The Taylor Swift media blitz to promote Red continued on Friday, as the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year took part in something very unique -- a multi-station remote broadcast held at Nashville's Pinnacle Building, in which she discussed the album all day long on stations across the world. According to Big Machine Label Group VP / Promotion & Media Strategy John Zarling, the event was very much a win-win for everyone involved.
"All of the interviews with Taylor are being recorded, so the stations are getting video that they can obviously put on their website, and Papa John's is obviously a sponsor," he told Billboard, referencing her new marketing partner. He also noted that they had a lot of prizing items from Elizabeth Arden, American Greetings, among others. Most impressive, each station received a blank red guitar that Swift signed for giveaways.
Zarling said some stations were there as early as three in the morning. The label invited a cross-section of the stations that have supported the singer and her music. "I would say it's about 60 percent country radio, 20 percent top 40 or hot AC, and 20 percent international. We've got Germany, Spain, Mexico, and two from South Africa. We also had New Zealand, and a couple of phone interviews from India, so we're trying to reach everywhere we can," he said.
Papa John's owner / founder John Schnatter said that working with Swift made a lot of sense because "Quality attracts quality. I don't think it would look right on a hamburger or a taco, but it sure looks right on a Papa John's box," he says in discussing the $22 "Taylor Swift Pizza Party" package that included a large one-topping pizza as well as a copy of Red. "It's amazing how the two brands complement each other, but more importantly, she's just a good person. There were three hundred people in line yesterday, and she spent a little bit of time with each of them. She's a remarkable lady, a real role model."
The radio stations that participated in the event were very proud to represent their respective formats during the event. For Mike Hammond of Knoxville's WCYQ, it was a chance to stroll down memory lane.
"We were the first radio station that she visited six years ago when she was just fifteen. She had no music, and Scott Borchetta brought her by and said he had a new artist that he wanted us to meet. It was fun to talk about her goals and aspirations, and to see her now -- selling a million copies a week. It's come full circle, and it's special to come here and interview her."
Sureshnie Rider of South Africa's 5FM was very excited about broadcasting from Music City. Though her station is primarily top-40, being in the home of country music was something that was a meaningful experience. "It's my first time in Nashville," she said with a smile. "I'm very excited to be here. I grew up listening to Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, which is very weird for a girl all the way out in South Africa." She said that Swift has carved out a successful career in her country. "She's number one on the top 40. She's one of our most popular artists."
What did the singer herself think of the festivities?
"I think this was such an important thing to do for this album launch, because it's something we've never done before," she told Billboard. "It's such an ambitious event -- to have 72 stations fly to Nashville, and to accommodate all of them by going live on the air. It's so unbelievable that they all showed up, and that everyone is here. It reminds me of the award shows, and having a big radio remote. It's the craziest feeling that they are all here for me. It's amazing."