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Nashville Notes: Big Machine Keeps Popping Up; New Hires at Thirty Tigers

Here's your weekly roundup of goings on -- artist signings, staffing moves, good news and more -- in the wide world of country music.


While Randy Travis and Charlie Daniels were announced March 29 as -inductees in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the other member of the 2016 class — Monument Records founder Fred Foster, who has been involved in the careers of Roy Orbison, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson — will get an additional bit of recognition. As a recipient of the Recording Academy’s Trustees Award, he’ll be among the honorees at an April 23 concert and ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Other subjects for the night include Linda Ronstadt, Herbie Hancock and Earth, Wind & Fire, with the event being taped for later airing in PBS’ Great Performances series.

The Big Machine Label Group and its artists are making quite the splash with pop-up efforts. BMLG opened a temporary pop-up store at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas touting the Music Has Value campaign with proceeds from clothing and accessory sales marked for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and ACM Lifting Lives. Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line will also be popping up this year in surprise concerts as part of affiliations with Budweiser.

Country artists had a hand in at least three games on Major League Baseball’s opening-day schedule on April 4. Neal McCoy sang the national anthem at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, where the Texas Rangers hosted the Seattle Mariners. Mark Wills delivered “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Atlanta’s Turner Field as the Braves played the Washington Nationals. And David Nail handled the anthem at Chase Field in Phoenix as the Arizona Diamondbacks took on the Colorado Rockies.



Thirty Tigers added three new employees and promoted another in its latest expansion. Brandon Chamberlain joined as director of marketing, following a run as Marbaloo Marketing senior director of marketing and brand partnerships. Project manager Jennifer Boise arrived from Sony Music Nashville, where she was coordinator for marketing and media. And John Moser was hired as indie retail coordinator after a year as Parker Millsap‘s tour manager. Moser steps into a position vacated by Morgan Perry, who was promoted to manager of production.

Reba McEntire severed management ties with Narvel Blackstock‘s Starstruck and created her own management company, Reba’s Business Inc. (RBI). The team includes three former Starstruck employees — associate manager/tour manager Carolyn Snell, vp creative and marketing Justin McIntosh and brand manager Leslie Matthews — plus controller Theresa Connelly

Hill Entertainment Group hired Jordon Petty to head its Legendary Coaches brand. She was previously Marbaloo junior marketing manager. 

Gary Allan re-signed with Universal Music Group Nashville.

Former Capitol Nashville recording artist Cyndi Thomson signed a recording deal with Keith Stegall‘s Dreamlined Entertainment. Promotion and management will be handled by In2une Nashville, with her first single due May 16.

William Morris Endeavor Nashville co-head Rob Beckham will receive the Swan Award at Nashville’s 54th annual Swan Ball on June 4.



Kenny Chesney‘s No Shoes Radio moves from its online location to SiriusXM Channel 62 on April 12. Chesney will mark the shift with a May 12 concert at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J., that will air live on the channel.

Chris Country Radio has launched in London via DAB Digital Radio, giving the United Kingdom’s largest city a full-time country station for the first time in nearly 15 years.

Hannah Byrom starts April 18 as morning co-host at WKLB Boston, joining Jeff Miles on the shift. She worked most recently at top 40 WPST Trenton, N.J., and adult contemporary WPLJ New York. 

WKTI Milwaukee hired Britt Pearson as producer of the Jake & Tanner Morning Show. She previously worked in sales or on-air at four stations in Mason City, Iowa.

Jay Michaels took over afternoon drive at WFMS Indianapolis following a stint as WAWC Warsaw, Ind., PD. 

Adams Radio Group hired Abby Snyder as corporate business manager based in Lakeville, Minn. Her radio experience includes a midday shift at KTCO Duluth, Minn. Adams’ country stations include WBTU Fort Wayne, Ind., and KGRT Las Cruces, N.M. 

Alpha/Amarillo, Texas, promoted Jamey Karr to operations manager for the cluster from classic hits KXGL PD, reported. Karr’s new duties include oversight of country KGNC

Doc Medek left the WXTU Philadelphia morning show after six years, according to A new career move is in the works.

WWKA Orlando, Fla., morning co-host Ashley Stegbauer added music director to her duties, reported.



The proliferation of music festivals creates temporary communities of 10,000-40,000 people, providing both problems and opportunities in conservation efforts.

The problems are obvious: Where does all the trash go? Country Thunder Arizona — which features Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line and Jake Owen among its headliners April 7-10 in Florence, Ariz. — is addressing the waste issue by partnering with Right Away Disposal (RAD), the largest recycling company in the Grand Canyon State. A new RAD Recycling Center is able to process 38,000 tons of recyclables a year, and Country Thunder organizers are providing individual recycling bags for concert-goers to separate plastics, paper and aluminum in addition to placing recycling receptacles in key locations.

The Tortuga Music Festival — which boasts Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley April 15-17 in Fort Lauderdale — tackles the education ideal with Rock The Ocean’s Conservation Village. A cluster of exhibits developed by water-centric ecological agencies will provide insight to the world under the waves, helping consumers make decisions in their daily lives that will have a positive impact on coral reefs, sea turtles and water pollution.