Celebrities Rise Early to Talk About 2005 CMT Music Awards

CMT Radio Forum Brings Stars From Music, Film and TV to Country Stations

Keith Urban, Big & Rich and actors Jeff Daniels and Dennis Hopper were just a few of the stars who got an early wake-up call Monday (April 11) for a round of morning radio interviews leading up to the 2005 CMT Music Awards.

More than three dozen celebrities were at Nashville’s Gaylord Entertainment Center for a series of major market radio interviews scheduled by CMT Radio. And while the broadcast booths gave the stations easy access to the celebrities, the country artists also used the CMT Radio Forum as a chance to visit with old friends — fellow artists and radio personalities, alike.

Celebrities occasionally found themselves in a brief holding pattern on their way to talk to the 12 stations that included WQYK/Tampa, Fla., WAMZ/Louisville, Ky., KBEQ/Kansas City, Mo., and WSOC/Charlotte, N.C. The main topic of conversation was the awards show, but it provided an opportunity to promote their latest projects.

Daniels, who will make an appearance on the awards show, says his experience with the 2005 CMT Music Awards is similar to events he has attended in Hollywood.

“I was noticing it yesterday when we were rehearsing,” he told CMT.com “It’s the same — just the subject has changed. Everybody is into music, country music, in particular. It’s the whole music business — the factory that is Nashville. They’re all good people, and there’s a passion for country music. In Hollywood, there’s a passion for film and television. It’s a factory town for that.”

Even the interviews with country radio stations reminded him of his Hollywood experience.

“I’ve done a few of these for press junkets for films, and it’s similar,” said Daniels, whose film credits include Terms of Endearment, Dumb and Dumber and the current hit, Because of Winn-Dixie. “It’s how you reach the nation. … Whether it’s radio or print or TV, it’s the way you market the film. Or, in this case, market music.”

Daniels did offer one observation after doing the interviews with country stations.

“I’ll tell you the one thing that’s great about this,” he said. “The people are so nice. On the air, off the air, it’s just nice people around country music.”

Others attending the radio forum included Dierks Bentley, Billy Currington, Blake Shelton, Joe Nichols, Bill Engvall, Andy Griggs, Jamie O’Neal, Jimmy Wayne, Deana Carter, the Warren Brothers, Aaron Lines, Steve Azar, Lila McCann, Aaron Tippin, Lee Greenwood, John Conlee and Dukes of Hazzard cast members John Schneider, Ben Jones, Sonny Shroyer and James Best. The event also attracted a long list of newcomers, including Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, Shooter Jennings, Cowboy Troy, the Wrights, Bobby Pinson, Josh Gracin, Mindy Smith, Hanna-McEuen, Keith Anderson, Blaine Larsen, Trent Willmon, Shelly Fairchild, Jason Aldean, Lauren Lucas and Keni Thomas.

Calvin Gilbert has served as CMT.com’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.