George Strait Honored At Country Radio Hall of Fame Gala

Born in the U.S.A.: Top 50 Stars of the 50 States
Vanessa Gavalya/Universal Music Nashville

Texas: Even if all his exes reportedly live there, George Strait can't hide from the fact that he's sent more songs to No. 1 on Country Songs (44) than any act on any Billboard chart. With top 10s annually on Country Songs since 1981, Strait, born in Poteet, is the only artist to score a top 10 on the same survey for as many as 32 "Strait" years.

It was a night of celebration Tuesday (Feb. 26) at the Nashville Convention Center as the 2013 Country Radio Seminar kicked off with the annual Country Radio Hall of Fame ceremony. Five broadcasters were inducted into the Hall, and one country music icon was celebrated for his legendary career. 

Among the 2013 class was legendary Texas broadcaster Gaylon Christie. With a career spanning five decades, the Holland, TX native has enjoyed a varied radio career with stints on-air, in sales, and as a station owner at the legendary Texas station KOOV. In his acceptance speech, Christie humbly professed his love for the country format.

“Doctor” Don Carpenter made a decision back in the 1980s to leave a successful veterinary career to enter the radio business. He enjoyed a successful career with stops in Tampa, Des Moines, and Pittsburgh before landing in Detroit. He had never worked in country before – until the station changed formats, becoming powerhouse WCYD. He said he soon fell in love with the format, and talked about his sometimes irreverent approach to radio – which has included putting artists on toilet seats for interviews, and asking Billy Ray Cyrus math questions on the air.

Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase were inducted into the Hall as a duo. Since 1983, the two have enjoyed one of the most successful broadcasting careers in country music – in both radio and television. Their “Crook & Chase Countdown” airs on over 225 stations in the United States. The pair was inducted by superstar Tim McGraw, who cited them for being a believer in him early in his career. Chase also gave credit to his former stations, which included WSM / Nashville – as well as WRGS in Rogersville, TN. 

Also seeing his name enshrined among the inductees was Eddie Edwards. A member of the broadcasting world for over forty years, he brought his harmonica out while making his acceptance speech. A New Orleans staple at WNOE, he talked about starting his career at a 5,000 watt station in the Mojave desert, and jokingly said that he asked if he could voice track an acceptance speech.

Perhaps the most emotional inductee of the evening was Bill “Dex” Poindexter, a mainstay of Chattanooga ratings winner US 101. In his speech, he referred to his wife Sheila – who passed away early this year – and the last text she ever sent him, one congratulating him for his induction.

Also being honored with the President’s Award was Bob Romeo. Long hailed as one of the top talent buyers in the business, Romeo has also been very influential in the business via his role as CEO for the Academy of Country Music.

Rounding out the list of winners was a man who has had more success – in terms of number one records on the Billboard charts – than anyone else. George Strait was presented with the Career Achievement Award.

In a video that was shown to attendees, the MCA recording artist was celebrated by acts ranging from Taylor Swift to Alan Jackson. 

Among those that were seen in the industry-heavy crowd were producer and record executive Byron Gallimore, author and producer Robert K. Oermann, New York Times writer Phil Sweetland, and Mercury Records recording artist Easton Corbin.

CRS continues through Friday.