.....never fails! Been that way since I started... times get tough and it's backtracking...glad these people weren't in charge of World War Two!

The XM-Sirius merger was probably necessary. I love my XM not for the music though I have always loved the 60's on 6... I love the TALK! And information and the kids love Disney. The times when I had a rental car with Sirius, I was never impressed. Howard Stern can be fun but gets boring at times. So what will this do to Country music? ...who knows? XM does some good stuff and not having Sirius I don't know what they do. Mergers in my life have never been a good thing for the workers...jobs do go away.

This HD radio thing for most is a huge unknown....These are radio stations in a closet if even that....who cares? Maybe if it was in every car or on every radio then all these I-pod competitors. Can you have 100 stations in a market like Nashville and anyone really care about any of them? 10 listeners here...10 there....ok...Maybe that is where we are now, in NARROW casting not broadcasting and niche sales. No wonder people in music business are so confused they are nearly paralyzed. TV is no different. NBC tossing Leno is a prime example of morons in the top seats.

What we do know is people want to come outside to play. Kenny Chesney proves that every week. Look at all the country shows on the road this Summer. It's been HOT but folks want to escape the bad economic news. Maybe that explains the big time BOOZE drinking at these shows.

Anyone notice the 100 arrested at the Chesney Boston show. 100 is high even for a NFL game, but with that many young folks drinking you are going to have trouble. Responsible drinking PSA's should be beefed up a bit. Someone getting drunk and killed or seriously hurt is just a matter of time. Almost got that in Boston with the 2 girls killed near the stadium. Hit a tree but they didn't have tickets and no one followed up on the circumstances.

Booze is like a ticking time bomb. Having people drink from 11am to 11pm...tick tick tick tick...I pray I am wrong. Push the designated driver or sober them up the last 3 hours....Everyone is leaving themselves wide open....Lucky so far.... Baseball teams and others learned their lessons the hard way too. It's a subject no one seems to want to deal with...The money is huge and people are having fun. Lawyers are circling these venues like sharks....Beware!

 


Kenny Again!!!

Jimmy Carter Lost Near Atlanta Stadium  7/18/08

 

Summer is hot in the South..Global warming or not! This Summer is scalding us from NYC to the Deep South hot spot Atlanta.

 

Kenny Chesney’s money machine rolled into Turner Field last weekend and gave the fans everything they wanted.

 

When the CMA votes are counted how can Kenny NOT be Entertainer of the Year, AGAIN? Mr. Urban is close but it really is no comparison. No offense to keith but Chesney’s operation is beyond compare again this year.

 

Not sure how long this traveling circus can keep going but Kenny’s had a great year like the one before and the one before that. The interesting part of that category will be the other 2 nominees. Brad and keith for sure…and who?

 

Lots of wondering what Jessica Simpson’s sales and future airplay will be in the second half of the year. Good buzz about the Fall cd but lot’s of eyes on her show and how she may evolve that into something someone will call country. Country’s a pretty broad genre right now so almost anything will get her in the door.

 

Isn’t it amazing how Kenny, Alan and Brooks& Dunn just keep rolling along. Impressive number of years to be that high on the mountain for that long. Someone attend the Brooks & Dunn show in Atlanta told me: I was not that big of B & D fan before the concert. After seeing them.wow!   After all these years and still converting fans…Impressive!

 

I’m still buzzing from seeing the new Batman movie. Brad Paisley sat next to me at the Opry Mills IMAX and we both were blown away. Heath Ledger’s performance was Oscar worthy regardless of his breath status. No pity vote for this guy! Heather knocked the ball out of the park and is still flying way past Heaven. See the film in IMAX if you can. Best film I have seen this year for sure. It’s a bit long but whoa! ( Ps  hirrible makeup job on Two Face without givig anything away!)


Can’t wait to hear Brad’s mostly instrumental cd coming out later this Fall. Brad and fellow guitar giants pick together. Keith urban gets one..BB King too, I think. Surf music,Vince Gill in it somewhere. Glad he’s getting to put some of that guitar talent on a cd for longer than just a turnaround or break. Still one of the good guys even with all that success.

 

Can’t think about Brad without thinking of Little Jimmie Dickens. LJD is not in any life threatening situation as rumored on a few web sites. He’s going to be fine and just needs rest.

 

Taylor Swift and the Jonas Bros sing “Should’ve Said No”in the brothers new 3D film coming out in a few months. I think taylor did a quick thing in the Hannah Montana movie too. She’s a dynamo.

Nashville Star RIP…No blame..Just a missed opportunity. America’s Got Talent’s audience is huge…Next night,same network. Failure’s do not help the cause. But all the promotion could’nt have saved this monolith.

 

Randy Travis,LeeAnn Womack and Patty Loveless all have new cd’s. Have we gone too far away from the traditional country for those CD’s to have a chance?

 

Alan Jackson and Trace Adkins have 17 shows on the books for the Fall. Great pairing.

How big would a Taylor Swift/Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift/Jonas Bros tour be?

 

Taylor played on same night with Carrie recently. The reviewers didn’t know who to write about.  Taylor is on fire and Carrie is stronger on the road all the time.

 

This has nothing to do directly with Nashville but with all the people trying to get a break on Music Row this story is cool: Arnel Pineda? Lead singer 2008 of Journey. Found singing on You Tube in a cover band in the Phillipines. Was for a time a homeless person. If this isn’t a BIO movie then I have lost all faith in Hollywood’s ability to exploit. Go to YOU TUBE now and put in Arney Pineda Journey. A bunch of songs from a concert in Chile. He seems so nice and so humble. What a story!

So the internet is where you find your next singer/star. Crazy but true.

 

You Tube is an amazing idea….I have 260 videos on my channel(askjimmycarter) and it grows everyday.

 

PS: if you know an artist/act that wants to get involved with a great army aviation museum email me. Go to You Tube: Sky Soldiers. They need a sponsor and more. Great bunch of vets!

 


Half way Done ...Where are We?

7/14/08  Jimmy Carter

I think my first love was my mom/dad, then my dog followed shortly by my radio. I loved my TV, too, but my radio was there even when the lights were cut off. My radio is still here long after my mom and dad have gone.

