Reba McEntire Gets Sunny Reception at Latest No. 1 Party

Songwriters Cherie and Mark Oakley on Hand to Share Honors for "Turn On the Radio"

Braving tornado warnings and a torrential downpour, a hardy throng of fans and friends gathered Monday (April 11) at Reba McEntire’s Starstruck Entertainment building on Nashville’s Music Row to celebrate the singer’s latest No. 1 single, “Turn On the Radio.”

“I promise you that if there is a tornado within five minutes of this vicinity, I’ll let you know,” ASCAP’s Tim DuBois reassured the crowd.

ASCAP, a performance rights organization, represents the three writers of “Turn On the Radio” — Cherie Oakley and Mark Oakley, both of whom were present, and J. P. Twang (the nom de plume of Bobby Huff), who wasn’t.

Calling McEntire his “favorite redhead,” DuBois, who’s also a fellow Oklahoman, praised the singer for her years of recording, performing and acting achievements and introduced a short video that summarized her successes over the past year.

He then brought the Oakleys to the stage. He noted that “Radio” was their first No. 1 song and, as is the ASCAP custom for first-timers, presented each an acoustic guitar.

Scott Borchetta, head of the Valory Music Co., McEntire’s record label, pointed out that he has worked with the star “more often than not for the past 20 years,” dating back to the time both were affiliated with MCA Records.

“She’s as relevant today as ever,” Borchetta proclaimed.

The harsh weather kept away several people who were involved in the success of “Radio.” Their absence didn’t deter Borchetta from announcing awards intended for them. “As long as you have plaques,” he said, “it happened — right?”

Looking almost as wide-eyed and youthful as when she first broke into the charts 35 years ago, the 56-year-old entertainer stood quietly near the back of the stage, stepping forward only when it was time to accept yet another of what seemed to be an inexhaustible torrent of plaques.

When it came time for her to speak, she told the gathering there were also tornado warnings in Nashville when she shot the music video for “Turn On the Radio.” At one point, she recalled, she and the video crew had to retreat to the basement of the building in which the video was being shot until the storm warning passed.

Alluding to the fact that Cherie Oakley is launching her own recording career, McEntire said she had to seek her permission to record “Turn On the Radio,” which Oakley might well have chosen to record herself.

Turning to face the Oakleys, who stood side-by-side behind her, she added, “If you’re ever writing again, remember where I live.”

View photos from the No. 1 party.
Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to