Brooks & Dunn received the Country Radio Broadcasters’ Artist Humanitarian Award during the opening ceremony of the 33rd annual Country Radio Seminar Thursday morning (Feb. 28) at the Nashville Convention Center.
Collin Raye, last year’s recipient, presented Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn their awards.
“These guys have had a tremendous, tremendous career,” Raye said before calling Brooks & Dunn to the platform. “But today we’re not here to talk about their many [music] awards and their number of albums and concert tickets sold. Today what it’s all about is [recognizing] the absolute stellar record they have had of giving back, and most of the time giving back in a very quiet, non-publicized way. They have not let the tremendous success that they have had go to their heads; they continue to let it go to their hearts.”
Raye applauded the duo for performing countless benefit concerts for a number of good causes. Raye also introduced a video clip that showed Brooks & Dunn’s involvement with the Red Cross flood relief efforts in St. Louis, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville and other charitable organizations.
“This is really important, it really is,” Brooks said accepting the award. “Thank you very much. Not to sound trite, but we do try to be quiet with a lot of our giving. At the same time, it is good to inspire others to be charitable because there are a lot of great causes that need help.”
Dunn said helping others brings him as much reward as his musical achievements.
“As lucky as we have been to achieve success and maintain the longevity we have in this business,” he said from the stage, “the times that we have been most humbled is when we have the opportunity to give.
“Everyday stories that go on in real life with real people bring you down to earth in a hurry,” Dunn concluded.
The Country Radio Broadcasters also presented humanitarian awards to radio stations for their efforts to improve quality of life in the communities they serve. Cited were KYGO-FM in Denver (large market), WIVK-FM in Knoxville (medium market) and WAXX-FM in Eau Claire, Wis. (small market).
Trace Adkins performed the national anthem during the opening session of CRS 2002. More than 3000 radio professionals are expected to attend the four-day convention. On Wednesday night (Feb. 27), Toby Keith got the entertainment underway performing at this year’s “Super Faces Show” (see related story).
Touching on a variety of challenges facing country radio, Citadel Communications president Larry Wilson set the stage for the convention in his keynote address. Country star Clay Walker introduced the speaker.
Wilson, who oversees more than 200 radio stations across the U.S., encouraged radio decision-makers to not lose sight of basics such as “touching the local community” and “building loyal listeners one by one” in the face of recent competition from satellite radio, Internet radio and other new technologies.
Wilson encouraged radio executives to be more passionate, adventurous and creative in their programming. He suggested that radio playlists should include more traditional sounds, pointing to the success of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
He repeatedly stressed the importance of using local broadcast talent rather than relying too heavily on nationally syndicated air personalities. “The only uniqueness we have to all the emerging technology is our ability to be live and local,” Wilson contended. “[Our competition] can’t do that. That’s all the advantage we have.”