This weekend through the static of AM radio in Southern Maine, I listened to the Saturday night Oldies show on WABC. What memories flashed through of days gone by on those sunset Saturday nights listening to those songs coming out the front speaker and maybe the rear one on a few of the cars.

Listening to WLS or WABC ... WLAC ... WWL ... WLW a little ... KAAY a few times when possible ... great times, or they sure seemed like it.

Magic ... radio at its best was a magic machine. Is what everyone is doing today magic? Each of us will have to answer that a few times it is ... in the morning. But you have to wonder why not?

The music business is much the same way. It lost i's way or lost touch of the customer's pulse somewhere along the way. But look at what's going on today. The ONLY people really having any magic effect on anyone are Disney people: Jonas Brothers, Miley (still ... I think) and (they hope) soon, The High School Musical kids again. Some things never change. Kids want their musical idols. Taylor Swift is qualifying, too. She isn't a Disney invention,n but she sure knows the recipe ... or someone does. Check her out in the new jeans ads .. LEI. Wal-Mart stuff. She is on a roll!

The gas stuff gets more complicated every week. Anyone watching how the airlines are throttling back? In the Fall, it seems the magic time for pain will be in the air. Just flew and everything was fine. Sure doesn't sound like that is the Fall forecast.

Will the out-of-sight budgets for recording get fixed, too? Will the performance return? Will the old Dick Clark package tour return? The common band with each singer/act doing five songs? Who knows?

Plenty of nervous people are in the touring booking and buying biz. Who is the breakout act for 2009 ... and will Chesney's theme just keep rolling 50,000 people at a time?

The Urban/Kidman baby story got a ton of worldwide press. Rascal Flatts on the 4th in Boston seen by millions; they remain very underrated! It was quite a sight!

Enough said about "Nashville Star." I guess some people just have to be homers and ignore the obvious.

On that theme, more so then even Hollywood, Nashville is sensitive to bad reviews. Hollywood people will cut your head off, too, but it's so big the monster just ignores everything and moves forward. Here the small town petty-control people still try to rule ... on a much smaller scale.

Nashville acts ARE the big time. A handful of them ... maybe 10. These big stars make more money than most of their Hollywood associates. Garth bought a home this week in Malibu. Probably wrote a check in full.

Taylor Swift right now is huge! Kenny, Tim, Rascal Flatts and a few others are rock-star big. There is much to be thankful for in Music City. But what's next? This movie with the same cast has been rolling for five, maybe 10 years. Are the next stars really here?

 


Happy July 4th ... Happy Birthday, America!

Jimmy Carter 7/4/08

These politicians, crying how bad it is, are making everyone depressed. No wonder a lot of people just never put the news on at all!

Meanwhile, in the city where nothing is unimaginable ... this should about complete the circle: Taylor Swift and Def Leppard will join together on "CMT Crossroads." If that doesn't put the purists in therapy, I don't know what will!

Actually, the feedback is great from every 30-something I talked to on the air today! That group sold 65 million CDs and has/had a lot of fans. It's today's country folks ... like it or perish.

I admit, I never found country appealing as a child. I was a Beatles/Beach Boy guy. People like Johnny Cash, Waylon, Willie, Bob Wills and Gene Autry are the ones in country I began to find interesting. Every generation has its own music or a hybrid thereof. This specific generation of country stars/fans are all about the hair bands of the '90s. Garth Brooks was as much affected by KISS as he was of Merle Haggard ... maybe more by KISS. And so it goes.

Another contestant from "American Idol" got a Nashville deal this week -- Kristy Lee Cook. Automatic name recognition means less money spent on brand establishment. Easy way and a safer bet. Use the horse angle, folks. We haven't had a horse gal since Reba, and it always worked for Strait and even Chesney.

NBC's getting smashed with "Nashville Star," although "American Gladiators" does worse. Can "Nashville Star" just fade away? Two hours for this show is painful.

Taylor again has the top selling country CD with 31,000 sales. (Coldplay 251,000 ... Lil wayne 220,000 ... Camp Rock 163,00.) Take a picture of Music Row CD sales today and it's pretty sad. CD sales do stink, but the tour business is smoking!

Look at all the folks going to country shows this summer. It's a huge number. Maybe not everything a sellout. but business is brisk -- but for how long is the huge question.

It's pretty clear no one has a crystal ball these days on any subject. From gasoline to Middle East politics. Everyday something else amazing.

Did you see that no Country station is in the top 5 in Dallas and the top format there is Regional Mexican? Whew.

Hootie doing the Opry in the week ahead ... Chesney at the big Nashville Stadium ... Wynonna in the studio with a CD this Fall.

The Urban baby any day ... Paisley's new video is, as usual, fantastic.

Rush Limbaugh getting $400 million -- $38m per year and a $100m signing bonus. He could fund Music Row with an endowment. Wow


On the Road, Again

Jimmy Carter 6/30/08

Can't think of a major act who is NOT out on the road this week. We are in late June and the outdoor sheds and festivals are doing the business.

Around 175,000 tickets sold where I am in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the event known as Country USA. The talent expenses just for this four-night event was WAY north of $2.5 million. Chesney was rumored to be a million-dollar paycheck.

In Wisconsin alone, three major music festivals on the same weekend. Milwaukess has Summerfest and I can't imagine what they pay for talent. Just last night, Stevie Wonder, Ms. Rimes and Three Dog Night and maybe 15 more.

The concert business seems good, but you have to wonder about the Fall and later. Most of these big tickets (almost $500 a piece for Country USA Oshkosh) were purchased as long as a year ago. The economic conditions seem to be changing hourly and none for the better. It's a nervous time for sure.

Talked with several artists this week about the recording side of the business. You have to think the huge album creation budgets would be out the window for most. The days of pre-production and prep are back. When most everyone goes into the studio it's for the real thing. That might be a good thing for the music, too.

