Tony Benken has been hired as VP of promotion at Nashville-based startup Category 5 Records. He most recently was national director of promotion and Southeast regional at Broken Bow Records, but left that label on Sept. 6, 2005. Prior to joining Broken Bow in 2003, Benken was part of the promotion team at Universal South Records. His career has also included stints at Virgin Records, RCA and BNA Records.
Category 5 Records launched earlier this month under the ownership of president/CEO Raymond Termini. A musician and songwriter, Termini is also president/CEO of the Middletown, Connecticut-based Haven Healthcare, which operates nursing homes throughout New England.
As previously reported, Carl Strube, the former president of Critique Records, has been hired as Category 5’s senior VP/GM. Songwriter John Northrup joins the label as VP of operations and will also head up the label’s publishing division. Northrup previously ran the management and radio promotions firm the Northrup Entertainment Group. That company had been acquired by Category 5 and remains in operation, headed by Braeden Rountree.
The label’s first artist signing is singer/songwriter Craig Hand of St. Augustine, Fla. Hand and his debut single, “Direct Connect,” will be introduced during next month’s Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. Also expected to sign with the label is Travis Tritt, who notched 20 top 10 singles on Billboard Radio Monitor’s country airplay chart while on Warner Bros. and Sony Nashville.
No distribution partner has been announced for Category 5.