Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Warner CEO Talks About Country Radio's Staying Power

John Esposito, Warmer Music Nashville CEO, believes that radio is still the straw that stirs the drink for country music.

With CRS in Nashville this week, Nate Rau of The Tennessean had a chance to ask Esposition about the symbiotic relationship between radio and country music.
"I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer that fully. Obviously it has have to start with it's a very big audience that's listening every week. You have a No. 1 record, you have 35 to 40 million people listening to that song every week. I think 100 million people identify themselves as country music listeners on terrestrial radio. You're getting potential consumers to be a part of it. 
John Esposito
"But I think there's something about how we all treasure our genre and we're lucky. We fuss and fight. I mean trying to get your song on the air is a dog fight every day of the week. It's not so much a dog fight for Blake Shelton, but name the brand new artists like William Michael Morgan who takes 58 weeks to get to No. 1. You have to have a combination of tenacity and perhaps a bit of blinders on to stay in that fight. 
"But you recognize as you're in those dog fights, we're all lucky if we get the next Blake Shelton. We're all lucky if we're part of developing the artist that will be the next tent pole. And it's thrilling when artists get much longer lifespans. I mean artists in their 40s having No. 1 records is not heard of in other formats. We're all trying to protect that special opportunity we have."
Last year Esposito changed the direction of the Warner Music promotion team. And he was asked if radio was less important because there are other avenues for people to discover artists now?
"No. And we've done everything in our words and actions to make sure radio is clear they're not less important. And, we've had virtually no pushback on it. We've had people try to make sure they understand. Terrestrial radio is still the No. 1 discovery method for new music in the country genre.  
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