It's hard to find a senior artist who doesn't think that the loss of the performance recording session wasn't the best way to make music. The days of recording the cymbal on Thursday and the steel guitar next Monday was pretty crazy anyway, wasn't it ... if you are making a song that will be played in public by real people in real time.

Changing the nature of the recording business AGAIN is just one change you can see coming. The 360 deals and other "reach into the artist's pocket" schemes may be the way business is done today, but it sure doesn't sound like anything that is best for the artist. This is all going to get very interesting.

Gasoline at 5 bucks is rearranging the way everything is done. Touring with all these trucks, ticket prices the fans can afford, advertising ... oh yeah, jet fuel for the private jets and yachts. High prices cutting into savings and income.

With the obvious economic news, you would think fans would be watching more TV maybe. Anyone left their computers to watch "Nashville Star?" It is a two-hour mess.

I feel for the kids (contestants) who are put out there, singing Cyndi Lauper songs. Then you have Pussycat Doll wannabes and struggling hosts. No matter how you slice the cake, the show is such an "American Idol" wannabe that it's lost. It is actually painful to watch in real time ... and, honestly, I can't.

"American Idol" is back for its late summer auditions. San Juan, Puerto Rico is one of the stops. Hmm ... Louisville and Jacksonville, but NO Texas, B'ham or Atlanta. You wonder if the country ears are watching those moves.

NBC execs are probably the blame for the awful ideas on "Nashville Star." The suits usually do screw up weak shoes. When you are weak, you can't tell the suits to go away. This is when you miss Dick Clark and other strong TV bosses.

Saw Miranda Lambert here in Wisconsin yesterday. She is without a doubt one of the most UNDER-rated stars in the Country stable. She has a lot of vocal power and energy. And it is real. She is not some studio creation. She is growing as an artist every time I see her. Very impressive. She just needs a few commercial hits and BOOM. But that is the trick, isn't it" Capturing that magic on vinyl ... tape ... hard drive.

Dierks is another one. Live, he's fun. Lonestar's new guy is a good fit, too. There's a lot to be happy about with the folks out there representing Country music. I am not in the mood to get in trouble, so I'm not going to name the ones pretending to be Country artists. More than a few, actually. And no I am NOT talking about Jessica. That's an unusual situation. She seems genuine and can't help her pop persona. That's a TBA thing. She's going to get her chance.

How about that Tim McGraw? Wow, what's the value, if you had to give it one, for the publicity he got on the Washington state fan toss. The story was played all over the world. The Hindu Times even. Camera phones, my friends. They are everywhere.

Mindy McCready arrested again ... very sad. Cher at Tootsie's ... ZZ Top and Brooks & Dunn tour together. You never know what you are going to read every time you go to the computer.

Anyone watching all the layoffs at newspapers around the country? Google that in news sometime. Consolidation still in every business, from beer to broadcasting. These are "fasten your seatbelt" times. For SURE!

 


Gone Country, Gone Crazy
Jimmy Carter 6/20/08 in New York City
 
What an appropriate place to be that is so NOT Country ... whatever Country is anyway. This is the week that we tapped our toe to a Snoop Dogg Country song, "My Medicine."
After watching the video about 10 times over the last few days, I sort of like the song and found myself humming it in the LaGuardia airport this afternoon. It truly is the end of the world.

The Snoop song with Brad Paisley doing some guitar and Willie Nelson using a bad word is a rapping nursery rhyme. The point here is radio won't play it. I don't think Country radio will play it. It is sort of a video happening. If I was confused about the big tent of Country Music before this week, I really am now.

I did see Lee Ann Womack is coming back into the game. Thank God for that. She is the real deal and I hope her new CD in the Fall is a smash.

The "Pop goes the Country" chart right now does show a huge diversity. From Snoop we go to bluegrass and everything in the middle. I did hear an excellent bluegrass band this week, The Steeldrivers. Heard them LIVE at Belmont University. They are going to be on Conan here in the Country capital of the world, New York City, in July.

$5 gas, Snoop at the Opry on a video, Jessica Simpson wearing "Real Girls Eat Meat" T-shirts. Our heads will so spin like the little girl in "The Exorcist."

Today, Jones Radio/Jones Media sold out. I, along with hundreds if not thousands of fellow employees, we go into the weekend wondering what the New World Order will bring.

It's a pretty whacky place, this world right now. Lots of things that shake your comfortable buttons. People are wired to resist change, but it in the long run is mostly good. Everything we are about right now in the music business. Media is about transition.

How in the world do record companies keep going with the low sales figures? Radio certainly needs business from the local car dealer ... and they are hurting! TV stations see their audiences all spread out and, in some cases, simply gone. It's a rock and roll time and not for the faint at heart.

Music is everywhere. Someone's just got to figure about the business plan again. Information is on our phones, in our ears and all over us. The business plan for the traditional media has to adapt. $5 dollar gas just doesn't work for folks driving 50 to 100 miles a day commuting.

Meanwhile, Snoop keeps singing that he needs money to buy his medicine. Whoa. Me, too.

Oh yeah, the media of 2008 is everything from the NY Times to someone with a laptop in Australia making up stories about people they've never met. Talk about nuts. See the one this week about a bodyguard lying in the road in front of the paparazzi chasing Nicole and Keith, or the new gal pal of Kenny Chesney. No one knows what to believe anymore. The poor Cyrus family is still getting slammed for those Vanity Fair pictures. Enough already.

This "make a star to tear them down" and the total insanity of "a camera everywhere you go is" creepy. Privacy is for sure a thing of the past. Anyone with a job or, God forbid, in the public eye everyday looks around for the next big wave to knock them off their surfboard. Riding the wave would be what we hope will happen.

Snoop's Country might just have been as far as the rubber band can go. Stress can be thrilling, but it can kill you, too. Job insecurities are simply not fun. But life in 2008 ... who could have predicted just about anything going on? Temperature today in Phoenix is 114!

Music Row is a work in progress more so than anytime maybe in it's history. Right now it seems like everyone is juggling a box full of cats! It will settle down ... Didn't new Nashville resident Ms Crow say a little change will do you good? Key words there: "a little."

