Sam Donaldson Wins Over Radio Programmers With “Rub-A-Dub-Dub”

In his keynote address to the Country Radio Seminar, ABC News veteran Sam Donaldson admitted he isn’t quite as in touch with country music as he was in 1951, at 17, when he worked for a radio station in El Paso, Texas. “I played Eddy Arnold, ‘The Tennessee Plowboy’ … I played Slim Whitman, ‘Jambalaya,’ until we had it up to here,” Donaldson recalled Thursday morning (March 1) before breaking into a chorus of Hank Thompson’s 1953 hit “Rub-A-Dub-Dub.” While politics gets most of his attention now, Donaldson says he knows about country artists such as The Judds, Clint Black and Travis Tritt, whom he heard Wednesday night at the CRS “Super Faces Show.” “I said to my wife, ‘I’m going down to Nashville, and I’m going to meet — maybe, if I’m lucky — the Dixie Chicks,’” Donaldson quipped. “She said, ‘I’m coming with you.’” Donaldson’s speech only briefly touched on country music. He noted that broadcast news reporters and country disk jockeys face a similar challenge: enticing an audience without compromising the integrity of their work. “I know in your business you have a controversy over whether you should go back to your roots or [play] crossover stuff,” Donaldson said. “You’ll work it out because ultimately you will please the consumer or you will perish.”