Nashville Notes: Dierks Bentley to Hit Spring Break; 'Scooby-Doo' Actor Joins New Orleans Radio Station
Here's your weekly roundup of goings on -- artist signings, staffing moves, good news and more -- in the wide world of country music.
NEWS + NOTES
The stadium concert season began in earnest this past weekend as Kenny Chesney launched his Spread the Love Tour on April 23 with the first-ever concert at Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., the home of the Auburn Tigers football team. Chesney included his opening acts in his set, with Miranda Lambert providing the female voice on "You and Tequila," Sam Hunt returning for "Come Over" and Old Dominion chipping in on "Save It for a Rainy Day" in front of a reported 50,000 people. Meanwhile, Jason Aldean's Sept. 9 date at Boston's Fenway Park with Kid Rock sold out in a scant 90 minutes.
Two more charity events are on the calendar for the week of the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. Songwriter Craig Wiseman ("Came Here to Forget," "Live Like You Were Dying") booked his 12th annual Stars for Second Harvest benefit for June 7 at the Ryman Auditorium, while Clay Walker scheduled his seventh annual Chords of Hope concert for Bands Against MS on June 8 at 3rd & Lindsley. Special guests for both shows will be announced a later date. Among the week's previously announced charity outings: Darius Rucker's seventh Darius & Friends concert for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (June 6, Wildhorse Saloon); City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game (June 7, First Tennessee Park); and Marty Stuart's 15th annual Late Night Jam (June 8, Ryman Auditorium).
Prince's death on April 21 may have superceded the passing of Merle Haggard in the public consciousness, but Haggard's April 6 departure is still worthy of attention. Toby Keith, who took over for Haggard at a Las Vegas date in February that now appears to be Hag's last concert, will pay homage to him during the May 1 American Country Countdown Awards on Fox. One of Haggard's collaborators, songwriter Freddy Powers ("I Always Get Lucky With You," "Let's Chase Each Other Around the Room") also is expected to provide some insight on Haggard in his autobiography The Spree of '83, due in February 2017 through Waldorf Publishing.
Luke Bryan may have held his last spring break concert at Spinnaker's in Panama City, Fla., but Dierks Bentley will invade the turf come Memorial Day (May 30) for an appropriate Somewhere on a Beach Bash. The concert comes three days after the release of Bentley's new album, Black, and it's just down the road from Destin, where three of the "Somewhere on a Beach" songwriters conceived the single's title last summer.
'ROUND THE ROW
BBR Music Group made six personnel moves that affect the promotions department, including two new hires. Renee Leymon was promoted to vp radio syndication and group strategy, with Shelley Hargis Gaines assuming Leymon's previous title, Red Bow vp promotion. Gaines' old job as Red Bow national director of promotion goes to Neda Tobin, who arrives after serving as Southern Ground Southeast regional. Chelsey Flick was upped to BBR director of marketing from manager of national syndication, and Hilary Hoover shifted to Stoney Creek director of Northeast regional promotion from a similar post at Red Bow. Newcomer Jeff Davis takes Hoover's Red Bow -position after working as Nine North/Turnpike vp promotion.
Universal Music Group Nashville added Mike Harris as COO. He previously was Caroline executive vp/GM.
Sony Music Nashville hired Hannah Dudley as marketing director. She was in the marketing department for Warner Music Group U.K. before becoming a consultant for Nashville-based Dream Big.
MV2 Entertainment hired Kendall Lettow as creative director from the same role she held at THiS Music.
Charley Pride joined the stable of artists at Webster Public Relations.
Bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers has aligned with Ramseur Management and New Frontier Touring.
Nashville's Young Entertainment Professionals appointed its 2016 board of directors, headed by executive director Andrew Cohen (of Suit Music) and co-chairs Jarrod Holley (Suit Music) and Garrison Snell (Gyrosity Projects).
Music industry veteran Bob Tubert died April 10, The Hendersonville (Tenn.) Star-News reported. The producer, publisher and songwriter wrote such hits as Eddy Arnold's "Here Comes Heaven," Marty Robbins' "Gardenias in Her Hair" and Sonny James' "You're the Only World I Know."
RADIO MOVERS & SHAKERS
Jay Cruze was appointed iHeartMedia/Kentucky-Indiana director of country programming, a post that includes oversight of WAMZ Louisville, Ky., WBUL Lexington, Ky. and WUBG Indianapolis. He most recently was iHeartMedia/Augusta, Ga., senior vp programming.
Scott Innes joined WRKN New Orleans-Baton Rouge, La., as a midday personality on April 21, a move that accompanies the station's rebranding as a regional outlet. Programming shifted simultaneously from a current format to one with a heavier emphasis on country gold. The on-screen voice for Scooby-Doo and Shaggy in several movies, Innes previously was a personality at WYNK Baton Rouge.
Rick Daniels joined KQFC Boise, Idaho, on April 20 in afternoon drive. His previous job was production manager at WSCH Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Bobby Bones has been added to the Musicians On Call board of directors.
Kelsea Ballerini hosts Westwood One's Summer Kick Off Memorial Day special, available May 28 to 30.
Geisler Radio's Today in Country Music History marks 10 years on the air May 1. The two-minute short-form daily airs on 25 stations.
CBS Radio/Chicago promoted Todd Cavanah to vp programming, overseeing six stations including country WUSN, The Chicago Business Journal reported. He was PD of top 40 WBBM and classic hits WJMK.
Cherry Creek appointed Jonathan Brewster as its new CEO, according to RadioInfo.com. He previously was Qantum Communications senior vp. The chain has 15 country stations, including KAAR Butte, Mont.; KYSN Wenatchee, Wash.; and KYYZ Williston, N.D.
Cumulus/New Orleans named Rachel Adams and Kelwynn Napoleon local sales managers for the four-station cluster, RadioInfo.com reported. Napoleon is promoted from senior account executive. Adams arrives from Entercom, where she was national director of e-commerce and digital sales.
iHeartMedia appointed Steve Weed as Central California senior vp programming, according to InsideRadio.com. He retains his role as Fresno senior vp, which includes oversight of country KHGE. Country KTOM Monterey is also now under Weed's jurisdiction
CBS Radio senior vp communications Karen Mateo will step down from her position on May 6, InsideRadio.com reported.
This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.