Snoop Dogg lovin' on Johnny Cash ... That's nice. "Nashville Star" is still not a lot better in week two. Saw the Steeldrivers, then 15 minutes later the Turtles! "Happy Together." Life in Nashville this week is like going on a vacation with Forrest Gump!

 

Jimmy Carter (Not at Bonaroooooo)

June 15,2008
The summer festival season is here and the concert bookers say, "Thank the Lord!" This weekend is Pryor, Oklahoma, and the big pop festival in Manchester, Tennessee known as Bonnaroo. You can't help but think gas prices will come into play with these and others as the summer goes along. Word was that Bonnaro did NOT sell out for the first time.

Movies are having a big summer already, but it's too early to see if the gas-poor folks will watch more network television. People are going to be entertained!

"Nashville Star." I read one glowing industry review, but I question that person's sanity. First, I do like the judges. They are all credible and smart. Talented, too. I watched the other versions and recognized their limits on budget, but thought the shows and talent were good to very good.

My two major issues are the EXTREME overproduction that made you want a valium after nine minutes. No sense of warmth ... just SPEED!

The other is the final 12 in this nationwide talent hunt. These are the best of thousands and thousands? Wow, it is a real challenge to see the diamonds in the rough here! It was like NBC ordered talent at a music franchise. We need one cute guy, an African-American, a Hispanic, a Dixie chick ... you get the rest. The song choices were...?

One national publication thought it was better than "Idol." What moonshine is that reviewer tasting?

The show deserves a look on a so-called regular night. I will take another chance at getting a favorite singer or find something to love. I could find no one in radio anywhere who loved the show; many saw the weaknesses and are scared that this is going to make everyone look bad ... SO, it needs work and hopefully they will be better. And slower and take some time to have a "feel".

"Nashville Star" should have been, and still can be, a big Nashville showcase. It can also make the place look dinky.

Invasion of the blondes. Whose idea was this? I like blondes ... love them. BUT Country music has never really been the "blondes have more fun" channel. Tammy, Dolly (wig) and Faith come to mind, but look now: Carrie, Taylor, Kellie, Miranda, Jewel, Jessica, Julianne Hough, Sugarland ...Mindy? Maybe more. Not sure what this means and says, but that's a lot of blonde!

Looking at the road ... very busy. Lots of diesel getting burned. How about that Kenny show in San Fran? Steve Miller and Sammy Hagar on the bill.! McGraw getting great reviews and Paisley now into his new tour. In North Carolina, Brad shot a video with Andy Griffith that is guaranteed to make you cry.

Brad's tour is always a must-see. Great opening acts and Brad's never dull. His new guitar CD will be a landmark musical event, too. Vince, B B King, some surf music ... it's going to be coooool!.

Hear about the fight at the Yakima Carrie Underwood show? Google it.

 

When the Going Gets Tough...June 6,2008

Jimmy Carter
 
Gas at 4 bucks, 100-degree heat, more than a few cases of laryngitis. Pooped and about ready to drop as the masses involved in the CMA Music Festival and the inaugural soak-in the last week. Back home trying to think about what they saw and heard.
Nashville: The heat was awful. Fan Fair and heat are twins. First time I can remember no rain. Nine percent uptick for CMA sales ... by all counts a successful event. Southern Alabama: BamaJam did better than they had dreamed. In people (not sales), counts the Bamajam was over 100,000. Big successes on any scale.

Note with unscientific survey, Jessic Simpson accomplished her mission of convincing all she saw that this is for real. She talked the talk and we shall see if she walks the walk. The fans and others genuinely want to take her at face value. I hope she keeps her word. She's in now; what will she do?

In the bigger picture, how fast did the face of country music change in the last year? The sales are crap, so something had to give. NASCAR has pulled a similar trick. The YOUTH movement is in full push. Kids are driving cars at 200 mph and kids are taking up the posts in the country wars. Taylor, Carrie, Julianne, Kellie and, yes, Jessica. Dale Jr. even seems like an old-timer next to the young hotshots, and everyone looks old next to Taylor Swift! Some of the stars who have been around 10 years are looking like these young singers' parents! Do these new kid listeners have any country music background? The Taylors have the folks IN the house ... now what?

The biggest stars of country are indeed huge on any scale you would like to measure them. Ticket sales, awards and general star power only growing for Urban, McGraw, Chesney, Rascal Flatts. The old gals and middle guys are the ones getting lost. With the gas prices, economics, the fall shakeout of ticket sales and who can tour will be interesting.

Poor people still find a way to have cable TV. It is the way of the world. Country music is more diverse than it has ever been. Not since 1967-68 Top 40 have you seen such a range of artists falling under a country bandwagon. Hendrix, Monkees, Cream, Beatles, Eddy Arnold, Perry Como all having hits in the hot Top 40 '60s. This country bunch that ranges from Josh Turner to Taylor Swift is pushing the big tent theory. The sad thing is that radio stop bringing the classic artists along the way. Kenny Rogers is almost an artist without a format. That is wrong! Still country may find a way to fix that, too. Can Willie, Hank Jr and others fit in a format with recent post-high schoolers?

Nashville was taken over last week by the CMA and all that comes with that event. But to the South, the dusty peanut fields of South Alabama was a whole different gig. BamaJam was a well-run event, from the parking to the RV camps and everything in between. A brilliantly run first-time event. CMA has long since had their act down to smooth rule.

Is the CMA festival one day too long? Sunday seems to not be important. That's just me.

Nashville Star is back ... NBC needs a hit ... we shall see!( NOte: just saw the opening night episode...not real good....:(

 


Crazy Week Is Here!
 
CMA/Fan Fair is here, an almost 24-hour-a-day event and the official shotgun heas start on summer in Nashville.

Many Music Row big shots used to take vacation this week and still may.

It does seem a busier time now that the downtown version of Fan Fair is several years old. It is nearly prehistoric to think of this event now at the state fair grounds.

Who knows, will atmospheric gasoline prices take its toll on drive-by fans? I bought two soft drinks (medium) and a medium popcorn for $14.50 at a Nashville movie theatre today, and if that's any sign of what everything is costing everywhere, this is going to be the summer of watching TV!

