Randy Owen was presented the Country Radio Broadcasters’ artist humanitarian award Wednesday morning (March 4) during the opening session of the 40th annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville.
The session began a day of panel discussions, live performances and opportunities for radio stations to record on-air greetings from top country artists. CRS attracts country radio executives and programmers from throughout the nation.
Owen, a founding member of Alabama and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, received his latest award from last year’s humanitarian winner, Clay Walker. Since he began efforts to launch Country Cares for St. Jude Kids in 1989, annual radiothons from participating stations have raised more than $345 million for the charity.
In accepting the award, Owen told the audience, “I want to warn you. If we don’t get all the cancers cured, I’ll be here 40 years from now.”
Owen, in turn, presented executives of the Country Radio Broadcasters with a plaque of appreciation from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
The morning began with Emerson Drive performing the national anthem and a performance by new artist Emma Jacob. Singer-songwriter John Rich showed up early in the day to present the Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award to Minneapolis radio veteran Mick Anselmo.
Humanitarian awards also went to three stations for their public service work — WFLS/Fredericksburg, Va. (small market), WIVK/Knoxville, Tenn. (medium market) and WGH/Norfolk, Va. (large market).
Phil Vassar made a surprise appearance, explaining that he had been asked to write a song about CRS, an event that is well known for the lavish after-hours parties hosted by major record labels. Vassar joked that when he received the challenge to write a CRS-inspired song, he told them, “You get drunk, and you throw up. That’s it.”
Vassar continued by performing the comical song, which contained the line, “Forty years of fun and 40 million beers.” The blues-based tune also included lyrics about several incidents through the years that only CRS insiders could understand. He finished his appearance on a more serious note by performing the title song of his latest album, Prayer of a Common Man.
The opening day activities at the Nashville Convention Center included a lunchtime concert featuring newcomers Benton Blount and the Williams Riley Band, an afternoon performance by songwriters Jimmy Wayne, Kelley Lovelace, Ashley Gorley and Jonathan Singleton and the annual Music City Jam, a concert to be headlined this year by Tim McGraw and several unannounced guests.View photos from the opening session of Country Radio Seminar.