I am declining the privilege of doing the stadium-sized Fan Fair this year. I will watch it in September on TV. Instead, I'm taking the challenge and covering Bama Jam in South Alabama. The heat will be more intense and the country more gritty. From Hank Jr. to Trace Adkins, we shall see if Country in lower Alabama (my home state) can do a Bonnaroo.

Look at a travel map for stars over the next few days ... whew ... Kenny and company on the West Coast (check his review in LA Times) ... the new stars politicking for votes in Nashville at the CMA show ... some of the same stars and others, such as Skynyrd in South Alabama. Gasoline is like water for the touring business. You got to have it, so what do you do?

Speaking of gasoline, like it was free, wheeled into Panama City, I'm not Destin, Florida. The opening of the new Tootsie's was my mission. Darryl Worley was at the bar, signing autographs when I got there. What a nice place! Buffett's Margaritaville is in the same complex, which is almost a mile long. Crazy amount of money dropped on that former redneck beach destination.

I loved it as a "Redneck Riviera." Started going at age two and never stopped. It's a different place now, for sure -- better and worse. Mostly better. Lots of Nashville music people go to the Gulf from Orange Beach to Naples. This year, if the gas price doesn't get you, the undertow will. Watch for the newer Double RED FLAG beach -- closed flags. At least six died last week in the Gulf from testing the undertow.

So Kenny's got a sore foot and throat; I have to pass on Fan Fair this year. Gas prices are nuts; the CD sales are down at least 13 %. Who cares! You can't take it with you. We can always get a motorcycle, and the new President I'm sure will do all the things they say they will. Hoo-rah!

Oh yeah, Shania on cover of People for the second week in a row. Chris Cagle, well you know he went to jail this week. Jessica Simpson's new song isn't bad, but it sounds like it came from a fast-food country recording studio. All these new girl singers are trying to be Carrie -- and they aren't making the trip!

One last thing after my last last thing: I'm not going to say any more about how great Taylor Swift is as a star. She will sign autographs for at least six hours June 7th at the CMA Music Festival convention center hall. That was the purpose of that event until it got so big. Maybe Taylor will set an example that her peers will follow. After allm, she is the #1 CD sales artist in Country for 2008. Why would others NOT follow? She is amazing ... after seeing here again firsthand at a radio hour and concert last week in Alabama. She is every bit as good as Garth and Reba to her fans. And she is 18! Amazing doesn't begin to describe what she is doing! It's a great team, which starts with her immediate family and goes from there. The label, everyone ... It is the best team and star since Shania/Garth, and it's growing everyday. New CD in 4th quarter, and she's going to be in Miley's movie.

 


Only in Vegas!

Jimmy Carter/post 2008 ACM's

 

Can’t say even at a Liberace, Folies Bergere or even Cher show, would you see the star brave enough to get drowned on LIVE national TV. That was the kind of danger only an 18 year old would consider !

Taylor Swift’s act was one of many memorable moments at the 2008 ACM’s. It’s hard to upstage that many stars in Vegas but Taylor took a good shot at it! Wow. Never start buying award polish before you get one. Never was that more eveident than the ACM’s this year!

 

Kenny remains in the Entertainer of the Year slot and how can you really argue with that? The facts do speak for themselves. Carrie is the hottest female singer.

 

The winners, in some cases, were a surprise. None bigger than Miranda Lambert in the best album category. Like the hood on Taylor or Reba’s Roger Clemens joke, it was a night of what Miranda I think said (if I can read lips) Holy S…!

 

The fashion might be a bigger change than the music if you go back in time a few years. Designer everything. And for the most part, the ladies of Country look better than even the Oscar gals. What a best dressed bunch! Not sure who wins the award for shortest dress! Go back and look at the red carpet only a few years ago. That is a change for the better.

 

While I take a shot at being Mr. Blackwell, Reba! You look great in the top and jeans!

I’m not going to name any names but did anyone else notice all the folks who have lost weight? Not than anyone especially needed to, BUT it was noticeable on more than a few.

Like the world we live in, the music of ‘08 Country is as diverse as ‘08 America. It is a music of wide range isn’t it?

 

Take Carrie’s opening song and then 120 minutes later, catalogue country with Garth and Friends in Low Places. From Kenny and George who could have done Shiftwork on the 1998 show, to

the hooded Taylor Swift. It’s a broad range.

 

I am maybe most happy with Jack Ingram’s long overdue recognition. Good for the voter’s who made that happen! Brad Paisley the winner of top male vocalist. I love Brad and the other guys are the strong too. Like Vince Gill, Brad is a good guy and all COUNTRY!

 

I was thrilled for my friend Linda Davis who had to be crying when her daughter Hillary Scott picked up a trophy with her trip Lady Antebellum. ( Linda had still the best EVER duet with Reba, Does He Love you?)

 

George Strait remains the smoothest country singer East of Ray Price. 56 number ones at age 56 coolest guy award winner of all time in this format! He’s the Big Brown of the guy singers to me!

Yes, it was a surprise on the Shania/Mutt break-up. Mutt told People’s Alexis Chiu  Friday May 16th “it’s literally just a growing apart”. You never know do you?

 

So, Memorial Weekend as already here, 2 country award shows are down and one to go

( CMA’s) The road is wide open and most everyone is out there. Taylor Swift in Montgomery at a huge street festival Friday night (5/23) and it goes on from there.

 

Award shows may be past their day but it was still better TV than whatever else was on Sunday night.

A salute to Dick Clark who like George Strait is to country music remains the smoothest on air guy in broadcast history. Dick’s on and off air work was and is the best.

 

Maybe it just hit me in the soft spot but good for you Carrie and Brad for your sweet Eddy Arnold tribute. His music deserves to live on. The man knew how to pick his music.

Happy Memorial Day everyone.  

 


Good Night Mr. Arnold

Jimmy Carter

I am not going to even try to write here what Eddy Arnold meant to Nashville. Please Google his name in news and read a few of the great tributes. From Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter to Billboard, Chet Flippo and The Tennessean, all were good and puts the man's career and life into some perspective.

If you are free Wednesday night, May 14th, tune in via Internet to www.wsmonline.com to Eddie Stubbs five hour tribute to Mr. Arnold.

Eddy Arnold was a role model who never let his fans down. His life, marriage, music, personal appearances, you name the category, all the kind you would love to have as your own.

This was a true Hall of Famer who frankly lived so long people forgot what a big deal he was during his hot star days of the '40s/'50s and '60s.

Go Google and read. He had an impressive resume.

This man was my friend. He hosted a show I produced in my late 20s. Gentle, so easy to work with. Years later, when I was laid off during a corporate purge, he called to see if I was okay. He was a special person.

I enjoyed all our lunches and the fun we had laughing. I loved asking him questions about things like the Lake Tahoe showrooms (he was one of the original entertainment hires). He would talk of Ben "Benny" Binion. (You have to be from Nevada to know about that guy's legend.)

He saw it all and did it all without scandal. Married for a lifetime and alcohol/drug-free. Had more money than Trump and was a real estate "Trump" in Davidson/Williamson counties.

A multi-multi millionaire, he drove crappy cars (even a Dodge mini-van) in his later years and ate at meat & threes. An H. L. Hunt sort of thrifty person. Would cry at a wind direction change. Exploded with loud, loud laughter.

Did have a yacht once; he really enjoyed it and told stories of his Mississippi/Cumberland River travels. Kind and caring and concerned. I'll stop here. I could go on and on. So sad to hear that he died, but I was heartbroken to see him lose his mobility these last two months.

Eddy Arnold brought us joy and shared with us his love. A great man. Honorable like my father. Elegant and the overused word, but it applies ... classy.

An American success story ... 89 with a week shy of 90. What a life. But without his wife of 66 years, there was no point. I witnessed this with my father. The kids weren't enough. The grandkids. The love of his life was gone and he needed to be with her. He is now. Good night, Mr. Arnold. You were and are loved!

See? I knew I couldn't just write three paragraphs on him. Impossible!

ACM week, Grammy block party and Taylor Swift prom party week.

Keith Urban and Gretchen Wilson playing the Halifax Country Rocks the Commons, Aug 20th. A huge, cool event.

Small, fast items: "Gone Country" 2, like ... Hulk 2, why? ... "Speed Race" 15 minutes too long, but good for little boys ... 5th grade girls in my house could care less..

Miley losing steam. Marie Osmond talks too much. Grand Theft Auto is a BAD thing! Do all you parents really know what goes on inside this thing? No wonder these kids have no respect for police or anything else. They are raised by video games to go to strip clubs, run from the cops and shoot innocent bystanders, drive home drunk and hijack cars. I love the social responsibility of these companies! You parents better hi-tech up. Learn the text shorthand and wake up! Some of these darling school kids are dangerous! Lots of anger in our society. You can't always live in Candyland! It's what Country music used to do well. Sing about real life.

I like Sugarland's music ... they just did their last album in Atlanta ... if that floats their boat. They chose not to be a part of a great city, Nashville. Many have made that choice to varying degrees of success. Strait still does his business here. Most of his recording.

Carrie moved here and that was critical to her success. Taylor, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley. It's a music community. Atlanta is a music community if you are a hip-hopper.

Sugarland is making the non-Nashville thing work just fine. They would be an asset to this community. It's both our losses. Not all actors live in Hollywood, but the machine lives there and it's hard to work around that machine. Why make this crazy entertainment business even more difficult and crazy than it already is? To each his or her own.

 


Scandal!
Jimmy Carter in Edmonton on Assignment
The squeaky clean Music Row of late sure got into the hard news again as of late.

The Roger Clemens/Mindy McCready story is wild! The Rocket confirms a 10-year non-sexual relationship. Wife knew Mindy was on his jet. Who around here knew about this? Ten years? Did this girl get around or what? Big story on Sports/Talk radio in NYC.

Veteran hit songwriter Richard Fagan charged with criminal homicide. Fagan wrote #1s for John Michael Montgomery like "Sold," "Be My Baby Tonight," "I Miss You A Little." Shania did one ... George Strait. Story still unfolding.

Billy Ray's billion-dollar baby scandalized with Vanity Fair pictures. WAY too mature shots of Mile taken by the darling of the still set, Annie Liebovitz. Who's to blame on this one? Disney is hopping mad ... Billy Ray may be surprised at the stink. Miley says she embarrassed by it all.

What's the deal with all this sexy shots of little girls? SICKOS! Inappropriate. These girls and boys are growing up WAY too fast!

Choosing Vanity Fair to begin with was a dangerous calculation. These print folks are very desperate, with the Internet doing so well. Anything they can do to make the front page, they will. Same thing for local TV. Falling circulation brings sensationalism.

Kenny Chesney is one tough trooper. Who doesn't respect him from playing hurt the other night in Columbia, SC. The stage lift trapped his foot and as you can see on YouTube, he was stuck and hurting! The show must and did go on! Chesney is the best to his fans.

Ashley Judd's hubby Dario nursing a broken ankle after a bad crash at Talladega. Sure don't hear or see much country music presence nationally.

The big Miranda dust-up over a bar fight turned out to be a big lie. That's what the sheriff says in Smith County, Texas. The story involved Miranda and a fan getting into it at a Tyler, Texas nightclub. Pushing and shoving was all made up, but the story got a lot of attention before the investigators determined it was false.

Why were Miranda's people so quiet? If they knew she was totally innocent, then why not say it? Instead she was dragging around and it was implied she was a moody star. Others told of their run-ins with her ... Not a case study in how to handle a PR event.

Country often screws up crisis management. See chapter on the Dixie Chicks. The truth, fast and accurate, will set you free. PR is not just about saying NO! You must get ahead of some of these stories.

Buried in all this breaking news: Tim McGraw back out doing shows and getting sponsors. Fritos affiliation was good for a day; his perfume/cologne is coming in the Fall according to Women's Wear Daily.

Major concert this weekend, May 2 -4 at Empire Polo Field, Indio, CA: Tim, Flatts, Trace, Carrie, Taylor ... even The JUDDS!

It's only MONDAY! May is just around the corner.


 

 


Good Old George!

Jimmy Carter
 
Leave it to the king to remove some of the stink and sting of poor retail CD sales. King George should send 160,000-170,000 through the bar code readers and debut #1 Country and Pop ... even beating R.E.M.
No one is surprised. (Even George is down in sales, though; his last CD did 242,000 first week).

See where iTunes is now the #1 music retailer? The artists and others are not that happy about that ... but you better deal with it; they are not going away. The MySpace music thing will be a non-starter, too...

That credit card thing one label brought out hasn't taken off really, either. Congrats for trying anything. It seems the labels along Music Row are almost paralyzed.

The system is a bit out of control. On one end it's turned into a singles sales industry again. On the other end, see where Tim made $70 million last year and Faith $49 million? Keith Urban $35 million? I'm proud of them, but how in the world did that happen? Think about it. The top five or so Country folks made more than almost any actor/actress you can name. It is amazing. And more so when you see how little by comparison the acts before them made.

A million a night? It's all relative with inflation, etc. but still. You won't be hiring a country act for your garden party most likely!

Taylor Swift playing a Coke event at the Final Four on Sunday, She is FIRE! Big & Rich playing for the NASCAR faithful in Fort Worth.

Willie doing his picnic in Selma, Texas this year -- 4th of July in Texas, where it belongs. Jo Dee Messina hosting a big show for CBS this week. 10pm ET/PT on Tuesday the 8th. "Secret Talents of the Stars" ... Mr Sulu from Star Trek is singing country and Clint Black doing stand-up. Hmm...

The stars are involved in the clothes business...perfumes, etc. Big money in them there jeans and hats! Reba has all kinds of clothes at Dillards. Kenny Chesney in the blue jean biz now and Mr. Strait has been pushing hats and Wranglers for a long time! Smart managers at work.

Trace Adkins making a movie with Kelsey Grammar. A David Zucker film. It's a Scrooge remake and trace is an Angel!

"America Idol" rolling along ... lots of stars this week as they do their charity show. Any Country stars in this bunch? David Cook is the winner at this point ... must beat little David and the tattooed women...all three NON-country...Kristy Lee Cook of Oregon is not impressing, but she may still get a good look by the label gang -- maybe. I love Brooke White; she's not an "Idol" winner ... MAY make the Top 5, but who cares.. She's sweet and lovable and good, too. Don't wait; buy her now!

Just learned about "Country Goes Huntin'" ... Dothan Wednesday night ... wish I could go ... sounds real cool ... check their website. Google: Country Goes Huntin '(no G)

iTunes is controversial, but it is what it is ... You Tube equally so ... if you can't beat them, join them. I have a huge site on You Tube - 170-plus videos; .go to www.youtube.com, then search: askjimmycarter, then click the link to channels...I have my reasons...lots of interviews; more country ones coming...

 

 


Where Was The Help for Trace?

Jimmy Carter  3/28/08

I didn't think of this ... some listeners did ... but why didn't more Country music artists or executives or, God forbid, the CMA call in/get or someone to call in money to help Trace Adkins on the finale of "Celebrity Apprentice"? Did any outside label or agency see the value of getting a Country artist to the finals of a big network show? Making a Country artist a big deal and attract big audiences on network TV helps EVERYONE. Or is everyone too busy working on their next self-promoting People magazine scoop?

It really is sad. We hardly get Country artists on TV outside the genre and what is done to help him? Very little.

Why? The people who should have an overview don't get past their own agenda. Some folks got it and good for them.

A hundred answers could come up, but two things come to mind. People don't help people like they once did in early Country music days or in much of anything else. Yes, radio does St Jude's, etc., but as a society we do precious little for others. A very selfish bunch at times. Of course, some do and some don't. The bigger issue is not bad people, but missed opportunities. Think of the promotional availabilities associated with 10 million people watching on the various NBC platforms.

A few people got on it, but it's getting all excited about a blurb in People Magazine is so old school. We are in a digital age ... and how is that being addressed on Music Row? Look at the sales figures? People probably do equal Wal-Mart, but is that the best we can do? Can anyone think and do something outside their playpen?

The Rolling Stones are on FACEBOOK! The movie studios were late in the game, but do a decent job chasing the new mediums. You only see sputters on it with Country artists. Do people think the Country consumers are backwards? I'm not going there. Just missed opportunities ... and even the fans see it now and ask questions.

Trace did a great job and is a credit to the whole Country Music industry. A lot of new fans for this guy and I bet we see sales of tickets and music, too.

Look at the impact in the last year of Country artists on "Dancing With the Stars" and now "Apprentice." It has kept the name of Sara Evans and Trace Adkins in front of the country and general public.

The Aussie press has been all over Keith and Nicole as he toured around the country. The curiosity factor and pregnancy have the cameras clicking. Keith seems to be handling it okay ... and she just looks ahead. No more incidents with bodyguards, I hope ... No lawsuit on that last one? Amazing!

The Jonas Brothers are the hottest thing going right now among the little kids. I bet they are making a LOT of money. Tickets on sale for their huge summer tour. I'm having to go to Syracuse to get them for my 10-year-old.

Rough year for the CRUD around Music Row and all over... Gary Levox pooped out and Rascal Flatts had to cancel a Canadian show this week. Anyone still coughing after six weeks ?

Charlie Daniels is the voice of the Williams Family Tradition at the Hall of Fame. Charlie is unique voice talent. Waylon was, too. Not everyone has the vo pipes.

George Strait's 37th album is out Tuesday, April 1st.

 


Spring Is Here ... Time To Renew Your MIND!

Jimmy Carter

Fresh back from Hawaii ... There is a Country station in Honolulu. It sounded like a station programmed in South Alabama in the '80s! Music was modern, but presentation was awful!

Did hear a Colgate talent hunt commercial. Heard a Keith Urban song on AC radio and saw a sign for Sugarland at a downtown hall. Otherwise, not a lot of country in the 50th state.

No reason not to go ... wow, what a place. Go to VIDEOS on www.askjimmycarter.com and see Surfer Girl or Hawaii.

"Celebrity Apprentice" has been a great pr tool for Trace Adkins; I'm not so sure radio picked up on it very much ... another missed opportunity. Are some stations still not trying to help Kellie Pickler get going? The big city know-it-all boys who think she's not sophisticated enough? Some people's view of what Country radio is and is supposed to be is sure distorted! Or has become that way via consolidation and group-think.

Clint Black at Nashville's Zanies comedy, doing stand0up for a CBS show coming soon ... Not sure what to think about that.

Belmont ... the University at the end of Music Row. Did great in their NCAA B-ball game. ... lost by a point, but what a game against Duke! Thought fan Vince Gill was going to go crazy!

Toby Keith done with his film; he does have screen presence. I stipulate that; I just know how HARD a good movie is to make ... even bad movies are hard. Comedies are twice has hard as horror/or action films. Why is he doing this?

Chesney is so smart for doing those fan shows ... I wish more folks on Music Row would think outside the box and do FUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN stuff!

Charlie Daniels is a great man! In so many ways! Wonderful to see him honored at BMI this week for 50 years in the business. Who lasts 50 years? Anyone read his Soapbox column on his website? The one on the Rev. Jermiah Wright? Smoking!

Anyone noticed that a LOT of morning show changes being talked about or DONE in the past few weeks? You can NEVER grow comfortable; it's not the nature of this business.

Wish the Eagles were coming here ... Nashville has no amphitheatre? Is that crappy or what? Music City uses no outdoor concert venue. Another amazing fact!

The Eagles played 30 songs the other night in London -- took a break after song 12 ... encore after song 26 ... second encore after song 28 ... final song "Desperado." First song "How Long."

The Stones film out in the next two weeks; 18 Oscar winners worked on it ... that number may, in fact, be higher. I will go back and see it in IMAX ... Best concert film I've seen.

Keith Urban still down under playing concerts, but back in the U.S. in early April for a few weeks. He talked a bunch in newspaper interviews to Aussie papers. Says he's still getting used to all the attention that he gets with the wife. You never get really used to it; it's an awful and wonderful problem to have.

Martina LIVE in April on CD ... The Beach Boys have stopped suing each other after eight years ... The Jonas Brothers are the HOTTEST male act for the 'tweeners now (Miley still the very hottest) ... Pearl Jam back on tour ... The Supremes rarities coming, you wonder if that would work for any country acts?

See where Dolly is yelling about older acts not getting airplay? Says we are as good as we ever were if we ever were. It is silly for Country to have a more restricted demographic list than Classic Rock or AC. A loyal format of listeners and the focus of the labels is 18-36, the CD buyers ... 25-54 women only want to hear Taylor and Carrie? Rascals and Keith? Why do I feel that is wrong? It's what the labels are telling you, not your audience. There a format thinker out in Radioland who knows how to have fun on the radio, like Disney Radio does with its family...

Keep honoring these brilliant programmers some more at CRS for running jukeboxes ... excellent minds. They can schedule that music scheduling software computers like the brains at NASA. Meanwhile ... Top 40 is having fun ... the little kids are having fun ... Country radio just plows away as a "10 plays in a row" jukebox. Cox does it better than most, too.


Plenty of New Faces

Jimmy Carter

One looks like an early '90s Faith Hill -- plenty of young good-looking guys and a few, but not many groups. Mostly Sugarland/Little Big Town like acts. All jumped in the water and tried to get the radio programmers' attention.

Big money for magazine cover ads and booze swinging parties thrown for several others. Whatever it takes to try to get a new kids' song on the radio. Anything within legal reason, of course.

I'm sure their deals aren't lucrative and their chances of even half of them making a dent are slim, still we wish them luck.

Will radio welcome these newcomers with open arms as they did Carrie and, fairly recently, Josh and Rodney? To be seen.

The ACM noms out this week continue to show a changing of the guard. New faces in those circles, too. Sales aren't great for anyone except Taylor Swift; still you hope for a "redneck woman" lightning bolt to strike and strike soon.

Try to book a big country act for your garden party sometime. Do the fans have any idea there are half -dozen million-bucks-a0night acts and probably close to two dozen $100,000-a-night big shots? A few not-so-old timers remember when Tim McGraw got $7,500 for a night and Kenny was playing for tips and tacos. My, my, have their fates changed!

Trace Adkins still rolling on "The Apprentice." His new single is rolling, too. Jim Cantore, the bald Wildman of the Weather Channel, stopped by Trace's CRS party, where "The Apprentice" girls showed up, too. Cantore likes country music and hurricanes!

Made it to the Houston Livestock show and Rodeo this week, with Tim McGraw opening. The event will carry on for 20 or so days. Tim was cheery when we met backstage. He's been working on new music and seems to be pumped up on how the recording is going.

Garth made it to CRS, too. He said he was working on screenplays. Toby Keith is making his "Beer For My Horses" movie with CMT. What's the deal with these Okies and the movie business? Toby was pushing his new song this week, "She's a Hottie."

CMT nominations, ACM nominations ... is anyone else afflicted with Award Show yawn and fatigue? It is just so hard to get excited about these three-hour infomercials, and the rating sure reflect the fatigue. Reinvention is badly called for.

Brad Paisley has lined up new and interesting touring partners for the summer: Chuck Wicks again, Jewel and Julianne Hough the dancer co-careering with singing.

The economy and consolidation is going to get us all this year. And has anyone noticed a changing of the guard at radio, too? Lots of morning men seem to be moving out; I didn't read the changes for a few days and got shocked at all the major moves.

Congrats to all the new DJ Hall of Fame folks. Nice dinner. Alan Jackson played and so did Charlie Daniels. Very nice night.

Sure hope Eddy Arnold gets better after his serious fall last week outside is South Davidson county home. Eddy will be 90 on May 15 -- 145 charted singles, 85 million albums sold, 28 #1s. A Hall of Famer, legend and very class act. Get well soon, Mr. Arnold!

 

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